Montana Outdoors

July 8, 2013

It’s getting along toward that time of the season

Last Saturday there some shrubs along the trail with pairs of red berries; Utah Honeysuckle. Then today as I was enjoying some Serviceberries (my favorite wild fruit) I noticed the seed head of a Goat’s Beard, and I realized that it is already getting into the mature time of the season.

Utah honeysuckle, Rocky Mountain honeysuckle

Utah Honeysuckle

Utah Honeysuckle, Lonicera utahensis

Yellow Salsify, Goat's Beard

Yellow Salsify, Goat's Beard,

Yellow Salsify, Goat’s Beard, Tragopogon dubius

Saskatoon, Serviceberry

Saskatoon, Serviceberry

Saskatoon, Serviceberry, Amelanchier alnifolia


  1. Those serviceberries look like they can almost be plucked out of the photograph and turned into a pie.



    Comment by knightofswords — July 8, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

    • Those will be mostly gone tomorrow. I love serviceberries. Never tried them in a pie though, but I don’t know why not except maybe because they have a lot of little seeds and a very light flavor. I’ve eaten several pounds of them already.


      Comment by montucky — July 8, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

  2. I’ve heard bears are fond of blueberries, so I suspect they’d like those serviceberries, too. The goat’s beard is beautiful – it reminds me of the fireworks we’ve just seen! It’s hard to imagine you’re talking about the season maturing already, but we are heading toward mid-July. Here, the strawberries and blackberries are done, the figs are just in and the tomatoes. It’s the best time of the year for eating, that’s for sure.


    Comment by shoreacres — July 8, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

    • Serviceberries are a staple for the bears while they last, along with huckleberries and chokecherries. The bears will start gaining weight now that the berries are starting to ripen.
      The wild plants are maturing quickly now, but our garden has just begun. Mother Nature knows a lot more about planting than we do!


      Comment by montucky — July 8, 2013 @ 9:36 pm

  3. great pictures as always.thanks for sharing.


    Comment by Anonymous — July 8, 2013 @ 9:21 pm

  4. That photo of the Saskatoon berries could have been taken in my backyard. I didn’t know they were called service berries too. We used to eat tons of Saskatoon berries when we were kids living in northern BC.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — July 8, 2013 @ 10:16 pm

    • I have lots of them in my back yard too. Here they are known only as “Serviceberries”; you would get a very strange look if you called them Saskatoons. This year is a wonderful year for them. The bushes are loaded and the berries are huge and juicy. We have tons of very happy bears around here!


      Comment by montucky — July 8, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

      • Those happy bears are enough to keep me away! They can have all the berries they want. Or maybe they should be called “bearies.”


        Comment by wordsfromanneli — July 9, 2013 @ 8:42 am

  5. Your Serviceberry look a little like our Swedish Blueberry … I wonder if they taste the same ? …
    This serie of photos is absolutely beautiful ! // Maria šŸ™‚


    Comment by mariayarri — July 8, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

    • These would not be very much like a blueberry. They are full of small seeds and have a very light flavor. I love them though.
      We do have a wild berry, the huckleberry, that is a close relative of the blueberry and would probably be close to your Swedish blueberries.


      Comment by montucky — July 8, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

  6. Superb photos, as always! I’ve never seen serviceberries, so that is very interesting. Can’t quite believe that the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ is already beginning! We’re getting some heat over here at the moment – temperatures reaching 29C in the south, and not far off here in Scotland.


    Comment by Jo Woolf — July 9, 2013 @ 12:49 am

    • We hit just a little over that here today and tomorrow’s forecast is for 35C.
      It seems like many of the berries are ripening several weeks earlier than normal. I brought back some beautiful, large, ripe huckleberries which are usually ready in late July and August. The good news is though that the berries are much larger and juicier than usual.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

  7. A very nice collection here, Montucky. šŸ™‚


    Comment by bentehaarstad — July 9, 2013 @ 3:50 am

    • Thanks Bente. They are a few that I was reminded about in the last couple of days.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

  8. We’re having a good year for berries, nuts and fruit here so it looks like all the critters will have full bellies going into winter. That’s always a good thing-it’s hard to watch in lean years.


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — July 9, 2013 @ 4:26 am

    • I’m always happy too when the wild critters are able to put on fat for the winter. The bears in particular because of their long winter sleep ahead.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

  9. I’m not familiar with service berries, they look like blueberries but I see where you said they don’t taste like them. Our blueberries bushes are full right now and I’m picking lots of them. We have them under cover to keep the critters out. The raspberries are starting to fruit but will take a little longer. I suspect they are what enticed the bear into our yard last year. This year the turkeys are after them. You mentioned huckleberries and choke cherries — yum! I haven’t seen any of those in a long, long time. My grandma and mom made huckleberry pie and choke cherry jelly when I was a kid. Sure do miss those!


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — July 9, 2013 @ 7:05 am

    • Service berries grow on bushes or small trees up to 15 feet tall and the berries will load the branches. They were a food staple for the original Indians in areas where they grow, eaten fresh or dried. When I was a young man they were lunch for me many days when I was out in the woods.

      Huckleberries are still treasured here for pies, ice cream, candy, syrup, etc. I like them but prefer chokecherries for the jelly and syrup we can make. We still have a dozen jars of jelly left from last year and some juice in the freezer as well. The chokecherry crop looks like it will be sparse this summer, but I’ll find some somewhere to make a couple of gallons of juice.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

  10. Summer is moving along quickly there. That fruit looks mighty appetizing.


    Comment by Sue — July 9, 2013 @ 10:23 am

    • Yes, and when wild berries ripen here it is a time of plenty for all of the birds and animals (including me). I’ve already eaten several pounds of Saskatoons!


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

  11. Please say it isn’t so … where has the summer gone? Actually, summer just got here .. Spring was almost a month late. I still see flower blooms on the wild raspberries, so I think our harvest time is a few weeks off.


    Comment by bearyweather — July 9, 2013 @ 11:15 am

    • It’s a shock this year. I was just really enjoying Spring when Summer came crashing down. If I could change anything about this area it would be to take two months out of the middle of winter and put one into Spring and the other into Summer.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

  12. Harvest time in the mountains. Our berry and corn season is in full swing. Starwberries down, reaspberries and blackberries in season. Sweet corn becoming abundant in roadside markets. Hope your season is bountiful. Sure looks like it. šŸ™‚


    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — July 9, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

    • I think your area is much ahead of here even, Scott. Our corn will be a month away (at least). Raspberries haven’t even bloomed yet. It does look like the berry crop will be excellent though with the exception of chokecherries and they may have been affected by a late frost.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

  13. Your serviceberry evidently produces more fruit than ours to in the east. Loved the photo of the Utah honeysuckle! Wow!~


    Comment by WildBill — July 9, 2013 @ 2:30 pm

    • Yes, serviceberries have a lot of fruit here and they are just now starting to reach their prime. I will try to dry some this year for use in trail mix. I know the Indians used to dry them like raisins. (I really need to get to know some of the reservation folks better and learn how they do it!)


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

  14. Serviceberries supposedly grow in my neck of the woods, but I have not found any yet. I have misidentified other plants AS serviceberry, but that doesn’t count!


    Comment by jomegat — July 9, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

    • I hope you find some there. I know you’ll like them. Some folks don’t care for them because they have a lot of small seeds in them but that doesn’t bother me. I’ve found that the real trick to enjoying them is to put a whole large hand full in your mouth at once. That way you get a full flavor and lots of juice. Their flavor is very light, not strong at all, which is why they are seldom used for jelly or syrup. Strange too, that they appear almost identical to the berries on Black Hawthorn which have no taste at all.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

  15. Hi Montucky, Your pictures of the wildflowers are wonderful. I have never seen Service Berries before – they resemble Blueberries a little. Have a great Wed. tomorrow!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — July 9, 2013 @ 8:09 pm

    • Thanks wildlifewatcher! I wish you could try some because I know you would like them.


      Comment by montucky — July 9, 2013 @ 10:00 pm

  16. Beautiful images Terry, love the variety of nature you share with us !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — July 10, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

    • Thanks Bernie. There seems to be no end to the interesting things one can find in the back country!


      Comment by montucky — July 10, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

  17. H O N E Y S U C K L E, YUMMY! =)


    Comment by Tricia — July 10, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

    • We have several species of wild honeysuckle here. This one is a fairly good sized shrub.


      Comment by montucky — July 10, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

  18. I can almost taste those serviceberries (sarvis-berries:^) Happy to see that summer is in full swing in W MT. I always liked that flower: salsify. The monsoons have arrived in AZ much needed rain!


    Comment by twoscamps — July 10, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

    • I picked a few today and I’m going to try to make raisins out of them. Problem is, I can eat them as fast as I can pick them.

      When you’re through with that rain, send some our way. It’s overly hot and bone dry here right now.


      Comment by montucky — July 10, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

      • I hope you get some cooling rain soon! So far it’s been a hot summer everywhere in the west:^(


        Comment by twoscamps — July 10, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

        • It has! We have been lucky though that we haven’t had any fires in this area… so far. The forests at higher elevations seem to have a normal amount of moisture and might do alright.


          Comment by montucky — July 10, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

          • I really hope that Montana doesn’t have a bad fire season…. sending those rain clouds your way (it’s a downpour right now!)


            Comment by twoscamps — July 10, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

  19. Such a gorgeous time of year. Thanks for sharing your neck of the woods with us, just love learning about the plants.


    Comment by anniespickns — July 11, 2013 @ 7:52 am

    • I’m glad that you enjoy seeing it Annie. The plant world is a fascinating one. I understand only a tiny bit of it as do most people I suppose. I’m always in awe!


      Comment by montucky — July 11, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

  20. Beautiful Photos šŸ™‚


    Comment by lindasfoton — July 11, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

  21. Those honeysuckle berries almost glow? Are they edible, too?


    Comment by Candace — July 11, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

    • They are but I’ve never tried one. I will try the next one I see.


      Comment by montucky — July 11, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

  22. I never can praise enough Your photos. Among these photos there was one which stopped. I had to stare it for a long time due to its artistic look: “Tragopogon dubius” . What an art Mother Nature can create!


    Comment by Sartenada — July 11, 2013 @ 11:14 pm

    • I think it is awesome how the very functional structures of the natural plants can be accomplished with such art and beauty! This is indeed a world of great beauty.


      Comment by montucky — July 11, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

  23. Another great series. Love the edibles!


    Comment by dhphotosite — July 12, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

    • There was a mention on the news tonight that the bears are already feeding on the Saskatoons.


      Comment by montucky — July 12, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

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