Montana Outdoors

May 1, 2012

Three whites and a purple

With the exception of the Larkspur, the last flowers I observed blooming in April were white.

Saskatoon, Serviceberry

Saskatoon, Serviceberry, Amelanchier alnifolia

Saskatoon, Serviceberry

Saskatoon, Serviceberry, Amelanchier alnifolia

Upland Larkspur

Upland Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum

Upland Larkspur

Upland Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum

Meadow Death-camas

Meadow Death-camas, Zigadenus venenosus

Meadow Death-camas

Meadow Death-camas, Zigadenus venenosus

Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana

Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana

Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana

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28 Comments »

  1. OK. Yet another reason not to play Euell Gibbons out there in the fields, unless you really know what you’re doing. I was curious about the name “death camas”. Good grief – that’s one bad dude of a plant! The serviceberry has an interesting name, too. I hope it’s named after the poet Robert Service, but I suppose not. 😉

    Like

    Comment by shoreacres — May 1, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

    • The death camas is indeed a bad dude! The bulbs of common or blue camas (which hasn’t begun to bloom yet) was a very important food source for the Indians who were native to this area and they closely resemble the bulbs of the death camas. The Indians were eventually smart enough to harvest the blue camas bulbs only when they were blooming! There is a meadow about 50 miles from here that turns almost completely blue when the blue camas is in bloom: There were wars fought among the early tribes for harvesting rights on such meadows.

      Service berry, on the other hand, is a great berry for eating; my all-time favorite. They are sweet and juicy and plentiful in late summer, although you may have to convince a bear or two that you have rights to them too. To be fully appreciated, put a whole hand full in your mouth at once and get a big flood of flavor. Many times they have made a complete meal for me and they are good dried as well. I’ve never figured out how they got that name though. I like their other name, “Saskatoon” which the Canadians use more than we in the US and I think it originates from a shortened version of the Blackfoot name for the bush, mis-ask-a-tomina.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 1, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

  2. Amazing photos of these beautiful plants. The larkspur is such a beautiful colour. The Death Camas is interesting – especially from reading the previous comment.

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    Comment by Jo Woolf — May 2, 2012 @ 1:23 am

    • There is an interesting variety blooming now; most are very pretty.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  3. I am envious of you Spring flowers. Raining here most of the week … hoping our flowers will decide to bloom this weekend. Thanks for the added interesting facts about your flowers …

    Like

    Comment by bearyweather — May 2, 2012 @ 2:41 am

    • It has been raining here too, not a lot but frequently. I guess the flowers decided to bloom anyway. Actually, I prefer the cool temperatures and enjoy hiking and photographing wildflowers in the rain. I take a lot of “umbrella” shots!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

  4. The meadows of Montana must be spectacular at the moment. Blue and purple are my favourite colours for buterflies and flowers and your larkspur is a real beauty.

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    Comment by Finn Holding — May 2, 2012 @ 4:20 am

    • The meadows and the forests too, especially the canyons along the streams. Every time I go out I see several new species in bloom.

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      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

  5. That death camas a gorgeous in spite of it’s name.

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    Comment by Roberta — May 2, 2012 @ 6:26 am

    • Yes, it is pretty. It’s also large enough to see quite easily.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

  6. Gorgeous captures! And what about those names, lol. Such nice detail Ken! I especially love the wild strawberry photo with the blue flowers faded in the background. 🙂

    Like

    Comment by bayphotosbydonna — May 2, 2012 @ 7:01 am

    • I liked the little strawberry blossom right in with the Blue-eyed Marys too. I find the names interesting. Puzzling usually, but interesting.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

  7. I looked up the death camas too because I hadn’t heard of it. It’s a mean one for sure, but people who eat wild plants should be 110% sure of what they’re eating. There are several stories about how the name “serviceberry” came to be, but the one told most frequently is that it blooms at the time of Easter services. I love the color of that larkspur!

    Like

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — May 2, 2012 @ 7:19 am

    • Yes, there are a lot of poisonous plants out there. I’m not a great one for eating wild plants other than berries and I know all of them. Also two mushrooms, the giant puffball and the morel. (I’m really looking forward to them again… yum!)

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

  8. Gorgeous photos of some beautiful plants!!! I also enjoyed the interesting comments!

    Like

    Comment by dhphotosite — May 2, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

    • Thanks! I really enjoy the comments too. Always some good thoughts and information!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  9. The inside of that upland larkspur is fascinating.

    Like

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — May 2, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    • You know, I’ve seen Larkspur for decades but this is the first time I’ve seen that stage of it, and then only from the photos. Always something new!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

  10. Love the serviceberry flowers. We have a wild Amelanchier that is very similar to your service berry, but the flowers arent as showy–and then there is a domestic one that I freqently see in landscaping, which has much nicer berries and flowers than our wild one. People plant it for ornamental purposes, not the berries, but I’ve picked several quarts of the berries and they are very good, similar to the ones you are describing.

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    Comment by kateri — May 2, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

    • Serviceberries are my favorite berries. I like them even more than the coveted huckleberries. This year I plan to pick a whole bunch of them and dry them to use in a pemmican with dried venison. When they bloom, the mountainsides are dotted with their splashes of white, then a little late the mock orange blossoms do the same thing. It’s very pretty.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

  11. Very pretty!

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    Comment by Roberta — May 2, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

    • Yes, there are so many really pretty and unusual wildflowers. I really love this time of year!

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      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

  12. Interesting about the death-camas. Too bad because they’re quite attractive. And I never heard of serviceberry before, how interesting that they are so good yet unknown to so many.

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    Comment by Candace — May 2, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

    • There are two species of serviceberry in Arizona, but I can’t remember seeing them there. North of the Rim I’d guess.

      Years ago on an elk hunt in Colorado I stopped my horse so I could feast on some serviceberries. I was astounded that my guide didn’t know what they were! ˆguess they get overlooked.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 2, 2012 @ 11:59 pm

  13. All Your photos are so beautiful, but in this case my attention was captured with Amelanchier alnifolia (2 first photos). In our small garden we have these two species:

    Amelanchier spicata and Amelanchier laevis. Amelanchier spicata is right in front of my eyes.

    Like

    Comment by Sartenada — May 4, 2012 @ 3:36 am

    • Amelanchier spicata looks very similar to alnifolia. I can see why they are very popular plants.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 4, 2012 @ 9:52 pm

  14. The hillsides are frothy white with serviceberry in Missoula, but in our neck of the woods they have just begun to begin to bloom! Interesting how pretty the flowers are up close.

    Like

    Comment by Kim — May 4, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

    • They are blooming just about everywhere around here too, but just starting at the higher elevations.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — May 4, 2012 @ 9:53 pm


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