Montana Outdoors

April 23, 2010

Two Sunflowers

About four posts ago I posted a photo of one sunflower variety just budding out. (Mule-ears, named for the shape of their leaves.) Here it is in full bloom:

Mule-earsMule-ears, Wyethia amplexicaulis

Although they are not as plentiful as usual because of the drought, The Arrowleaf are now in full bloom. They are perhaps the largest of our wildflowers here and really brighten up the hillsides where they grow. (They are also named for the shape of their leaves.)

Arrowleaf BalsamrootArrowleaf Balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata


  1. Love them sunflowers! And look at you catching that bee like that… love the composition of the flower in the 2nd one especially!!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — April 23, 2010 @ 10:55 am

    • I try to catch the insects with the blossoms when possible. They are such a big part of the whole thing.


      Comment by montucky — April 23, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

  2. We have a woodland sunflower very close to that, but paler yellow. It is actually called rough-leaved sunflower.

    They come past mid summer, though.


    Comment by sandy — April 23, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

    • These are the only two wildflowers here that look like what one usually thinks of as a Sunflower. Around the house though, it’s a different story. We put out sunflower seeds for the Chickadees (especially) as well as the other birds and the chipmunks. The chipmunks bury lots of the seeds and we end up with sunflowers coming up in the strangest places, often in flower beds where we know we didn’t plant them. We let them grow though and each fall have quite a few seeds for the munks. It’s cute to see them do their own harvesting.


      Comment by montucky — April 23, 2010 @ 7:17 pm

  3. Love those sunny sunflower.


    Comment by Bo Mackison — April 24, 2010 @ 7:29 am

  4. yellow… the harbinger of spring! very pretty photos and it is so fun that you go back to visit them when they “shine”.


    Comment by kcjewel — April 24, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

    • The arrowleaf are really brightening up the hillsides now, most being in full bloom. The Mule-ears grow more in the forest interface and they will be blooming for quite awhile yet in various locations. Both are beautiful.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2010 @ 8:16 am

  5. These are lovely sunflowers! And you also got the busy bee in one shot. I didn’t know that sunflowers bloomed this early. Perhaps it is this particular variety.


    Comment by Anna Surface — April 24, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

    • These two varieties bloom early, but the Mule-ears will last longer. They are the only ones in this area that have the “sunflower” look other than the ones planted domestically.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2010 @ 8:17 am

  6. Sunflowers are the best. I thouht they bloomed later, too. And nice bonus bee (or other insect).


    Comment by Candace — April 24, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

    • The domestic ones are far from blooming here. That will be mid to late summer. These wild ones, especially the arrowleaf will be dried up by then.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2010 @ 8:18 am

  7. Great photos to share for spring. Isn’t it odd how the bees bring smiles to our faces? Thanks for sharing.


    Comment by Tammy McLeod — April 25, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

    • The bees are always a big plus for me: I know how important they are for all of the plants. A few years ago their numbers were diminishing rapidly here and it was a great concern. Now their numbers seem to be coming back.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, Tammy!


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

  8. Not too shabby in spite of the drought. Our flowers are superb this year for the first time in many seasons. We had a wetter winter than usual even before last night’s severe thunder storms and tornado warnings. (This was the system that wiped out a lot of Yazoo, MS.)


    Comment by knightofswords — April 25, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

    • I thought you would have a good crop of flowers this year. Glad to hear that’s true! That was some storm system that went through there. I followed it on the news. I just as happy that we have very few tornados here.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

  9. I’m glad the bees are coming back where you live. I’ve seen a few here, but not as many as I would expect. The wild apple trees are in full bloom right now, and I’ve seen very few bees on them. The flowers are very pretty–they remind me of summer. I don’t think we have any early spring flowers that are sunflower or daisy like.


    Comment by kateri — April 25, 2010 @ 9:09 pm

    • So far I’ve seen more bees than in the past three years. Our trees are just starting to bloom, but there are flowers and blossoming shrubs for them and of course, Dandelions. They should be doing well now.

      These two sunflowers do seem unusual, blooming so early. The rest of the sunflower family come much later and bloom on into late fall. I would guess these are early because they require quite a bit of water for their large leaves and this is usually the wettest part of the spring and summer.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

  10. So lovely sunflowers! I like their color.

    I love Your “Nature post” because they are giving to me an eye to Your world.


    Comment by sartenada — April 26, 2010 @ 11:25 pm

    • I’m glad you like seeing these things, sartenada. Wildflowers and the natural plants are very important to me and I think their diversity is vital to the health of the ecological system.


      Comment by montucky — April 27, 2010 @ 12:00 am

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