Montana Outdoors

April 16, 2014

A small Trillium celebration

On April 18, 2008 while hiking the Munson Creek trail in the TeePee/Spring Creek roadless area, about 2 miles from the trailhead I encountered the largest bloom of trilliums that I’ve ever seen. On April 18 of every year since, I have visited that same place to celebrate the beautiful annual bloom of trilliums. It is sad this year for me to realize that I am not up to that steep hike, not yet, and so today I had a small trillium celebration and photo session not very far up from the trail head where there are several dozen blooming near the footbridge over the creek.

Western White Trillium, Pacific Trillium ~ Trillium ovatum

Western White trillium, Pacific Trillium

Western White trillium, Pacific Trillium

Western White trillium, Pacific Trillium

Western White trillium, Pacific Trillium

Western White trillium, Pacific Trillium

Western White trillium, Pacific Trillium


  1. Beautiful photos and many blessings, Ellen

    Comment by Ellen Grace Olinger — April 16, 2014 @ 4:22 pm

  2. I’m not crazy about the little white spider but it’s a good photo of it. Funny that you should choose trilliums for your post today. Last week, I was weeding around a hedge at the edge of our yard and noticing that the trilliums are out. It’s natural ground just outside our property on one side and there are always trilliums there….trilliums of them. (Well, maybe not trilliums of them, but quite a few.) They’re a beautiful plant and your photos show that very well.

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — April 16, 2014 @ 4:31 pm

    • That little white spider is a crab spider, possibly Misumena vatia. It can change its color like a chameleon, but its range is limited to white-yellow. I’ve seen them on goldenrod and strawberry blooms – sometimes not until after I got home and looked at the photo haul.

      Comment by jomegat — April 16, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

      • Through a summer I see the crab spiders on nearly every species of wildflower, although I don’t remember seeing them on orchids. Their yellow color is the most frequent. Five or six years ago we had one on some yellow tulips in our flower garden. He would hide behind the flower from the sun and sleep inside it at night. He stayed with us for several weeks.

        Comment by montucky — April 16, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

    • Thanks! Trilliums are one of my favorites, possibly because they represent the start of a large number of the early flowers that start their bloom about this time. THey are also very hardy little flowers!

      Comment by montucky — April 16, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

  3. It’s nice to see them. I hope getting down to get photos and then getting up again wasn’t too hard on your new knees though. We won’t see trilliums here for a while yet. We had an inch or so of snow last night and might see 20 degrees tonight.

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — April 16, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

    • We were in the low 20’s for a couple nights last week, and about 30 lately. Lots of new snow on the mountains above us. I’m getting more mobile and more used to unusual positions for photographing tiny flowers. It’s worth it though.

      Comment by montucky — April 16, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

  4. What a lovely flower.
    It must be frustrating that you can’t hike the trails and reach those higher, or more distant, places.

    I hope your physical fitness improves with time, but if may be that you have to make shorter trips for quite some time yet.

    In the meantime, like me, you might have to do photography and nature walks closer to home base.

    Comment by Vicki — April 16, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

    • Yes, it has been frustrating, but there is a regular progression of progress, so it’s just a matter of time. Last weekend I pushed to hard (at only 3 miles a day) and paid a price for it Monday. Today’s trillium trip wasn’t too bad; a 6 mile drive and a mile hike. I’m hoping that by the time the high elevation snowpack has mostly melted (in July) I’ll be capable of much more aggressive hikes.

      Comment by montucky — April 16, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

  5. Simply beautiful.

    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — April 16, 2014 @ 6:52 pm

    • Thanks Teresa. It is fun to refresh all of the little things it takes to photograph wildflowers. I’m very happy to be out again!

      Comment by montucky — April 16, 2014 @ 7:21 pm

  6. I saw some of these on a recent walk over at the coast but they weren’t blooming yet so thank you for capturing them in bloom. Simply beautiful.

    Comment by anniespickns — April 16, 2014 @ 7:14 pm

    • They are wonderful subjects to photograph. They seem to have so many different poses, and I always get carried away.

      Comment by montucky — April 16, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

  7. But it’s great that you were able to do a small hike and to find trilliums so, technically, you are still observing your tradition. Just a little detour this year.

    Comment by Candace — April 16, 2014 @ 8:27 pm

    • That’s true, Candace. I’ll take what I can get. The wildflowers are always so uplifting!

      Comment by montucky — April 16, 2014 @ 9:04 pm

  8. I’m sorry you didn’t feel up to going yet this year, but it’s something to look forward to next year. Beautiful photos.

    Comment by TheDailyClick — April 17, 2014 @ 5:13 am

    • Yes, I’m sure they will be there next year. There are many species of wildflowers along that trail throughout the summer and I do plan at some time to hike most of it.

      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

  9. It’s nice to know that you’re still getting out there, Terry, but don’t be so over-eager that you damage the repair or hurt yourself again. Beautiful photos, too. :)

    Comment by seekraz — April 17, 2014 @ 6:43 am

    • Thanks Scott. They tell me I really can’t do much to damage the knee, but I’ve found out how to over-do the hiking now and it makes me pay the next day. Another couple of months!

      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2014 @ 7:23 pm

      • It’s good to know that you can’t damage it, Terry…just be patient so you don’t have to pay too dearly. :)

        Comment by seekraz — April 18, 2014 @ 6:47 am

  10. Well, we’ll look at the bright side – at least, you are able to be out and about and on your feet. Thankful for that, I’m sure. And the trilliums gave you a little blessing for the day (and for us too). :-)

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — April 17, 2014 @ 8:10 am

    • Yes, I’m very thankful to be up and about. The knee itself seems to be perfect, but all of the associated systems around it haven’t gotten back into their routines yet. It’s been very interesting and extremely painful, but the end result will be well worth it.

      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2014 @ 7:25 pm

  11. I always feel as though spring is well and truly here when your trilliums arrive. And I love your tale of the spider that took up residence in your tulip. It’s really quite amazing to ponder how they make their livings in such small spaces. I think the fourth photo’s my favorite, for its view of the flower, but I did laugh when I got to the end and saw you’d given us a little lagniappe in the form of that spider.

    Comment by shoreacres — April 17, 2014 @ 10:57 am

    • Yes, trillium time is special for me. They have so many different looks to them. The insects that have such a close relationship with the flowers are fascinating to me, especially the little crab spiders. They are very frequent visitors and although I don’t know exactly how, they must serve the purpose of the plants somehow.

      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

  12. Hi Montucky, Lovely! I like that last picture where there is a small spider on the blossom. Have a great day!

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — April 17, 2014 @ 12:24 pm

    • Thanks! That was an especially pretty little spider I thought.

      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

  13. Very nice work Terry Trillium’s have always been one of my favorites !!

    Comment by Bernie Kasper — April 17, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

    • Thanks Bernie! I really like the trilliums too. I will see them later in the summer when they bloom up high too.

      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2014 @ 7:32 pm

  14. Ah, trilliums! There is little more lovely. We don’t have Pacific White Trilliums here but we do have red and showy trilliums. Nice, nice photos!

    Comment by WildBill — April 17, 2014 @ 5:12 pm

    • Thanks Bill. This is the only trillium species that in native here. I wish we had some of the showy ones. These blossoms will turn pink as they mature toward the end of their bloom. (It took me awhile to figure out that the color was a change in the blossom and not a different species.) They don’t get very red though.

      Comment by montucky — April 17, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

  15. This is a new acquaintance for me … I have never seen this beautiful flower before …
    I must ask , is it a little spider inside the flower in your last photo of this serie ? …
    I also would like to wish you and your family a happy Easter holiday ! … // Maria :)

    Comment by mariayarri — April 17, 2014 @ 8:44 pm

    • Yes, that is called a crab spider. It can change its color between white and yellow, taking about an hour to make the change. They can be seen frequently on many different wildflowers.

      Happy Easter to you too!

      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2014 @ 8:19 pm

  16. Excellent tradition to visit the place. Gorgeous photos.

    Comment by Sartenada — April 18, 2014 @ 3:54 am

    • I have been rather surprised at how the trilliums seem to keep to a rigid blooming schedule despite some dramatic differences in weather conditions.

      Comment by montucky — April 18, 2014 @ 8:18 pm

  17. Wow, these are so beautiful! I even (quite) like the crab spider, although I am not usually happy to see spiders! A beautiful spring show. It must be lovely in the mountains right now.

    Comment by Jo Woolf — April 19, 2014 @ 5:58 am

    • Yes, it’s getting pretty although things here are a few weeks behind usual. Last night the temp was in the 20’s (F) again. The snow is still very deep higher up.

      Comment by montucky — April 19, 2014 @ 7:36 am

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