Montana Outdoors

August 20, 2011

Bear-grass

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:58 pm

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass ~ Xerophyllum tenax

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41 Comments »

  1. Wow, that is a very dramatic flower–like white rockets getting ready to shoot off.

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    Comment by kateri — August 20, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

    • I had hoped to get much better pictures of them, but they are not having a good year this year for some reason. They are dramatic, especially when they bloom in large numbers. Some of their flower stalks are over 5 feet tall.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

  2. They sure are showy wildflowers! Do you know how they come by their name? Excellent photos!

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    Comment by farmhouse stories — August 20, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

    • I’ve read that bears eat the fleshy leaf bases in the spring and that’s how they got their name. I never believed that until three years ago when I came upon a large area where the plants were all torn up and obviously eaten. I conclude from that that they are aptly named.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

      • Thanks … Where their name came from was the first question this “bear lover” had. A very interesting and unique plant, thanks for the great pictures.

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        Comment by bearyweather — August 22, 2011 @ 7:34 am

        • Their bloom time has been a highlight of my summer for well over 60 years. I remember them from when I was a very young child.

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          Comment by Montucky — August 22, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

  3. Those close-ups are gorgeous! They look so sad when they’re wilted.

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    Comment by thedailyclick — August 21, 2011 @ 5:02 am

    • They are interesting to photograph after all of the very small wildflowers all season!

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:46 pm

  4. Those are really lovely. and very elegant.

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    Comment by Roberta — August 21, 2011 @ 6:51 am

    • When they have a good year they completely decorate large areas of the forest, and the word “elegant” really fits them!

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

  5. WOW!

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    Comment by anniespickns — August 21, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    • I think they are the largest wildflower in this area, and not at all difficult to spot.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

  6. Finally… I’ve been waiting all summer for these!! They are all beautiful shots, but the heavy headed family of four kinda speaks to me. Thank you for sharing… I can’t view enough of your bear grass photos!!

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    Comment by kcjewel — August 21, 2011 @ 8:00 am

    • I was hoping for much more from the bloom of bear-grass this year, but they have been sparse. I have several treks into the high country planned for the next couple of weeks though and there may be more up there.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

  7. The close-ups really show off their beauty!

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    Comment by Barbara — August 21, 2011 @ 10:00 am

    • I think they do too, Barbara. I like the purity of the white.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

  8. Bear grass is beautiful, both from the distance and close up. Very nice photos!

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    Comment by Margie — August 21, 2011 @ 10:10 am

    • It is, and I also like the bushy leaves of the plant. I’ve spent some comfortable nights sleeping on them, and they are tough enough that it doesn’t damage them.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

  9. The flowers are gorgeous. I bet very few people look at them as closely as this.

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    Comment by Val — August 21, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    • Probably not Val, although they grow along the highways on the passes and I’ve seen a lot of tourists photographing them.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

  10. Hi Montucky, I love how well you show the detail of those white blooms! Very pretty grass or plant. Have a super nice Sun. and coming week!

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    Comment by wildlifewatcher — August 21, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

    • Thanks Wildlifewatcher! I hope you have a great week too!

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

  11. I’ve been waiting to see these again this summer on your blog! It’s so unusual-looking when you see a bunch of them together.

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    Comment by Candace — August 21, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

    • Well, I still have hopes that they will be blooming in the next few weeks. I plan a couple of trips into the high country in the Cube Iron/Silcox roadless area and if there are any more around they will be there.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

  12. The last one illustrates the other common name of “maiden’s breasts” rather well, don’t you think?

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    Comment by Kim — August 21, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

  13. Never knew the name of these grasses before. What exquisite detail..when viewed up close.

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    Comment by Marcie — August 21, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

  14. Nature shows us once again that truth is stranger than fiction. What a plant!

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    Comment by jomegat — August 21, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

    • They are some plants! I’ve read that they are extremely difficult to cultivate in a garden, yet in the forests they are very robust and hardy.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

  15. Grass? I wonder why they call it that? It reminds me of liatris in the wild.

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    Comment by sandy — August 21, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

    • Next time I see some I’ll try to remember to take a picture of the grass base. Each plant has a very large, thick clump of grass with blades around a foot long and the flower stalk grows right out of the middle of it.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 21, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

  16. I don’t remember ever seeing Bear-grass… but I must have at one time… lovely images! One of these years I will have to make it out to Montana during Bear-grass blooming season. I expect it will be done by mid-September.

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    Comment by Victoria — August 22, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    • Yes, I think its bloom will be over by then. I just reviewed my photos from the last three Septembers and saw no bear-grass photos. It reminded me though that September is a very good month for sunsets!

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      Comment by Montucky — August 22, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

  17. The oddest and most intriguing plant! Great shots with such detail. I really like the last photo as the bear grass looks like it is spinning and it was caught in motion. 🙂

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    Comment by Anna — August 22, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

    • They are fun to photograph after all of the tiny wildflowers because these are huge. In their good years, they are spectacular.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 22, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

  18. Any fan of Glacier National Park is going to love seeing Beargrass pictures. These are great.

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    Comment by knightofswords — August 22, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    • Yes, there are usually lots of them there. I haven’t been up that way this year though, so I don’t know if they did well there or not.

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      Comment by Montucky — August 22, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

  19. […] Bear-grass […]

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    Pingback by Bear-grass « Montana Outdoors | grass — August 24, 2011 @ 3:10 am

  20. Love these shots!

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    Comment by Cedar — August 24, 2011 @ 7:23 am

    • Thanks Cedar. They are beautiful blossoms, aren’t they!

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      Comment by Montucky — August 24, 2011 @ 7:24 pm


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