Montana Outdoors

September 3, 2010

The flowers of Cube Iron

As I followed trail 460 upward toward Cube Iron Mountain the weather looked as though it might be about to bring a bit of rain and so I focused more on the landscape than on the flora, leaving most of that to be documented on the return trip (I love to photograph wildflowers in the rain anyway). Here are a few photos taken on that return trip of some of the wildflowers still blooming at the higher levels, several of which were new species for me.

DSC_9110Sickletop Lousewort, Pedicularis racemosa

Shrubby penstemonShrubby penstemon


northern buckwheat, Eriogonum compositumNorthern buckwheat, Eriogonum compositum

Dwarf Hawksbeard, Vrepis nanaDwarf Hawksbeard, Vrepis nana

Subalpine Daisy, Erigeron peregrinusSubalpine Daisy, Erigeron peregrinus

Unknown water flower

Pink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisiiPink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisii

Pink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisiiPink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisii

Pink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisiiPink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisii


  1. This is the post I have been waiting for. 🙂 That is a really pretty thistle. It reminds me of milk thistle, which I have grown in my herb garden at times. The monkey flower is a handsome plant.


    Comment by kateri — September 4, 2010 @ 6:18 am

    • I think many of the flowers are past their blooming cycle already, even in the higher areas, but these seemed to be doing well.


      Comment by montucky — September 4, 2010 @ 8:11 am

  2. Pretty. How cool that you know all their names.


    Comment by Candace — September 4, 2010 @ 9:25 am

    • All but the white white flower. I have a very good book of wildflowers for this area.


      Comment by montucky — September 4, 2010 @ 9:40 am

  3. lots of spiders and bugs out for their daily sustenance! nice shots


    Comment by silken — September 4, 2010 @ 10:11 am

    • Yes, they are an important part of the flowers’ life cycle. I really like seeing the little crab spiders!


      Comment by montucky — September 5, 2010 @ 8:58 am

  4. I love the close-up of the thistle best! It makes it look very pretty!


    Comment by Barbara — September 4, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    • It seemed unusual, but I don’t know enough about them. This was very low to the ground, and its colors were interesting. A rather pleasant looking little thistle I thought.


      Comment by montucky — September 5, 2010 @ 8:59 am

  5. Looks like you had a friendly spider helping you on a few shots. 🙂 I love the thistle (as I tend to be fond of thistle) and the pink monkeyflower. What an usual looking wildflower monkeyflower is!


    Comment by Anna — September 4, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

    • I think those little crab spiders may be defenders of the plants in that they eat a lot of other insects. I see them frequently on flowers.

      This monkeyflower is the largest that I’ve seen: I was very surprised to see it!


      Comment by montucky — September 5, 2010 @ 9:02 am

  6. Hi Montucky, The Pink Monkey Flower is my favorite of those you pictured here. The Thistles are really beautiful but because they are easily spread, bad for domestic livestock, and have stickers, they have a terrible reputation. Nice pictures as usual! I really enjoy your blog.


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — September 4, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

    • The monkey flower was unusual, partly because of its size, and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t seen on like it before. It was also growing right near or in the water of the small stream.

      Thistles are a part of the wild country here,especially in small canyons and ravines, as well as being real pests in the valley areas. They are stickery, but no match for the thorns of the Hawthorne trees or Devil’s Club.


      Comment by montucky — September 5, 2010 @ 9:07 am

  7. You’re going to have enough photographs soon for a book about Rocky Mountain wildflowers.

    Great stuff.



    Comment by knightofswords — September 5, 2010 @ 9:10 am

    • But I keep finding new ones, Malcolm. There’s no end to them!


      Comment by montucky — September 5, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

  8. Gracious we don’t grow thistles like that in the midwest… that thing is georgeous!! I’ve been lurking here to take a look, but haven’t had time to comment. I hope fall will slow things down a bit. I would never garden if I had the beautiful natural gardens that you have to walk and live in.


    Comment by kcjewel — September 5, 2010 @ 9:41 am

    • I thought the thistle was pretty too; so different from the others.

      I know you have been busy. A slow-down would do you a world of good!


      Comment by montucky — September 5, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  9. I like them all,but the way the monkey flower grows is neat, so it is my favorite of this batch. Those little crab spiders are the ones that change color. I see you have two shades.


    Comment by sandy — September 5, 2010 @ 11:20 am

    • I’m still not crazy about the name “monkeyflower”, but the flowers are really pretty, and they make their homes in beautiful places.


      Comment by montucky — September 5, 2010 @ 9:27 pm

  10. What beautiful flowers Terry – I love that one (especially) that kind of looks cactusy – in the middle. It’s very unique!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — September 5, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

    • We will soon be at the end of the wildflower season I’m afraid, and I will miss them.


      Comment by montucky — September 5, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

  11. Although I do not so fond of Thistles, Your photo is showing special looking it can be. It differs from those I see here. Seed of Monkey flowers are being sold in gardening shops.


    Comment by sartenada — September 9, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

    • The thistle in the photo is quite unusual. We have many thistles here, though quite spread out and thus not a bad problem.

      It’s interesting that they are selling those seeds! I think they would be a very nice plant to have in a garden, but I have not seen them sold here.


      Comment by montucky — September 9, 2010 @ 10:54 pm

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