Montana Outdoors

May 12, 2013

May wildflowers

After the late arrival of warm weather, the wildflowers in this part of Western Montana have been hurrying to catch up with spring. Here are more that have started blooming in May:

Miner's Lettuce

Miner’s Lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata



Western Blue Clematis

Western Blue Clematis, Clematis occidentalis

Heart-leaf Arnica

Heart-leaf Arnica , Arnica cordifolia

Fairy Slipper, Calypso Orchid

Fairy Slipper, Calypso Orchid , Calypso bulbosa

Falsebox, Mountain Boxwood, Oregon Boxwood

Falsebox, Mountain Boxwood, Oregon Boxwood, Paxistma myrsinites

Blue-eyed Mary

Blue-eyed Mary, Collinsia parviflora

Yellow Wood Violet

Yellow Wood Violet, Viola glabella

Arrow-leaved Balsamroot

Arrow-leaved Balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata

Arrow-leaved Balsamroot

Arrow-leaved Balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata

Serviceberry, Saskatoon

Serviceberry, Saskatoon, Amelanchier alnifolia

antelope bitterbrush, antelope-brush

Antelope Bitterbrush, Antelope-brush, Purshia tridentata

antelope bitterbrush, antelope-brush

Antelope Bitterbrush, Antelope-brush, Purshia tridentata

sticky purple geranium, sticky geranium

Sticky Purple Geranium, Sticky Geranium, Geranium viscosissimum

woolly groundsel

Woolly Groundsel, Packera cana

ground ivy

Ground Ivy, Glechoma hederacea

largeflower triteleia

Largeflower Triteleia, Triteleia grandiflora

meadow death camas, common death camas

Meadow Death Camas, Common Death Camas, Zigadenus venenosus

small-flowered woodland-star, small-flowered prairie-star

Small-flowered Woodland-star, Small-flowered Prairie-star, Lithophragma parviflorum

holly-leaf Oregon-grape, shining Oregongrape, tall Oregongrape

Holly-leaf Oregon-grape, Shining Oregongrape, Tall Oregongrape, Berberis aquifolium

Unknown shrub

Unknown shrub

woolly groundsel

Common Hawkweed, Hieracium lachenalii

two-lobe larkspur, upland larkspur

Two-lobe Larkspur, Upland Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum


  1. What a haul! The balsamroot sure looks like some of the sunflowers we have here, but those won’t bloom until mid-summer.


    Comment by jomegat — May 12, 2013 @ 8:17 pm

    • You would like the balsamroot. All parts of it are edible and it is large enough and plentiful enough to be a major food source as it was for some of the Indians in this area.


      Comment by montucky — May 12, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

  2. Nice selection…almost all my favorites are in this giant batch.


    Comment by knightofswords — May 12, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

    • Each spring I find the procession of flowers to be impressive. When they start, the forests seem to just explode with various blossoms. They have become familiar as old friends.


      Comment by montucky — May 12, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

  3. Hi Montucky, Thanks for the Mother’s Day flower photographs – a virtual bouquet. Have a great coming week!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — May 12, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the bouquet! When I was a child, my mother always had a wildflower bouquet for Mother’s Day.


      Comment by montucky — May 12, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

  4. That must have been quite a job to identify them all. I love the intense blue of the larkspur, and the design of it too. Beautiful.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — May 12, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

    • I have been able to remember most of the names now, but there still a few that escape me. I have a set on Flickr that contains about a thousand photos and it serves as a reminder for me sometimes as well.

      Larkspur is an interesting blossom. The petals have the visual texture of velvet. It is poisonous to cattle though and very toxic to humans as well.


      Comment by montucky — May 12, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

      • I’ll be sure to admire larkspur with my eyes and not my mouth.
        Your photos are excellent.


        Comment by wordsfromanneli — May 13, 2013 @ 12:12 am

  5. Amazing, beautiful, your photos are terrific. Thank you for sharing your spring.


    Comment by Charlie@Seattle Trekker — May 12, 2013 @ 9:12 pm

    • Thank you Charlie. I have been able to find over 200 species of wildflowers in just the small area here of about a thousand square miles that my wanderings take me through and I know I have missed finding many more. The intricacies of life in the natural parts of our planet are mind-boggling!


      Comment by montucky — May 12, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

  6. Wow, those are just exquisite – it looks as if summer is coming fast on the heels of spring. The larkspur and the orchid are especially beautiful.


    Comment by Jo Woolf — May 13, 2013 @ 1:40 am

    • Suddenly everything has started to bloom. Today however I hiked a trail above 6500 feet and gave up because of the snow depth. There were only Springbeauties blooming up there.


      Comment by montucky — May 13, 2013 @ 8:27 pm

      • It sounds the most beautiful experience, being up there in spring.


        Comment by Jo Woolf — May 14, 2013 @ 12:28 am

  7. Lovely pictures, isn’t it great to see these little wonders emerging once the warm sun finds them? Looks like you’ve had a slow start to spring just like us. It’s still unseasonally cold here. Good job identifying all the species, I can see that you enjoy it a lot, thanks for sharing πŸ™‚


    Comment by Mike Howe — May 13, 2013 @ 2:28 am

    • Thanks Mike. Yes, I get a lot of enjoyment from the wildflowers. They are amazing. We are fortunate here that we have a big variety of elevations. The valley where I live is at about 2400 feet and it is surrounded by mountains that are just over 7000 feet. That enables more of a variety of plant life and climate. It was about 80 in the valley today but in the 50’s up where I was hiking.


      Comment by montucky — May 13, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

  8. So many, and a nice series of photos.


    Comment by bentehaarstad — May 13, 2013 @ 3:22 am

  9. These are all very beautiful, and almost all are unknown here. I especially like the orchid and antelope brush.


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — May 13, 2013 @ 4:42 am

    • I was very surprised when I discovered that we have half a dozen species of wild orchids here and I love every one! The antelope bush looks much like sagebrush, but it is a very important food source for deer, elk, moose and sheep in the winter when the snow is deep. The pretty blossoms are a plus.


      Comment by montucky — May 13, 2013 @ 8:34 pm

  10. So many delights here! I smiled to see the name Balsamorhiza sagittata – a reminder of the constellation Sagittarius. And I like the asymmetry of the small-flowered woodland star. As for color, the subtlety of the green background for the Meadow Death Camas is lovely. I’ll not even presume to name a favorite!


    Comment by shoreacres — May 13, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    • It is difficult for me to pick a favorite too. Each is unique with its own beauty. It is sufficient for me to have a different “favorite” blooming at different times as the seasons progress.


      Comment by montucky — May 13, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

  11. These are divine. The Large-flower Triteleia is otherworldly, hanging there in mid-air, and the “Unknown,” those little fuzzy pods, with all that beauty ready to emergy, is just stunning. The larkspur at the bottom looks ready for the prom … gorgeous dress she’s wearing… πŸ™‚ They are all so beautiful. What a world we live in…


    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — May 13, 2013 @ 9:01 am

    • I’ve found wildflowers to be a fascination all by themselves. There are so many species and so many differences in their structures and strategies. And of course I have to always wonder “why”.


      Comment by montucky — May 13, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

  12. Absolutely stunning! I love some of those names, too. πŸ™‚ That last Larkspur is just magnificent, its coloring.


    Comment by FeyGirl — May 13, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

    • Wildflowers are typically very small and I think often overlooked because of that. Now with the cameras and lenses that we have these days I think they will gain more well-deserved attention. Most are very beautiful.


      Comment by montucky — May 13, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

  13. Wow, a riot of color and beauty and scents, I’m sure…all of a sudden.


    Comment by Candace — May 13, 2013 @ 10:34 pm

    • There was a lot of pent-up energy there awaiting the signal from the weather. Amazing how quickly things can happen in nature!


      Comment by montucky — May 14, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

  14. Wow, so many beautiful flowers to enjoy! Really wonderful photos πŸ™‚


    Comment by The Lonely Dogs — May 13, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

    • These are just the start of the summer’s wildflowers. What a planet, this!


      Comment by montucky — May 14, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

  15. Lovely images!!


    Comment by Fergiemoto — May 14, 2013 @ 6:31 pm

  16. I’m glad to see you’re having a floral profusion now too. Except for the Zigadenus and the Packera, I’d be a stranger in a strange land there, even if we’re in the same country.


    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — May 14, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

    • I’ve often thought that too. The flora and the fauna are very finely tuned to the various climates and ecologies of the earth. I sure hate to see us interrupt that!


      Comment by montucky — May 14, 2013 @ 10:27 pm

  17. Wow! That was like a spectacular book of wildflowers! Loved it!!


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — May 15, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

    • Lots of species began to bloom in the last week. What a few warm days can do! The bloom will slow down a little now with more seasonal cool weather and a little rain coming up.


      Comment by montucky — May 15, 2013 @ 10:14 pm

  18. An astounding assortment of wild flowers here, my goodness, this is like heaven!


    Comment by WildBill — May 15, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

    • When I was a kid, I was aware of perhaps a dozen species of wildflowers and keenly appreciated all of those. Perhaps because now I walk slower I have found hundreds more and to my surprise I see new species every year! This is quite a planet that we call home!


      Comment by montucky — May 15, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

  19. What a wonderful set of beautiful flowers. There were many unknown but some which I have seen here. In our previous home we had Amelanchier alnifolia.


    Comment by Sartenada — May 17, 2013 @ 12:38 am

    • I am always happy when the wildflowers start to bloom and a lot of them started at about the same time.


      Comment by montucky — May 17, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

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