Montana Outdoors

April 13, 2010

Yellow Glacier Lily

Bears are rather fond of the bulbs of these plants and if one doesn’t come by, dig up and eat its bulb, the bud in my previous post will in a few days look like the flowers in the following photos.

While walking up a Forest Service road yesterday I came across the bud standing all alone on the hillside above the road. Another mile and a half up the canyon on the point of a small ridge that had a good southern exposure and therefore access to all of the available sun, these were in full early bloom. Later, Glacier Lilies will be very numerous in many areas of the forests of western Montana.

Yellow Glacier Lily

Yellow Glacier Lily

Yellow Glacier Lily

Yellow Glacier Lily

This particular species is native to nine of the far western states, but I see that they have relatives living in nearly all of the rest of the US as well. It seems that giving this plant its common name is a popular pastime and they have a number of common names including Glacier Lily, Yellow Glacier Lily, and Yellow Avalanche Lily; species name, Erythronium grandiflorum. For over sixty years I have heard them locally called “Dogtoothed Violets” which is not the correct name for this species, but is the name for the species Erythronium americanum which is native to the eastern half of the US.

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