Montana Outdoors

June 26, 2011


Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , , , — montucky @ 10:24 pm

In 1806 the Corps of Discovery had to camp in Idaho for nearly a month to wait for the snow to melt in the Bitterroot Mountains before they were able to cross through them into Montana. During that time Meriwether Lewis studied and described many of the plant specimens that he had collected, and his description of Clarkia was among his most detailed, running to nearly 500 words.

Of this plant’s common names of Clarkia, Ragged Robin, Pink Fairy and Deerhorn, I like Clarkia the best. There is a very interesting page on the website about this plant, including some of the description written by Lewis.



Clarkia, Pink Fairy, Ragged Robin, Deerhorn ~ Clarkia pulchella


  1. hello,

    I took to heart all the post on this front page of your blog, your photos are extremely gorgeous in detail and beauty. I love seeing through your lens.

    So glad you liked the tree, though there are barns and farms in the back ground….. there are no wires and cars up close. I find it so hard to photograph a gorgeous tree with nothing man-made in the photo. Do you have this happen also?


    Comment by Tammie — June 26, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

    • Thanks Tammie! Your photo was very nicely composed and the farms in the background were a nice part of the scene. I sometimes do have man-made structures in my photos, but rarely. I live in a very rural area and do nearly all of my hiking (and therefore most of my photography) in very wild and natural country where there aren’t any structures. Sometimes though, a long distance scene from a mountain top will include structures in the valley below.


      Comment by montucky — June 26, 2011 @ 11:50 pm

  2. Such a beautiful wildflower ! Your pictures are stunning and the site you mentioned very detailed and interesting. thank you for a lovely start of the week.


    Comment by isathreadsoflife — June 26, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

    • Thank you Isa! I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos and the site!


      Comment by montucky — June 26, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

  3. Clarkia is very intricate and unusual. Interesting to read Lewis’ words. I wonder about so much of the spelling, if it has changed so much since then or if the words were misspelled by him. Or a little of both.


    Comment by Candace — June 27, 2011 @ 1:12 am

    • I think a little of both. Lewis was a lot closer in time to the old english language.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

  4. I can certainly see why this little beauty might be called Deerhorn. What a beautiful flower and thank you for the link to Having just returned from the Cape Disappointment area this link took me back to some of that beautiful scenery and it’s vegetation.


    Comment by anniespickns — June 27, 2011 @ 6:37 am

    • I’m glad you found the link useful. It is interesting what Lewis and the Corps thought about this country seeing it for the first time.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

  5. Hi Montucky, Glad for the background information which I think is very interesting. Beautiful flower and excellent shot! Have a great day!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — June 27, 2011 @ 11:16 am

  6. Beautiful!! I’ve never heard of this one. I’m such a sucker for purple! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Comment by Barbara — June 27, 2011 @ 11:38 am

    • It has a quite limited distribution. Besides in British COlumbia, it grows only in these states: CT, ID, MA, MT, OH, OR, SD, VT, WA, WY.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2011 @ 10:23 pm

  7. What an interesting flower! Very pretty.


    Comment by thedailyclick — June 27, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    • I was very surprised by it when I saw the first one. It has an unusual configuration!


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

  8. I like that name best, too. Very unusual petal shape, for sure.


    Comment by sandy — June 27, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    • I don’t understand why a plant with such a limited distribution would have so many common names.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

  9. Unusual and very pretty!


    Comment by mitambien — June 27, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

    • They are very pretty in their natural setting because they are large enough to create nice bits of color on the hillsides.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

  10. One of my summer favorites. I never thought of these as purple, they are pink in my area.


    Comment by Kim — June 27, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

    • They seem to like exposure to full sun, as these did have, but because they were growing in a deep canyon, they had the sun for a very short time each day. Perhaps that makes their color darker.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

  11. Looks more like moose antlers than deer horn to me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Regardless… it is a beauty!!


    Comment by kcjewel — June 27, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

    • I hadn’t thought of that, but they do look more like moose antlers. Technically, deer don’t have horns anyway, they have antlers. Who makes up these common names anyway!


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

  12. Very rich in color, but look extremely delicate. I agree … they do look more like moose antlers.


    Comment by bearyweather — June 28, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

    • I suppose they are somewhat delicate, although they seem to do OK. From what I’ve read, they are quite plentiful, although not in this particular area.


      Comment by montucky — June 28, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  13. What an intriguing and odd-petaled flower. Love the purple passion color with the delicate white bloom in the middle.


    Comment by Anna — June 29, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

  14. What a beautiful color, very deep. In New England “ragged robin” is Lychnis flos-cuculi, a completely different flower that really does look ragged.

    Yours is much more beautiful and I also like the name Clarkia!


    Comment by Wild_Bill — June 29, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

    • I see that USDA Plants shows lychnis flos-cuculi growing in Montana too, but I’ve never seen it. I will now look closely for it.


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

  15. I’m calling it deer horn from here on out.


    Comment by Tammy — June 29, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

  16. Exquisite..extraordinary color. WOW!


    Comment by Marcie — June 30, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

  17. how interesting! the flower is pretty and interesting too; ever since studying the expedition w/ my kids, I’ve been intrigued by the corps of discovery’s expedition. I cannot imagine the journey and what all it involved. and had heard that lewis’ journals of the plants and animals along the way was detailed and fascinating too. thanks for including the link to that piece.


    Comment by silken — June 30, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

    • In this area it’s easier to relate to the expedition because it came right through here. It must have been a fascinating journey and I’ve often wished that I could have seen this part of the country when they did.


      Comment by montucky — July 1, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

      • oh yes, when we were in Bozeman and I saw the statue of Sacagawea, it really brought it to my mind, and being able to see the area-the mountains, the snow, made it that much more of an impact on me. I cannot fathom it. and her having a newborn too!


        Comment by silken — July 3, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

        • Sacagawea and her people were part of this natural area. The corps was extremely lucky to have encountered her!


          Comment by montucky — July 3, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

  18. What an exotic plant- and the Lewis & Clark site is great. Thanks for the link!


    Comment by Watching Seasons — June 30, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

  19. How beautiful, very different looking flower. I have never heard or seen it. It is curious that it has the Finnish name “Tarhaklarkia”.



    Comment by sartenada — June 30, 2011 @ 10:29 pm

    • That is interesting! Perhaps a specimen reached Finland?


      Comment by montucky — July 1, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  20. I can see why they liked the Clarkia flower so much. A very uniquely shaped flower.


    Comment by Ratty — July 1, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

    • It is interesting. When I first saw one there was only one anywhere around and I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was very rare and it turned out to be not rare at all, just unusual.


      Comment by montucky — July 1, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

  21. This might be my favorite of all the wildflower images you’ve posted… although it is SO difficult to choose just one because so many of them are stunning! Back for another try at catching up with your posts… hopping ahead now to July! (the trip was good… took way too many photos and am having a terrible time sorting through them all and picking some to post to my travel blog… am on overload everywhere)


    Comment by Victoria — July 22, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    • I can imagine how many photos you have from your trip. I know I would have taken many hundreds. I’m also on overload this summer, with remodeling projects and outings: it’s a busy time!


      Comment by Montucky — July 22, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

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