Montana Outdoors

April 4, 2010

Cusick’s shooting star

Cusick's shooting star

These were a surprise today, about ten days earlier than usual. Sadly though, because it is so dry they will be very sparse this spring. There were a few others along with these but they looked as though they were already drying up. (Dodecatheon pulchellum ssp. cusickii)

Distribution: USA (ID, MT, OR, WA), CAN (BC)



  1. Beautiful!


    Comment by kateri — April 4, 2010 @ 8:49 pm

  2. That’s a really interesting flower. So much detail, lots of color. The shooting stars in Wisconsin are mostly white or pale blue. Too bad about it being so dry. Hard on wildflowers, for sure.

    Are there worries about the dryness and fires? You’ve been really dry.


    Comment by Bo Mackison — April 4, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

    • Yes, we are expecting a very active fire season this year. We have already responded to two and it’s very early for that. The open hillsides, especially on the southern slopes are tinder dry already.


      Comment by montucky — April 4, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

  3. I’ve never seen one of these… I can see why it would have been a favorite! Are they related to cyclamen? They have some of the same characteristics. Early and dry… we are just the opposite in this area.


    Comment by kcjewel — April 4, 2010 @ 9:53 pm

    • My favorite book on plants says they are closely related to Cyclamen. I’ve never seen one myself though. (They are members of the Primrose family.)


      Comment by montucky — April 4, 2010 @ 9:59 pm

  4. Cool colors. I like the red line that looks like a youngster drew mountains around the middle of the petal.


    Comment by DaveABirding — April 5, 2010 @ 6:51 am

    • That line intrigues me too. I wonder how and why it evolved.


      Comment by montucky — April 5, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

  5. What a great closeup!


    Comment by Cedar — April 5, 2010 @ 8:37 am

    • Thanks Cedar. Another one of those rump up, nose down macro attempts.


      Comment by montucky — April 5, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

  6. They look like starships to me. Very interesting and colorful.

    Hope you get some relief from the dryness. Seems like every year is an active fire season somewhere out west.


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — April 5, 2010 @ 9:40 am

    • California got hit hard last year and it looks like they might have problems again this summer. It looks bad for this region too and I’m nervous that we’re not all that well prepared. Our rural department did buy a new water tender this year, giving us three to support our department and help support DNRC and the Forest Service, at least on the fires fairly close to roads.


      Comment by montucky — April 5, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

  7. Beautiful! This is one of my favorite flowers as well.


    Comment by Maureen — April 5, 2010 @ 9:53 am

    • Their configuration is interesting and the color os distinctive. I love to see them growing in big numbers where it gives a purple cast to the area.


      Comment by montucky — April 5, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  8. My goodness! These flowers do look like shooting stars! What great colors and so expressive. Beautiful!


    Comment by Anna Surface — April 5, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

    • These have always caught the attention and sparked the imagination of kids. I hope that continues! It was so much easier when I was a kid because we could easily reach areas on foot where they were growing.


      Comment by montucky — April 5, 2010 @ 6:45 pm

  9. Those are intersesting looking! I don’t think I’ve seen those in Washington…at least not in the Puget Sound area. Pretty things!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — April 5, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

    • It might be too wet for them around Puget Sound, but they do grow farther east in Washington. They are tiny, but very pretty.


      Comment by montucky — April 5, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  10. Unusual flower, too bad about the sparseness.


    Comment by Candace — April 6, 2010 @ 2:20 am

    • I hope I’m wrong about the wildflowers this year, but so far it looks like there will be few.


      Comment by montucky — April 6, 2010 @ 7:48 am

  11. Wow, how beautiful flower. I have not seen it and asked my wife (she is a gardener’s daughter) if she has heard about this flow, answer was yes.

    Again thank You giving the Latin name, so it was easy to trace here.


    Comment by sartenada — April 6, 2010 @ 8:00 am

    • It’s interesting that your wife has heard about it. I can find distribution information for the US and Canada, but not so easily for other countries. I try my best to correctly identify the flowers, but I’m not always right.


      Comment by montucky — April 6, 2010 @ 8:15 am

  12. Magnificent! I wonder what they’re watching out for?


    Comment by Pinhole — April 6, 2010 @ 9:14 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: