Montana Outdoors

July 9, 2009

Would a Pipsissewa by any other name still smell as sweet?

On July 6, on a walk along the upper part of Buffalo Bill Creek I took this photo, thinking, well, I don’t know exactly what I was thinking.

Pipsissewa

Then on the following evening while hiking on a favorite trail that meanders along the Loneman Divide I saw another member of the same species in bloom and realized what I had been thinking the night before. They are very small (the blossoms stand only about 3 inches high) and they always look right at the ground and so photographing them is difficult because it involves getting dirt up your nose and being pricked by wild rose thorns in places that really shouldn’t be mentioned in polite company. However, despite those minor inconveniences along with the additional inconvenience that the sun had just set and another potential inconvenience that a big old bear had recently torn apart a log about 10 feet away looking for grubs, I gave it my best shot.

Pipsissewa

Pipsissewa

I am personally indebted to the Cree Indians because I just love the name “Pipsissewa” and it comes from their word “Pipisisikwea”! It’s also known by the name “Prince’s-pine”, although I have absolutely no idea why that is, and the scientific name Chimophila umbellata.

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