Montana Outdoors

April 12, 2009

Dogtoothed Violet

There is a place I know where the sun can shine bright on a tiny hill in the bottom of a deep canyon and allow the Dogtoothed Violets to bloom earlier there than they do anywhere else around. It seemed appropriate to visit that place today to see this area’s first-blooming lily.

Dogtoothed Violet

AKA: Glacier Lily, Yellow avalanche-lily, Erythronium grandiflorum.


  1. montucky, I liked what you wrote – where the sun can shine bright on a tiny hill in the bottom of a deep canyon. That is beautiful and poetic. (I liked the photo as well).


    Comment by Maureen — April 12, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

    • Thank you Maureen! That is really a special little spot.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2009 @ 8:23 pm

  2. Gorgeous!


    Comment by Dawn Fine — April 12, 2009 @ 8:59 pm

  3. I love those warm spots…just look at that yellow magic which they produce! 😀


    Comment by Tabbie — April 12, 2009 @ 9:37 pm

    • I like that phrase, “yellow magic”, Tabbie! That’s an excellent term for them! My love for Dogtoothed violets is just as old as I am.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  4. I was about to say that it looks more like a lily than a violet but I see that it has a “lily” alternate name. Beautiful capture. The yellow looks perfect. You live in such a beautiful area and you know it so well. Have you lived there your whole life?


    Comment by edvatza — April 13, 2009 @ 3:09 am

    • It is in the lily family and I don’t really know where the name “Dogtoothed Violet” even came from but that is what it’s always called around here. The USDA website (which is often out of step with everyone else anyway) recognizes only “Yellow Avalanche-lily”.

      I was born and raised about 80 miles from where I now live on the last piece of my Grandparents ranch that remains in family hands. I left Montana to go to school then the military, and ended up spending 25 years in Arizona. We moved back here about 15 years ago and I have become reacquainted with most of the areas I used to know and of course explored many new ones. Sadly however, there are many places to which I just can’t bring myself to return, having seen the devastating effects of uncontrolled resource exploitation and real estate development over the years.


      Comment by montucky — April 13, 2009 @ 8:19 am

  5. Love the preview of what we’ll see here in a few weeks!


    Comment by Cedar — April 13, 2009 @ 7:13 am

    • You’re about due, Cedar! Seeing the spring emergence of wildflowers is always at the top of my favorites list!


      Comment by montucky — April 13, 2009 @ 8:20 am

  6. How cool that you knew of such a place. I tend to hit or miss such thngs. I need to pay far more attention. However, keeping a photo blog has helped me to remember recurring events.

    Thanks for sharing, it’s a lovely wildflower.


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — April 13, 2009 @ 8:52 am

    • I usually visit that area several times in the spring before the snow melts enough to let me go higher so I see it under various conditions.

      I use my photo library a lot to remind me of what is happening where and when. It’s interesting to compare year to year.


      Comment by montucky — April 13, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  7. Beautiful!


    Comment by Patia — April 13, 2009 @ 9:05 am

  8. Just beautiful Montucky.


    Comment by connie — April 13, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

    • Thanks Connie! This particular species grows only on the west coast areas of the US and Canada.


      Comment by montucky — April 13, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

  9. Beautiful lily! Funny that its folk name is Violet, as it looks approximately nothing at all like a violet 🙂


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — April 15, 2009 @ 11:04 pm

    • I’ve always thought the name is strange too and don’t know the origin of it. The USDA calls it only “Yellow Avalanche-lily”. Of course I’ve also thought it strange to find that wild violets are yellow too.


      Comment by montucky — April 16, 2009 @ 6:44 am

  10. I didn’t realize that the Dogtooth Violets you’ve been talking about are the same as the “Glacier Lilies” that people in Missoula have been talking about. How cool!!

    That’s a beautiful flower. I wonder if I’m going to be able to see any of those on Jumbo when I get home.


    Comment by gradschoolsara — April 19, 2009 @ 9:47 am

    • I don’t know if they even grow on Jumbo, but they are thick on Buffalo Bill Creek now. I walked up there this evening and photographed a few. They will persist for quite awhile at higher elevations, too.


      Comment by montucky — April 19, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

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