Montana Outdoors

July 8, 2009

Things are not always what they appear to be

On the Bunchberry, the four large white bracts are easily mistaken for petals. However as a close look shows, they have no floral parts of their own, but surround a cluster of tiny true flowers.



Cornus canadensis

False bugbane or Tassel Rue, a highly poisonous member of the Buttercup family has unusual flowers because they have tiny sepals and no petals; their showiness is a result of tufts of white stamens.

False bugbane

Tassel Rue,
Carolina bugbane,
Wild bugbane,
False bugbane,
Trautvetteria caroliniensis

(Both of these flowers were photographed in the upper end of Buffalo Bill Creek)


  1. Yes, it’s unusual flowers.


    Comment by widi — July 8, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

  2. I can’t believe the huge variety of flora you have up there!!!!!! And they’re all new and wonderful to me.


    Comment by Candace — July 8, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

    • I’m glad you enjoy seeing them Candace. I know there are many that I miss too.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2009 @ 8:42 am

  3. Hey…that last one looks like mini firework bursts! Cool!


    Comment by Stacey — July 8, 2009 @ 11:43 pm

  4. The floral world is truly amazing and unique with so many varieties. Mind boggling. Interesting flowers and post. Lovely captures. 🙂


    Comment by Anna Surface — July 9, 2009 @ 6:08 am

    • Yes, I always wonder at the number of varieties and also wonder why there are so many. Wouldn’t you think, the way evolution is supposed to work that there would be many more very similar varieties?


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2009 @ 8:45 am

  5. Bejeweled and Bodacious! I especially liked the Boisterous Bugbane :0


    Comment by Maureen — July 9, 2009 @ 8:45 am

    • They are a nice decoration for the forest floor now. There is another plant whose blossoms look much the same at first glance, the white clematis. It is a vine and can be seen higher in the brush, making an interesting combination.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2009 @ 8:49 am

  6. If you ever create a white album filled with photographs, these can go on the cover!



    Comment by knightofswords — July 9, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

    • They do make a pretty contrast against the green, don’t they!


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  7. Hmmm…interesting fact about the bunchberry. It certainly does look like individual petals.


    Comment by scienceguy288 — July 9, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

    • They had me fooled too until I did a little research on them.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2009 @ 9:58 pm

  8. i don’t think i’ve ever seen a bunchberry, but they remind me of dogwood. your pictures are so enjoyable!


    Comment by kcjewel — July 9, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

    • THey must be closely related. I saw on one site that these are also called “Dwarf Dogwood”.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

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