Montana Outdoors

April 24, 2012

Now, back to the flowers

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , — montucky @ 10:55 pm

It appears that now the wildflowers in this area are beginning to bloom in earnest. I shall try to catch up!

Western Spring Beauty, Lanceleaf Springbeauty

Western Spring Beauty, Lanceleaf Springbeauty

Western Springbeauty or Lanceleaf Springbeauty, Claytonia lanceolata


  1. Gorgeous photos!


    Comment by Jo Woolf — April 25, 2012 @ 12:04 am

    • Thanks Jo. These seem especially nice this year, and many are larger than usual.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

  2. Such little beauties!
    I’m always amazed at how well you capture the shimmer of the petals.


    Comment by TheDailyClick — April 25, 2012 @ 2:52 am

    • I think they are well named. They are definitely early spring flowers: I’ve seen them bloom right next to banks of snow.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 9:24 pm

  3. I just can’t get over the variety in these flowers, and can’t help wondering – how, why did those little purple stripes evolve? What is it that brings such variety and intricacy into being? I know evolution is one answer, and all that goes with it, but I can’t help loving the thought of a Creator-of-all-that-is, sitting in the studio and beaming with pleasure that this little project worked. 😉


    Comment by shoreacres — April 25, 2012 @ 5:54 am

    • I wonder about such things a lot too. There are so many varieties that are dramatically different from the others. Many are very small, not ostentatious at all. They quietly live out their lives in remote out of the way places, yet I sense each serves a different and probably very important purpose. Our species prides itself on its knowledge and intelligence and yet we know so very little about the different elements of the natural world. Personally I do believe that these were intentionally created and I often feel a real closeness with their Creator, knowing that we both share a deep love for such living things.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

  4. I’ve never noticed our eastern spring beauties sparkling like these do. I like them. Great shots!


    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — April 25, 2012 @ 8:19 am

    • The sparkle on the petals in the first photo was probably brought out with the on-camera flash that I had to use because of a low-light condition. I use negative compensation on the flash (-.7EV for that photo), but it still brings out anything that tends to reflect well.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

  5. These are beauties! Would the flowers in your area be considered alpine?


    Comment by sandy — April 25, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    • Good question! I am not very knowledgeable in that area, but this species would not be considered an alpine species because it grows at quite low elevations (these were at about 2,800 feet). I haven’t studied it much, but I see a lot of disagreement about what is an alpine species and what isn’t. Some say that alpine plants are those which grow in the alpine climate region which is at high elevation and above the tree line. Strictly speaking, in this part of North America that would be above about 11,500 feet. Yet I have found flower species that are categorized as “Alpine” at elevations as low as 6,000 feet. Many of the peaks in northwestern Montana are in the range of 7,000 to 9,000 feet and yet still have no large tree growth on their tops and those areas do provide many of the aspects associated with “Alpine” species, such as high exposure to ultraviolet radiation, dryness, low average temperatures (especially in winter) exposure to cold wind, very short growing season, etc.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

  6. You have a wonderland right outside your door, Montucky, Lovely pictures.


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — April 25, 2012 @ 10:45 am

    • Yes, it certainly is that. I’m fortunate to have fairly close access to many different elevations and climate zones in country that is still wild and has not been altered too much by human intervention. I mostly frequent the back country in a swath of northwestern Montana about 50 miles in length by roughly 20 miles in width which is an area of about 1,000 square miles. Within that small area there are a huge number of different plant species. I sometimes think that is a large area, but it is only about 1/147th of the state of Montana.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

  7. They look like they’re made of glazed ceramic — so shiny!! Beautiful shots!


    Comment by allbymyself09 — April 25, 2012 @ 11:01 am

    • Yes they do have that look. I also think of the petals as silky too. They are structurally quite fragile, but biologically very hardy (if that makes any sense).


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

  8. Our spring beauty in the east is similar but with different foliage. How big is this flower? Beautiful photographs.


    Comment by Wild_Bill — April 25, 2012 @ 11:50 am

    • Most are low-growing, but some will get up to around 8 inches in height, particularly in tight cover such as under the taller foliage of antelope bush for example. The blossoms are usually around 1/4 inch in diameter, with some perhaps 3/8 inch.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  9. Springbeauty is certainly well named.


    Comment by knightofswords — April 25, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

    • It is! I remember the first time I encountered them. They were growing right next to some snowbanks at about 6,000 feet. Before I knew thei name, I thought of them as beautiful little flowers in very early spring.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

  10. I keep wanting to reach out and touch them! Beautiful!


    Comment by zannyro — April 25, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

    • Yes, they are beautiful little things. They are small enough though that, like so many wildflowers, it really takes some kind of magnification to appreciate them.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

  11. Hi Montucky, Very pretty little flowers. I like wildflowers a lot. Your pictures are always so nice to view. I like the pretty stripes on this flower. Have a great day tomorrow!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — April 25, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

  12. Beautiful. I’d love to see such a variety of wildflowers. Guess I’d have to get out of the city a little more.


    Comment by Candace — April 25, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

    • It’s getting harder and harder to get out of the city there now, isn’t it! I used to think it quite a drive to get away from the development when I lived there. Now it has spread so much further!


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  13. Ooh, very pretty. It is very similar to the spring beauties we have here. They are one of my favorite spring flowers.


    Comment by kateri — April 25, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

    • They are one of my favorites too. I’m happy to see that there is one or more species of them in just about all states.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

  14. Spring beauties are a plant that I know only from photos. They must be just everywhere, but I have yet to see them in person. One day…


    Comment by jomegat — April 25, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

    • They are flowers where timing is everything. I think they are often missed because they bloom so early and have a quite short blooming period. I now know about when and where to expect them, but before I figured that out there were years when I never did see them.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

  15. These are beautiful photos Montucky. The flowers are so delicate. It is just amazing the variety of plants in this world we live in…just waiting for us to enjoy!


    Comment by dhphotosite — April 26, 2012 @ 8:02 am

    • Yes, the variety is astounding. I enjoy the wildflowers so much!


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

  16. Great detail on the spring beauties!


    Comment by Watching Seasons — April 26, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

    • These were nice and fresh, just in the prime of the bloom.


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

  17. The pictures make me want to go out and search for flowers now. I know they’re out there, but I haven’t been tpo the right places yet.


    Comment by Ratty — April 26, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

    • I’m sure that there too there will be wildflowers appearing for the next few months. You never know what you will find!


      Comment by montucky — April 26, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

  18. Never seen them, but they are so beautiful. I love Your macros.


    Comment by Sartenada — April 27, 2012 @ 12:01 am

  19. We had them in Wisconsin, too, but they neverl ooked so beautiful as your closeup photos! If only I could dial my eyes in like you dial your camera in.


    Comment by Kim — April 27, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    • The size of wildflowers is an enigma to me. Many are too small to see well (and grow so closely to the ground) with the un-aided eye. I missed out on much of their beauty for years, and now I am very grateful for the state of digital photography and good lenses! I’m very happy when I can get a photo that really shows the beauty of the flower.


      Comment by montucky — April 27, 2012 @ 10:47 pm

      • Do you have any advice for one shopping for a digital camera who doesn’t want a large SLR type camera, but more of a high quality point and shoot? Viewfinder is a plus.


        Comment by Kim — May 22, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

        • I really don’t, Kim. I know there are lots of really good ones out there, but I have no personal experience with any of them and haven’t kept up with that technology at all. I would probably look at the Nikon line myself. I’ve seen some very nice photos from one of their Coolpix models. One of the blogs I follow somewhat is done by a young guy who lives in Romania. I have been quite impressed with his photos and when I checked I found he uses a Coolpix although I don’t know which model. I was surprised!

          I am often very tempted to get something like that, but I just can’t bear the thought of not having my lenses, and I’m finally learning how to use my D80. Still, 7 pounds of camera and lenses on a long mountain trail…


          Comment by montucky — May 22, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

          • Thanks for your thoughts, Montucky. I’ve also heard good things about Panasonic Lumix cameras.


            Comment by Kim — May 23, 2012 @ 6:11 am

  20. Beautiful flowers. I’m looking forward to exploring the Montana flora here at ‘Montana Outdoors’.


    Comment by Finn Holding — April 28, 2012 @ 3:13 am

    • The wildflowers are getting a start. now. New species will begin blooming every few days for weeks ahead. I hope I will be able to encounter most of them this season.


      Comment by montucky — April 28, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

  21. The petals are so broad! very different from plants in the Pacific Northwest


    Comment by tstou10 — September 10, 2013 @ 11:25 pm

    • I guess we are far enough inland to make a difference. Here we share a lot of our flora with British Columbia.


      Comment by montucky — September 11, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

      • that is awesome! I am actually doing my dissertation research on Claytonia lanceolata — it turns out to be a fascinating collecting of several look-a-like species! Your pictures might actually represent the REAL C. lanceolata, haha. Great shots!


        Comment by tstou10 — February 24, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

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