Montana Outdoors

February 21, 2010

Buttercup Ridge

On a beautiful sunny day like today it seemed good to pay another visit to my little yellow friend (a Sagebrush Buttercup, Ranunculus glaberrimus) who grows up on Buttercup Ridge. I have been documenting this first blossom of spring since it first appeared as a bud on January 30th, when it began to open on February 4th, opened most of the way on February 7th and was completely open on February 12th.

It is still doing well, and today it looked like this:

Sagebrush Buttercup

and was joined by about a dozen new friends like these:

Sagebrush Buttercup

Sagebrush Buttercup

Sagebrush Buttercup

Sagebrush Buttercup

Aren’t the slight variations interesting?



  1. Yes – they are interesting. Very pretty little things that look like they are so enjoying the sunshine!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — February 21, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

    • I think they are enjoying it, Stacey. They live their lives so beautifully.


      Comment by montucky — February 21, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

  2. How nice to document its little life, which may have gone unnoticed otherwise…but would still contribute to the “whole.”


    Comment by Candace — February 21, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

    • I often think about the wildflowers that way, Candace. Most live their whole lives in quiet beauty and total obscurity.


      Comment by montucky — February 21, 2010 @ 10:41 pm

  3. What an marvelous series of this tiny little flower! Each one is exquisite in its own dainty right. Beautiful clear bright colors shinning in all their glory. Each one perfect in its own being. Yet, if I had to pick a favorite shot for its perfection, it would be photo 2. It is perfect for its shape, color and little water droplets. Magnificant, Terry.


    Comment by Iona — February 22, 2010 @ 3:57 am

    • Thanks Iona! You describe exactly how I feel about them, and I also like the second photo the best. It’s amazing to me how individual each one is.


      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2010 @ 9:54 am

  4. I’m so amazed that they are blooming so early. I always thought that Montana was about the same seasonally as here in northern NY. We won’t see anything blossoming here for a couple months!


    Comment by Cedar — February 22, 2010 @ 4:36 am

    • This spot is about a month ahead of the rest of the region for some reason, Cedar. I discovered it last year when I saw the first Buttercup blooming there on Feb. 13th. It’s a small, sharp ridge-top not far from the river, but about two hundred feet above. It’s in the National Forest and Bighorn sheep droppings are spread around all over. I found it last year while wandering around and decided to follow a sheep trail that led to the ridge-top.

      I’ve looked through my photo archives and found that the first ones that I found blooming outside of this tiny area was:
      March 18, 2009
      March 20, 2008
      March 18, 2007.

      The next wildflower that blooms here will be the Yellow bell, toward the end of March.


      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2010 @ 10:09 am

  5. What a bunch of troopers those little plants are. Aren’t those microclimates fascinating? Glad those pictures were up to foreshadow things to come after a weekend of shoveling and snowshoeing.


    Comment by DaveABirding — February 22, 2010 @ 11:07 am

    • Around here, Dave, most of us would love to have some shoveling and snowshoeing to do. Doesn’t look like it this year though, but there’s still March…


      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2010 @ 11:15 am

  6. I like seeing the changes in this continuing saga of the buttercup.



    Comment by knightofswords — February 22, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

    • Kind of fun to keep track of it and I must have learned something although I don’t know what that might be. I’ve gotten rather fond of climbing up there to check on it and then sitting on that ridge in the sun, looking out over the valley. That’s apparently what the sheep do which, in my opinion, speaks well for their values.


      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2010 @ 4:55 pm

  7. How beautiful! It has certainly grown since the last photo. Amazing you have this little buttercup springing forth at this time.

    By the way, we have moved to our own website and have a new photoblog:


    Comment by Anna Surface — February 22, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

    • I’ve saved the address of your new site, Anna. It wouldn’t open for me this morning, but now it does. Looks great too!


      Comment by montucky — February 22, 2010 @ 4:58 pm

  8. So nice macros from Ranunculus glaberrimus.

    Again I thank You using also Latin name, because then I can search if this species can be found here.

    In this case answer is no, but we have some quite similar.

    Also I like that You showing many photos from same item and then one can have a better idea about it You presenting.


    Comment by sartenada — February 23, 2010 @ 1:08 am

    • Thank you, sartenada. Maybe it will be interesting as spring and summer develop, to compare some of the wildflowers found in each of our countries.


      Comment by montucky — February 23, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  9. Those are a sight for sore eyes. They are like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. 🙂 (We are buried in snow with more in the forecast.) How neat that they are blooming a month earlier in that spot.


    Comment by kateri — February 23, 2010 @ 4:13 pm

    • Buttercups have brightened up my springtimes for so many years now. Perhaps that is what they are for. We have snow in our forecast too, but very little accumulation is expected.


      Comment by montucky — February 23, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

  10. Well now, that was worth the wait!! ❤ them.


    Comment by kcjewel — February 23, 2010 @ 8:00 pm

    • Now in a few weeks the ones in other areas will begin and spring will be ready to start!


      Comment by montucky — February 23, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

  11. You have got to be kidding! WIldflowers in February!?!? Beautiful sequence Terry as I await another 12-24″ of snow.


    Comment by edvatza — February 24, 2010 @ 5:27 am

    • Just in this little place, Ed. They are always a month early there. I wish we had all of that snow that you have been getting. Our precipitation this winter is just a little over 50% of normal. Besides, we’re used to it and prepared for it.


      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

  12. Way cool! Love the brightness and the audacity of these early bloomers.


    Comment by Bo Mackison — February 24, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

    • Me too, Bo. They even do well right after they have had a heavy coat of snow. The three nights before these pictures were taken, the low temps were around 14°.


      Comment by montucky — February 24, 2010 @ 8:20 pm

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