Montana Outdoors

June 19, 2012

In a cedar forest (2)

Filed under: Spring Creek, Wildflowers — Tags: , , — montucky @ 9:29 pm

Spotted Coralroot, Corallorhiza maculata, Orchid family

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot

Spotted Coralroot

About a mile from the trail head at Spring Creek, these little orchids are just beginning to bloom. They are widespread and common at low to mid elevations in moist and wet climates in most of the U.S. and Canada, although I suspect they are often overlooked. They are listed as “of special concern”, “threatened” or “endangered” in 7 states.

Their genus Corallorhiza (the Coralroots) are saprophytic, deriving their nutriments from decaying organic material and do not have the chlorophyll used by most plants for food production. As with most saprophytes, they cannot be cultivated and because of their dependency on decaying matter, they may be abundant in one part of the forest one year and completely absent the next.

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June 18, 2012

In a cedar forest

Filed under: Spring Creek — Tags: , — montucky @ 9:06 pm

Devil's Club

Beneath the cedars

Beneath the cedars

Beneath the cedars

The very large leaves in these photos belong to a plant aptly called “Devil’s Club”, Oplopanax horridus; note the large sharp spines. It grows up to 9 feet tall and the leaves get up to 14 inches across. A flower bud is visible in the first photo: it will turn into white blossoms followed by bright red fruit. I will try to remember to follow up with photos of both later in the summer. I found there is a reason for the species name horridus after having accidentally making contact with some of the spines.

June 17, 2012

The trail ahead

Filed under: Spring Creek — Tags: — montucky @ 11:28 pm

Spring Creek trail

The Spring Creek trail (USFS trail 370) this afternoon, June 17, 2012 just before the rain.

June 16, 2012

Reflections

Filed under: Reflections — Tags: — montucky @ 8:59 pm

Thompson River itself was very pretty today, but the slough off to the side held reflections of the mountainside.

Along Thompson River

Along Thompson River

Along Thompson River

June 14, 2012

Visitors

Filed under: Animals — Tags: , — montucky @ 12:00 am

We often have animal visitors come to call and always enjoy seeing them. This Cottontail (I think it was him) stayed around here most of the winter, living I believe, under a deck of firewood logs in our canyon.

Cottontail

Cottontail

While fairly common in the high country (there is a mountain just north of there named after them), this is the first Yellow-bellied Marmot that has ever visited our yard. He liked the flowers.

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Yellow-bellied Marmot

June 12, 2012

“On moist outcroppings…”

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 11:00 pm

A few days ago on a short bike trip on a lightly traveled road along the river, some small specks of white caught my eye. They decorated an area of sharp cliffs that had a seep of water trickling down over them. I stopped and a closer look disclosed these pretty little blossoms of a species of saxifrage that I had never before encountered. (Just when you think you’ve seen them all.) My favorite plant book notes under Ecology: “Scattered at low to subalpine elevations mostly in wet Columbia Mountains on moist rock outcrops, damp soil and streambanks”.

Alaska saxifrage, Russethair saxifrage, Rusty saxifrage

Alaska saxifrage, Russethair saxifrage, Rusty saxifrage

Alaska saxifrage, Russethair saxifrage, Rusty saxifrage

Alaska saxifrage, Russethair saxifrage, Rusty saxifrage, Saxifraga ferruginea

(Found in Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Alberta, British Columbia and Northwest Territory)

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