Montana Outdoors

July 12, 2009

Just about forgot

Some time ago I posted a photo or two of Alpine Springbeauties, one of the very early wildflowers in this area. Not long after, I discovered another variety, the Siberian Springbeauty and forgot to post a photo of them. This was the first year in which I’ve seen them and thought they were really pretty.

Siberian springbeauty

Siberian springbeauty

Siberian springbeauty

Siberian springbeauty
Claytonia sibirica
Purslane family
Found at the east shore of Dog Lake on the Salish – Kootenai Indian Reservation in western Montana on May 4, 2009

July 11, 2009

At a distance they look alike,

but not up close.


Achillea millefolium

Pearly everlasting

Pearly everlasting
Anaphalis magaritacea

July 10, 2009

Tiny blossoms, big country.

Today as I stood by the old lookout cabin at Big Hole looking out at this scene, across the miles at Baldy Mountain and beyond the roadless area with that name to the grand Mission Mountains at the horizon, I noticed also some little white blossoms at my feet.

Big Hole Lookout

What a wonderful setting in which to have my first encounter with these enchanting little wildflowers!

Spotted Saxifrage

Spotted Saxifrage

Spotted Saxifrage,
Saxifraga bronchialis

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.


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.



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.

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)

July 7, 2009

A nice surprise

This evening I explored a section of trail and found that it was indeed the eastern end of a trail that I have been researching because I think it may be a major wildlife corridor between Baldy Mountain and Big Hole Peak; a small breakthrough, but an important one to me. It wasn’t a long hike and the temperature was in the high 60’s, but there was enough “up” to the trail to move a liter of water from my hydration pack to my sweat towel.

At my starting point at the top of Loneman Divide I was pleasantly surprised to see that these Bird’s-foot trefoils were in bloom.

Bird's-foot trefoil

Bird's-foot trefoil

Bird's-foot trefoil

Bird’s-foot trefoil
Lotus corniculatus

And Nature, as She so often does, had another little bonus for me too. It seemed that the last rays of the setting sun on these Harebells was just right.


It was a very pleasant and satisfying evening!

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