Montana Outdoors

April 17, 2012

A trillium celebration

Western White Trillium, Pacific Trillium

Not far from here, nature conducts a trillium celebration that I have attended for several years and intend to continue attending as long as I am able. It takes place at exactly this time of year a couple of miles up a very steep and narrow trail that is perpendicular to the traffic flow through these parts, along a creek that flows down its canyon from Koo Koo Sint Ridge through the TeePee – Spring Creek Roadless area.

In a small area of some fifty yards in length and perhaps forty in width, hidden among (and protected by) thick brush in the canyon, thousands of trilliums begin their bloom all at once. Few folks ever venture there to see them.

Western White Trillium or Pacific Trillium, Trillium Ovatum:

Western White Trillium, Pacific Trillium

Western White Trillium, Pacific Trillium

Western White Trillium, Pacific Trillium

Western White Trillium, Pacific Trillium

Western White Trillium, Pacific Trillium

Western White Trillium, Pacific Trillium

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76 Comments »

  1. Gorgeous! I love the shots of the bees. The pollinators have been abuzz with activity the last few days here.

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    Comment by aarontheisen — April 17, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

    • I love to see bees too. They have been so much in danger the last few years.

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      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2012 @ 11:45 pm

  2. You’ve found some terrific moments. Thanks for sharing the awe.

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    Comment by badwalker — April 17, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

    • Trilliums are pretty special to me, and a few drops from last night’s rain made them all the prettier!

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      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

  3. How beautiful! ANd the polinators adda specialtouch!

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    Comment by Bo Mackison (@bo_mackison) — April 17, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

    • I think that bee was asleep when I first saw him. He awoke a little when I touched him and then seemed to be pretty normal.

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      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2012 @ 11:48 pm

  4. Beautiful capture!

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    Comment by Roberta — April 17, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

  5. These trilliums are exquisite! And the place where they flower sounds just as special. I love your photos – superb detail and clarity.

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    Comment by Jo Woolf — April 17, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    • Thanks Jo. Yes, they live in a special place. I’ve seen wolf and cougar tracks there in the snow and that area is home to black bears and lots of elk and big horn sheep.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 12:06 am

  6. Beautifully captured photos! Started following your blog! Visit mine soon! 😀

    Like

    Comment by Editor Mindy — April 18, 2012 @ 12:38 am

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting Mindy! I did visit your blog and I find your attitude very refreshing!

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  7. I don’t think we have these here. It seems unusual for only three petals on a bloom. Wonderful captures.

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    Comment by Grampy — April 18, 2012 @ 1:15 am

    • I think that this particular species is found only in seven of the western states and it is the only one with which I’m familiar. Toward the end of the life of the blossoms, they turn pink.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

  8. Thank you, how wonderful, and your photos are gorgeous! Ellen

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    Comment by Ellen Grace Olinger — April 18, 2012 @ 3:54 am

    • Thank you Ellen. I try to capture the true beauty of the wildflowers.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

  9. Beautiful! Thanks for the info about them too!

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    Comment by Debby — April 18, 2012 @ 4:04 am

    • Thanks Debby. Wildflowers have a certain magic about them

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

  10. I love your trillium shots. They are the provincial flower here in Ontario and as kids we were told it was illegal to pick them, just one of the lies told us by our teachers, still that has managed to always mark them as special among all the wildflowers around here and they are startng to bloom now. TIme to go out and find some real ones to compare to your fantastic pictures.

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    Comment by dave1949 — April 18, 2012 @ 5:04 am

    • I hope they are blooming in your area. Photos are always only second best to the real flowers (and their surroundings).

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

  11. That is my kind of celebration! They are so beautiful with their crystal water drops. So, I am not the only one who goes on annual flower pilgrimages?

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    Comment by sandy — April 18, 2012 @ 5:12 am

    • No, you’re not the only one! I have several pilgrimages during wildflower season. The water drops were from a rain during the previous night, and at the elevation at which these grow, perhaps a little snow mixed in.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

  12. What exquisite detail. That singular water drop is amazing!

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    Comment by marciescudder — April 18, 2012 @ 6:03 am

    • That drop of water was in the perfect light and I couldn’t help but try for a photo of it. Fortunately my camera permits tight focus on any point in the frame and also spot meters that point.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

  13. Not to be commercial or crass, have you ever considered approaching a publisher about a collection of your art?

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    Comment by Dave at collinda — April 18, 2012 @ 6:19 am

    • I don’t know it there would be much of a market, Dave. I have considered the potential of selling framed prints of a few but haven’t pursued it yet. I’m very happy though that I have been asked by a prominent wildflower center to use my flower photos. I will post about it when I finally complete the project.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

  14. That is a celebration of the best kind! We all should find ways to celebrate life at its best and it certainly wouln’t be hard to do in the spring. I will be looking for ways in which I can do so every day. A grand idea! And lovely photos to illlustrate.

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    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — April 18, 2012 @ 6:27 am

    • There is much to celebrate in the natural world, isn’t there! I’m fortunate to have such easy access to it and also that I have been close to it from childhood. I wish that everyone had that chance!

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  15. Thank you for taking us to the trillium garden. I can see why you make this trek each year. What a special place.

    Just attended native bee workshop and learned CA has over 2000 species. I’m very happy to say I have my own little patch of dirt that has become home to one species and it’s been fascenating watching them come and go.

    Wonder where trillium grow in CA, or if they do. Will look into that. I would love to see these beauties in person. Meanwhile I’ve got your gorgeous images to inspire me.

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    Comment by anniespickns — April 18, 2012 @ 6:55 am

    • The “USDA Plants” website shows six species of them in California, but it doesn’t say just where. I have seen some trillium photos that were taken at the Muir Woods National Monument. They seem to tolerate cold weather and I see them most often near small streams in locations where they get mist of spray and also shade for most of the day.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

  16. I was interested in dave1949’s comment, as the same dynamic (“It’s illegal to pick the bluebonnets!”) is found here in Texas. What I did discover when I went looking is this, from the wiki: “Picking a trillium seriously injures the plant by preventing the leaf-like bracts from producing food for the next year. A plant takes many years to recover.” It was interesting to read about the role of ants in the plants’ reproduction, too. They’re not only beautiful, but interesting!

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    Comment by shoreacres — April 18, 2012 @ 6:57 am

    • Yes, I’ve read that picking the leaves (they are boiled and eaten for greens) will cause the bulb of the plant to die from lack of nourishment. The native Nlaka’pmx peoples of western Canada used a powder from the roots as an eye medicine.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

  17. so lovely
    it sounds like a very special outing and experience and your photographs show the imtimacy between flowers and photographer. thank you for sharing.

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    Comment by Tammie — April 18, 2012 @ 10:09 am

    • Going there during the trillium bloom is a very special experience, not only for the flowers. The stream is pristine and flows through pretty thick brush that opens up when under tall cedars. It’s wild country and has lots of wildlife but very few human visitors. The trail, if followed to its end, leads to an old Forest Service fire lookout at about 6,900 feet, so it climbs a total of 4,500 feet over 6 to 7 miles.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  18. Thanks for sharing such beautiful flowers from the secret place. It’s good that these places still exist! Fantastic photos Montucky!!

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    Comment by dhphotosite — April 18, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    • Yes, it is very good indeed that these places still exist. One of my fondest wishes is that such places will be protected and preserved for those who will follow us.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

  19. These are gorgeous captures! I really like the bee and the raindrops. I just love the first photo.

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    Comment by Anna — April 18, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

    • Thanks Anna. I don’t seem to be able to take enough photos of trilliums and their guests.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

  20. What a hidden treasure! Thank you for sharing it with us! The pictures with water droplets really captivated me.

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    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — April 18, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

    • The combination of pure rain water on pure wildflowers in wild country is something wonderful to me. I wish everyone could experience it for themselves.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

  21. Well how fortunate it is for us (I offer selfishly) that you are one of the few who makes the venture up into that steep canyon trail. Beautiful photos…. Thank you, Montucky. 🙂

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    Comment by seekraz — April 18, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

    • Thanks Scott! Places like that are treasures of this world and it is a privilege to be able to visit there. It provides a perspective that is getting more and more rare in today’s world.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

  22. The kind of place you have described can teach us what the word breathtaking really means. I can imagine what a joy just being there is.

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    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — April 18, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

    • The joy of being in places like that is just about impossible to describe. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the feel of the breeze and the mist, the cold air…

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

  23. Hi Montucky, Thank you for sharing the views of the blossoms with us. I think these flowers are special and worth your effort to hike to see them. Have a wonderful Thursday tomorrow!

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    Comment by wildlifewatcher — April 18, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

  24. As usual, your macro photography skills just blow me away. Wow. I especially liked that last one.

    Like

    Comment by jomegat — April 18, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

    • Thanks! That bee was either very patient or very cold, perhaps both. He tolerated my lens about four inches from him.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

  25. You’re so lucky to have nature put on a private show for you. Those dew drops look so pretty on the trillium.

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    Comment by Candace — April 18, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

    • Lucky indeed, Candace! It’s getting to the time of year when I want to spend every moment out in the mountains and the forest.

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      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  26. I love your trilliums but the bluebells are incredible also.

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    Comment by Tammy — April 19, 2012 @ 8:49 am

  27. What a stunning series of images, the first one with the single raindrop is just exquisite. I’ve never seen trilliums before but they’ve reared their lovely heads in several blog posts in the last few weeks. Thanks for sharing these.

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    Comment by Finn Holding — April 19, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

  28. Wow, now that’s a great group of photos! Your bluebells are really really blue… ours are pale pink and blue shades. I like your better. 🙂

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    Comment by kcjewel — April 19, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

    • Thanks! They seem a little more colorful this year, perhaps because they have seen very little sun.

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      Comment by montucky — April 19, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

  29. Awesome series Terry. I am happy that You seek from Your nature wonders to be presented to us. Thank You.

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    Comment by Sartenada — April 19, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

    • Thanks Matti! I’m very pleased that you like the flowers!

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      Comment by montucky — April 20, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

  30. I believe trilliums – individual plants that is – do not flower every year. So some years have an abundance and others, not so much.

    I think your special trillium place exists because of the brush that protects it from the deer, who eat my trilliums down to the ground if I don’t put chicken wire fencing around them. Thanks for the photos. Can we look forward to a pink one, too?

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    Comment by Anonymous — April 20, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

    • Not sure why that came up as anonymous. Trying again.

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      Comment by Anonymous — April 20, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    • I’m sure the brush helps, but I find very little deer sign in that canyon, perhaps because there are so many excellent ambush places there. Yes, I will try to catch one when it turns pink. I don’t understand the “anonymous ” situation either, Kim. When you comment though, WordPress sends me an email and your name comes through there just fine.

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      Comment by montucky — April 20, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

  31. still anonymous, though I’m not trying to be.
    Kim

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    Comment by Kim — April 20, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  32. an amazing tradition!

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    Comment by skouba — April 20, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    • One that I really look forward to! I wonder how many more years…

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      Comment by montucky — April 20, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

  33. All so lovely, that last macro, gorgeous detail!

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    Comment by bayphotosbydonna — April 23, 2012 @ 9:50 am

  34. Exquisite pictures ! Very happy to be back in your gorgeous nature.

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    Comment by isathreadsoflife — April 24, 2012 @ 5:44 am

  35. Stunning photos–the details you captured are amazing. Love the bumble bee and the rain drops.

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    Comment by kateri — April 25, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

    • The drops were left from a rain during the previous night, and the bees were just drying out. I found one that was just soggy!

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      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

  36. Trilliums are very photogenic! Excellent shots 🙂

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    Comment by Watching Seasons — April 26, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

    • Every year I take a whole bunch more trillium photos. One just can’t get enough, you know!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2012 @ 8:08 pm


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