Montana Outdoors

June 28, 2009

Only one

This evening I came across this strange looking wildflower. It’s the only one I’ve ever seen and there was only one in the place where it is growing. It’s fairly large for a wildflower (about 1.5 inches across).

Clarkia pulchella

Pinkfairies or Deerhorn or Ragged Robin ~ Clarkia pulchella ~ (I like “Ragged Robin”)

This isn’t a very good photo mostly because of the terrible light angle, but it serves to provide perspective: it was taken from the place where the little flower lives.

Weeksville Creek canyon


  1. Do you think it was just a freak flower? Like something in it’s DNA got messed up? Very interesting & yet, still beautiful. I’d love to be surrounded by those mountains & millions of trees. I miss that.


    Comment by Melissa — June 28, 2009 @ 11:13 pm

    • No, it’s a distinct species (a member of the Evening-primrose family), but it has a very limited distribution. I know what you mean about the mountains and trees. It’s always wonderful to be up in that country!


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2009 @ 7:50 am

  2. It is a strange-looking little flower and now you have immortalized it! Looks like you and it were waaaaay up there.


    Comment by Candace — June 28, 2009 @ 11:53 pm

    • It seemed to be a strange place for the little thing to make its home, but that must be its survival strategy. I’m very surprised though that I haven’t seen them before and that there were no more in that location (or none visible at the moment).


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2009 @ 7:55 am

  3. What a strange flower. It is like it expresses itself to stand alone from the other species of flowers. A flower that marches to its own drumbeat, so to speak. I like the name ‘Ragged Robin’.


    Comment by Anna Surface — June 29, 2009 @ 8:06 am

    • Yes, it’s certainly doing its own thing. I wonder just how and why it evolved the way it did.


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2009 @ 8:22 am

  4. Very interesting flower. I don’t even recall seeing anything like that in my guidebooks. I’ll have to go back and check by the scientific name. Excellent find and well captured. Thanks for bringing it to us.


    Comment by edvatza — June 30, 2009 @ 4:14 am

    • I guess it isn’t exactly rare. The Burke Museum website says: “Distribution: Chiefly east of the Cascades, British Columbia to Oregon, east to South Dakota
      Habitat: Dry, open slopes, low to mid-elevations”.

      I’ve never seen it before and don’t recall even seeing pictures of it.


      Comment by montucky — June 30, 2009 @ 8:46 am

  5. I’m with you,..never seen that before. According to Ed, it doesn’t grow this far east. Very unique!


    Comment by Cedar — June 30, 2009 @ 11:02 am

    • I’m still mystified as to why I haven’t stumbled on these before. They must not be too common in this area either.


      Comment by montucky — June 30, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

  6. Beautiful Montucky – it’s an amazing world we live in.


    Comment by connie — June 30, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

    • It certainly is, Connie. Now if we could get everyone to appreciate it for what it is!


      Comment by montucky — June 30, 2009 @ 8:52 pm

  7. i like ragged robin too. i must say… i’ve missed a lot of wildflowers in my day!! thanks for sharing


    Comment by kcjewel — June 30, 2009 @ 5:17 pm

    • I must have missed a lot too, Jewel. I keep finding ones that are brand new to me.


      Comment by montucky — June 30, 2009 @ 8:53 pm

  8. It reminds me a little bit of an orchid species, Habenaria erichmichaelii. Nice find!


    Comment by Tabbie — July 5, 2009 @ 7:47 am

    • It is rather exotic. I see it’s in the evening primrose family.


      Comment by montucky — July 5, 2009 @ 8:36 am

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