Montana Outdoors

May 10, 2013

Spring Beauties

Having not encountered any of these in my wanderings in the valley this spring, I feared that I had missed seeing them this year…

Lanceleaf Springbeauty

Lanceleaf Springbeauty

Lanceleaf Springbeauty

Lanceleaf Springbeauty, Claytonia lanceolata

but here they are, growing next to snowbanks where they like it most,

Big Hole LO trail

Big Hole Lookout trail

and as usual, these are blooming along with them.

Glacer Lily, Avalanche Lily

Glacier Lily, Avalanche Lily, Erythronium grandiflorum


  1. Those lanceleaf flowers look like they’ve been painted with silver. So delicate too.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — May 10, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

    • They are quite small and delicate, although they can withstand some pretty cold temperatures. I really don’t know what causes that sheen to the petals.


      Comment by montucky — May 11, 2013 @ 10:09 pm

  2. I just love seeing your photos. The Lanceleaf Springbeauty is exquisite, and it’s fascinating to see its habitat, so close to the lying snow. The erythronium too is beautiful – we have some coming out in our garden (imported variety)!


    Comment by Jo Woolf — May 11, 2013 @ 12:57 am

    • The flowers in this post are blooming at about 5500 feet on a ridge where most but not all of the snow has melted just recently. There are thousands of them along the ridge top up to where there is still deep snow over the ridge. I remember when I first encountered them years ago it was in just such a place too.


      Comment by montucky — May 11, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

  3. Our spring beauties grow alonside our trout lilies too. Many plants seem late this year, even though we’ve had early warmth. I’m glad you found them-it wouldn’t be spring without spring beauties.


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — May 11, 2013 @ 5:59 am

    • The plants here have suddenly caught up to their usual blooming times now that we have had a couple of days with temperatures in the 80’s. The shrubbery has begun to bloom now and there are big white patches on the hillsides with bright orange splashes from the Arrowleaf Balsamroots.


      Comment by montucky — May 11, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

  4. That fear is one that I know well. For me it usually strikes with pipsissewa. Spring beauty is one of those plants that I recognize immediately when I see a photo, though I have never come across a plant in person.


    Comment by jomegat — May 11, 2013 @ 5:59 am

    • I also have that feeling about pipsissewa every year. I would really miss them! Here though they are plentiful along some of the higher trails that I frequent in late summer when the snow has melted enough to make them hike-able so I’m almost sure to find some.


      Comment by montucky — May 11, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

  5. The wonders of nature are glorious!


    Comment by Debby — May 11, 2013 @ 8:59 am

    • They sure are! The frightening thing is that the natural world is very complex in its various balances and we impact much of it with very little knowledge of what that causes. As Chief Seattle of the Duwamish said about 160 years ago:
      “Humankind has not woven the web of life.
      We are but one thread within it.
      Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
      All things are bound together.
      All things connect.”


      Comment by montucky — May 11, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

  6. Those little white ones are so delicate.


    Comment by Tammy — May 11, 2013 @ 11:37 am

    • Yes, they are. They grow in great abundance in some places, but they are so small I haven’t been able to get a decent photo of those places (they just don’t show up).


      Comment by montucky — May 11, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

  7. The spring beauties have not blossomed here yet. We do have dogtooth violet, wild oats, and hobblebush now, red trillium is passing, and jack-in-the-pulpits are just eeking the heads through the soil. Lovely photos here.


    Comment by WildBill — May 11, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

    • Here the summer flowers are beginning to bloom, lots of them now that we have had some very warm days and there will not likely be more deep snowfall until fall.


      Comment by montucky — May 11, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

  8. Lanceleaf Springbeauty–some flowers have the most descriptive names and others just drab names. These little spring beauties are so delicate, sparkly, and colorful. I like the lighting on the Glacier Lily.


    Comment by Candace — May 11, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

    • Yes, some flowers have very descriptive and flattering common names while others just don’t. The saving grace is though that “common names” are just that and vary greatly geographically. I guess we can choose to use the one we like best. I usually use a reference book published in British Columbia, a web site at the University of Washington and the USDA website. The USDA recognizes only one common name generally, while the other two often list several. The locals in this area often use something entirely different.


      Comment by montucky — May 11, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

  9. Wow. They are the very picture of beauty… love those little pink tipped stamens


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — May 11, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

    • They are indeed unique blossoms. I can’t think of another with pink stamens. Were they larger, they would be in just about every flower bed in the country.


      Comment by montucky — May 11, 2013 @ 10:43 pm

  10. I like the veins in the Lanceleaf Springbeauty – very much like those in our pink evening primrose. Lovely!


    Comment by shoreacres — May 11, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

    • They really are lovely little blossoms. I think too that their blooming right up next to snow banks is an endearing trait although I don’t quite understand the strategy in that unless it’s just a guarantee of having plenty of water at the right time.


      Comment by montucky — May 11, 2013 @ 10:53 pm

  11. your photos are wonderful…


    Comment by Stefania — May 12, 2013 @ 7:27 am

  12. Beautiful photos, Terry…the earth is waking again for us….


    Comment by seekraz — May 12, 2013 @ 11:05 am

    • Yes, and summer is coming quickly now. There are lots of summer flowers now in bloom here and we are expecting thunderstorms over the next few days.


      Comment by montucky — May 12, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

      • And so the cycle goes. We had some minor thunderstorms the other day…could have lasted longer.


        Comment by seekraz — May 12, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

  13. I love those delicate looking petals, but I know these little plants must be super hardy to grow where they do!


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — May 15, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

    • They certainly are. Today I saw more of them just starting to bloom next to deep snowbanks at 6000 feet. I was surprised to see yellow violets blooming right along with them!


      Comment by montucky — May 15, 2013 @ 10:08 pm

  14. Great photos. My favorite is the last one – Glacier Lily.


    Comment by Sartenada — May 17, 2013 @ 12:40 am

    • That was one of my Mother’s favorite flowers. She always looked forward to seeing them in bloom.


      Comment by montucky — May 17, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

  15. Wonderful shots! They are beautiful, aren’t they 😉


    Comment by tstou10 — September 10, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

    • Thanks! Yes, they are well named. These were growing in the Cabinet Mountains here in western Montana at an elevation of about 5500 feet. They are very plentiful here.


      Comment by montucky — September 11, 2013 @ 10:19 pm

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