Montana Outdoors

July 3, 2008

Xerophyllum tenax

Filed under: Flowers, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:58 pm

No other plant resembles Beargrass, Xerophyllum tenax, but to me its appeal is much more than its uniqueness, its size (up to five feet tall) or its beautiful blossoms, but in where it grows, mostly on open ridge tops in the higher elevations of the northwest. For more than sixty summers I’ve felt a thrill, seeing it bloom in the high country of western Montana.

This sentinel is stationed overlooking Siegel Creek Divide and looks down over the Siegel Creek canyon and the Clark Fork River 10 miles away to the north and twenty miles of Nine Mile Creek to the south.

Common beargrass

This year has not been a good one for beargrass in this immediate area and so I decided to post a few photos of it now and hope to be fortunate enough to encounter a more lavish display as I visit more high country in the next few weeks.

Common beargrass

Common beargrass

Common beargrass

Common beargrass

Common beargrass


  1. It really is beautiful stuff. I imagine a vast hillside or meadow filled with spikes in bloom would be a spectacular sight.


    Comment by Tabbie — July 4, 2008 @ 12:15 am

  2. Just gorgeous!! I can’t wait to see more pictures of them from you!


    Comment by Sara — July 4, 2008 @ 8:02 am

  3. Tabbie,

    It is. In 2002 there was an extraordinary crop of them a dozen miles from here and you could see their blossoms covering thousands of acres of hillside.


    Comment by montucky — July 4, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  4. Sara,

    I’m hoping there will be lots more and that I’ll be lucky enough to run across them. I have two areas in mind that I want to visit that usually have lots.


    Comment by montucky — July 4, 2008 @ 8:28 am

  5. Bear Grass is a favorite of guests at Glacier National Park. When I was a bellman at Many Glacier Hotel, I told guests tha old yarn that the plant was named that way due to the fact bears dried their paws or claws off on the stuff.

    I don’t know if there will be any left when I get there on the 8th of August. But your photographs are making me look forward to the trip. It’s been since the 1980s, so I expect I’m going to see some changes.



    Comment by knightofswords — July 4, 2008 @ 2:49 pm

  6. Well, they have Going to the Sun road open now and it should be even better by August. I bet you’re anxious to visit there again! Hope you have a safe and enjoyable trip and also hope the fire season gives a little respite this year! I’m sure there will be a few things different from your last visit. With the high gas prices there may also be a few less visitors there this year too.


    Comment by montucky — July 4, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

  7. I love that first shot of the flower over the valley.


    Comment by scienceguy288 — July 4, 2008 @ 8:09 pm

  8. I like that too. I go to that place quite often: it’s 28 miles from my back door.


    Comment by montucky — July 4, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

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