Montana Outdoors

April 25, 2010

Red and white… and blue.

It was a little surprising to see, a few days ago, that the Kinnikinnik is blooming; seems a bit early.


 KinnikinnikKinnikinnik, Bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, a shrub in the Heath family.

The bluebells are now blooming in more areas and greater numbers, although far less than in a normal year.

Long-flower Bluebells

Long-flower BluebellsSmall Bluebells, Long-flower Bluebells, Mertensia longiflora


  1. I don’t think we have either flower here in my area. I’d love those first ones though – anything in the pink family!! Pretty!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — April 25, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

    • I had seen Kinnikinnik for many years without seeing the blossoms. They are quite small and tend to be situated beneath the leaves.


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2010 @ 8:23 am

  2. Kinnikkinnik, how interesting, I’ve never seen that. The bluebells are beautiful.


    Comment by Candace — April 26, 2010 @ 12:59 am

    • Kinnikinnik is fairly common across the northern states and Canada. It does grow in northern Arizona too. It’s low growing and often goes un-noticed.


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2010 @ 8:27 am

  3. Uva Ursi grows in the upper peninsula of Michigan, but I have never seen it in the lower portion. I’ve never seen them in bloom. The flowers are colored so prettily.


    Comment by kateri — April 26, 2010 @ 5:36 am

    • Once I discovered the Kinnikinnik blossoms a few years ago I began to look forward to seeing them each spring. They are tiny, but I love the colors.


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2010 @ 8:29 am

  4. Those K-flowers are very unusual. They remind me of puffer fish.


    Comment by burstmode — April 26, 2010 @ 6:58 am

    • Yes, they are unusual flowers. In late summer, they produce bright red berries which are tasteless but nourishing and eaten by lots of wildlife, especially grouse.


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2010 @ 8:30 am

  5. Wow! I’ve been looking through your blog at your photos and they are fabulous! I’ve added you to my feed reader so that I can see them regularly. Really nice!

    As an aside, our bluebells (in the UK) are a different flower altogether so it’s nice to see what you call bluebells there.

    I didn’t realise Kinnikinnik was a flower.


    Comment by absurdoldbird — April 26, 2010 @ 8:03 am

    • Thank you for visiting and leaving such a kind comment!

      I live in northwestern Montana, and these bluebells are native here. There are different species in other states and those in some of the southern states are much more luxuriant than these.

      Kinnikinnik is actually a low-growing shrub that’s very common in the forests of the northern states and Canada. It’s blossoms produce bright red berries in late summer that stay on into and through the winter months where they are valuable to all kinds of wildlife. I’ve eaten them but they are waxy and tasteless.


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2010 @ 8:40 am

  6. Wow, these flowers are so beautiful! I’ve never seen a Kinnikinnik before, but I like it a lot!


    Comment by Camilla — April 26, 2010 @ 8:41 am

    • I’ve always liked the plant for its dark green leaves and bright red berries, but the blossoms are also a real treat.


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2010 @ 8:44 am

  7. love the blue ones. our bluebonnets are about gone by now


    Comment by silken — April 26, 2010 @ 10:00 am

  8. Such beauty! I’d love to have these in my yard!


    Comment by Barbara — April 26, 2010 @ 11:11 am

    • Kinnikinnik is grown as a ground cover, but I don’t know if it would grow in Texas. Might be too hot there for it. We will get into the hundreds here in August, but only for a day or two, and even then it will be in the 50’s or 60’s at night.


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  9. More beauties–keep them coming, please. Our wild things are coming early this year, too. We did have mild winter here, if that matters.


    Comment by sandy — April 26, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

    • There are many more wildflowers to bloom yet. I haven’t gotten out as much as I’d like this year, but hope to find most of them still. THere are so many!


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2010 @ 9:28 pm

  10. Kinnikinnik is unknown here. At first glance I thought it was “Vaccinium vitis-idaea”, but it was not. Also in my was “Vaccinium myrtillus L”.

    Those macros from Bluebells are awesome!


    Comment by sartenada — April 26, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

    • I have many great memories associated with Kinnikinnik after my Dad first pointed it out to me while hunting. I always look for it when I’m out.

      The bluebells are quite photogenic and I love to see them in bloom.


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

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