Montana Outdoors

April 17, 2010

Other early blooms

It has been dry and rather cold this spring in this region and the regular bloom times for wildflowers seems to be greatly disrupted. Some are scarce and I’m afraid some will not bloom at all this year. There is practically no moisture in the soil. Here are a few that I’ve seen in the past few days and their populations are very low.

Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary~ Small-flowered Blue-Eyed Mary, Collinsia parviflora, figwort family ~

Wayside gromwell~ Wayside gromwell, Lemonweed, Lithospermum ruderale, borage family ~

Western stickseed~ Western stickseed, Lappula redowskii, borage family ~

 Narrow-leaved Desert Parsley~ Narrow-leaved Desert Parsley, Lomatium triternatum, Cous, carrot family ~

Mule-ears~ Mule-ears, Wyethia amplexicaulis, aster family ~
(In a few days, this will look like a medium-size sunflower)

Wild strawberry~ Wild strawberry, Fragaria virginiana, rose family ~


  1. You do have such interesting blooms there. I love those blue ones… and I never in a million years would have thought that one was from the carrot family!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — April 17, 2010 @ 11:11 pm

    • The blue ones are so small they are right at the limit of my lens. About 1/8 inch across. Pretty color though.

      I’m often surprised by the families in which the various flowers belong. I know it all makes sense to a botanist but I have never been able to figure it all out.


      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

  2. That is so sad that just some hardy individuals may bloom this year. They’re so pretty, it’s a shame when nature takes a different course.


    Comment by Candace — April 18, 2010 @ 1:56 am

    • Yesterday I visited a small area that has very sandy soil. Of course, all of the precipitation that we’ve had has just drained down through it and there is practically nothing actively growing there now: usually it greens up in the spring and several types of flowers live there. I’m sure though that the plants have some sort of survival strategy for times like this: they’re seen it before.


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2010 @ 8:34 am

  3. Lovely. Except for the wild strawberry, I have never seen any of these.


    Comment by kateri — April 18, 2010 @ 5:30 am

    • The Blue-eyed Mary and stickseed are so small they are really easy to overlook. I didn’t notice what the distribution of the others is but they are common here. Mule-ears are plentiful here too, but are limited to 8 of the western states.


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2010 @ 8:40 am

      • It is strange that Michigan is way ahead of your area in some ways and not others. Here wild strawberries are no where ready to bloom.


        Comment by kateri — April 18, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

        • I think it’s just the year we are having. Lots of things seem to be blooming out of order. It might be that with little moisture, many are trying to get through their cycle as quickly as possible while they can.

          We have had little sun this spring but many plants bloomed on schedule, making me realize it isn’t warmth that’s the trigger, but probably length of daylight. I wonder if the dryness doesn’t change the timing as well. (In a normal year it would be getting dry in several more weeks.)


          Comment by montucky — April 18, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  4. Oh, these are very nice captures of the early blooms. The wild strawberry hasn’t bloomed yet here. I really like the photo of the Western stickseed as it looks like a succulent or cacti plant.


    Comment by Anna Surface — April 18, 2010 @ 6:26 am

    • The stickseed is so tiny it really has to be magnified to be seen well. This is a surprising year in many ways. Some of these usually bloom much later and yet there are others that usually bloom y now and still haven’t. I guess each has its own strategy for dealing with this type of situation. I think some will probably bloom in areas that have a little more moisture, such as in sheltered canyons with small streams and just not bloom this year in dry areas. It’s interesting to observe.


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2010 @ 8:44 am

  5. I wish I could send you some of the excess water we have had this spring!

    We have the wild strawberry, and I got blue-eyed Mary in a wildflower seed mix once, but of course it didn’t come back the next year. The other plants are new to me.


    Comment by sandy — April 18, 2010 @ 8:19 am

    • I wish we had some of that water too, Sandy! I’ll post photos of the Mule-ears in full bloom a little later. I think they’re just beautiful flowers!


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2010 @ 8:48 am

  6. Very nice selection here in spite of the fact there are fewer to take photographs of this year. As they say: maybe next year.


    Comment by knightofswords — April 18, 2010 @ 11:38 am

    • Next year and perhaps the ones that grow at higher elevations will do OK. This will likely impact the insects that depend on the flowers, too.


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

  7. Parsley. Yum.


    Comment by iheartfilm — April 18, 2010 @ 12:15 pm

    • I’ve never tried it myself, but the Indians used the roots a lot for various things including as food.


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  8. These are beautiful shots, Terry! I especially am partial to the Blue-Eyed Mary!


    Comment by Barbara — April 18, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

    • It is a pretty little thing. I wish it were about 8 times its size.


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

  9. Sorry you’re going to have a poor showing this year. I think Wisconsin is having a banner year. The ones you did see are all tiny treasures, though. Love mules ear, both its name and its fuzzy appearance.

    Always amazed at the different flowers we see, even though it’s the same time of year. This morning I was out for about a half hour and saw 3 different violets, trout lily, buttercups, jack in the pulpits, wood anemone and the beginnings of grand trillium.


    Comment by Bo Mackison — April 18, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

    • I’m also amazed at the variety. It seems unending and I’m sure I miss many of them every year.

      You have had a lot more precipitation this winter than we have. It was crazy here with -20 temps in October and then milder temps but no snow. Last years leaves are still on many of the trees having frozen there long before they normally would have fallen. I guess in a few more weeks we’ll know how many have actually survived. Now it’s hard on them because they just don’t have the deep water that the winter snow usually provides.


      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  10. Lovel flower photos. Nearly all are not found here. I love the photo of Lappula redowskii. Fragaria virginiana has been seen here, but only one official observation.

    You are lucky to have so many and different beautiful flowers in Your nature.


    Comment by sartenada — April 18, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

    • Yes, we are lucky to have many varieties of wildflowers. I look forward to seeing them each year. The little strawberry plant does produce berries. They are about the size of a pea, but are very sweet. We have many growing around our house, but we always leave the fruit for the Robins.


      Comment by montucky — April 19, 2010 @ 8:15 am

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