Montana Outdoors

April 21, 2014

Mid-April arrivals

As the weather here has warmed a bit more toward a more normal April, more species of wildflowers have begun to appear. Here are a few more species making their appearance, including one that I have not before noticed or identified; another member of the Saxifrage family (sure wish these were larger).

Oregon grape

Oregon grape

Oregon grape ~ Berberis aquifolium

redstem stork's bill, common stork's bill

Redstem Stork’s bill, Common Stork’s Bill ~ Erodium cicutarium

Northern Biscuitroot

Northern Biscuitroot ~Lomatium farinosum

Shooting star

Shooting star ~ Dodecatheon pulchellum

Maiden blue eyed mary

Maiden blue eyed mary ~ Collinsia parviflora

Glacier Lily; Dogtoothed Violet

Glacier Lily ~ Erythronium grandiflorum

Nuttall's saxifrage

Nuttall’s saxifrage ~ Saxifraga nuttallii


  1. These are beautiful Terry. Looks like Spring has sprung in W MT! We saw our first horny toad today! Hope you are doing well.


    Comment by twoscamps — April 21, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

    • Thanks Maureen! Yes, spring is here, at least at the valley level. The snowpack is still deep though. The weather has been perfect for the snow pack, with warm days that melt the surface and cold nights that freeze it. It should be quite dense and should last well into late summer now. I’m doing a little better, thanks, but still have a few more months to work out all of the kinks.


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

      • Hope you work out those kinks by the time the snow pack is gone. I sure do miss Montana!


        Comment by twoscamps — April 21, 2014 @ 8:12 pm

        • I’m told that I am actually ahead of the recovery curve for knee replacements, but there are still several more months before I can hike well. At this point, only three miles a day makes me pay a price the following day.

          It’s getting very pretty here now. There is new green shades everywhere and just recently, specks of color are showing. The wildlife is recovering from what was a rather hard winter. I saw 5 drop-dead gorgeous mule deer last week and they were still dressed in their winter coats. They wintered very well! The sheep are changing into summer dress and are a ragged looking as usual this time of year. Haven’t seen a bear yet.


          Comment by montucky — April 21, 2014 @ 9:49 pm

  2. That’s a nice collection full of plants – all unknown to me. 😀


    Comment by jomegat — April 21, 2014 @ 7:55 pm

    • I find it interesting and a little puzzling how many species of plants are unique to some areas. I would think the climate that you have there is quite similar to ours and therefore would have many more of the same plants.


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2014 @ 8:02 pm

  3. Nature often does a better job than we could in our own gardens.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — April 21, 2014 @ 7:57 pm

    • Certainly the diversity! I have read about many species of wildflowers have such peculiar requirements that they can grow only in special areas and conditions. Millions of years of adaptations I guess.


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

      • Yes, really amazing. What I also like is the way some places are like a rock garden but no one planted it. The balance is perfect.


        Comment by wordsfromanneli — April 21, 2014 @ 9:37 pm

        • I see that so often in my wanderings through the roadless areas and the wilderness. Natural balance is the norm. Perhaps that’s why it is so comforting to be there.


          Comment by montucky — April 21, 2014 @ 9:41 pm

  4. Nice series.
    Glad to see you out and about outdoors.

    That first photo with the yellow flowers looks very much like the Mahonia species of which there are about 70 varieties……even down to the spiky ‘holly’ looking leaf.


    Comment by Vicki — April 21, 2014 @ 8:13 pm

    • It is also listed by some plant guides here as Mahonia aquafolium.


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2014 @ 9:43 pm

      • That’s it, Terry.

        M. aquafolium. I took a few photos early on in my photography hobby and actually made some Christmas cards one year with an image.

        They’re somewhere on my old Windows backup drive. Too hard to find. My old windows backup drive only has tiny thumbnails and it’s too hard to look for them now. I suppose I could take a guess and look in the 2010 dated folders, but no, I like your image better than mine.


        Comment by Vicki — April 22, 2014 @ 4:00 am

        • They make quite a show in this area, very plentiful. I’ve heard that the berries make excellent wine but I’ve never tried it.


          Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 6:52 am

  5. Reblogged this on Magic Moments and commented:
    If you like or live in Montana, you will love the outdoor pictures in this blog.


    Comment by Malcolm R. Campbell — April 21, 2014 @ 8:41 pm

  6. Hi Montucky, While all in this set of photographs are beautiful, the Glacier Lily is my favorite of the bunch. Have a fantastic day tomorrow!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — April 21, 2014 @ 9:46 pm

    • That’s one of the flowers that I remember very clearly from childhood because it was one of my mother’s favorites. She was always full of joy when they were blooming.


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2014 @ 9:53 pm

  7. Very nice shots, particularly the Glacier Lilly! My thoughts are the same as yours, it’s great to see wildflowers that aren’t typically found in your area.


    Comment by centralohionature — April 22, 2014 @ 4:20 am

    • Thanks! I love finding the new arrivals each spring; always have. Kind of like treasure hunting.


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 6:55 am

  8. It’s nice to see the wildflowers coming along after such a hard winter. Your glacier lily always reminds me to start looking for our trout lily, which could be its twin. I hope the knees are coming along well too.


    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — April 22, 2014 @ 4:33 am

    • I’ve never seen a trout lily and I’m puzzled at the small differences between it and the glacier lily and that they each grow in their own regions exclusively.


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 6:57 am

      • From what I’ve read, one difference is the foliage. On trout lilies it is mottled and on glacier lilies it isn’t. I think if you planted both in a garden they’d grow side by side without any problems. I’m not sure why one evolved mottled leaves and the other didn’t. It might have something to do with foraging animals.


        Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — April 22, 2014 @ 9:14 am

  9. Thank you for such beautiful wildflower pictures!


    Comment by Anonymous — April 22, 2014 @ 5:58 am

    • You are very welcome. I’m pleased that you enjoy seeing them!


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 6:57 am

  10. Yay, Spring! It’s finally arrived over here on this side of the country too. What a glorious sight after such a long winter.


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — April 22, 2014 @ 6:08 am

    • Yes, it’s sure good to see spring after the long hard winter we had. The whole natural world is celebrating!


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 7:00 am

  11. so amazing! Great job on finding and photographing this large array!


    Comment by C.C. — April 22, 2014 @ 7:28 am

    • Thanks! There are an incredible number of wildflower species in western Montana. In the small area through which I tend to roam I have identified about 200. It is a real joy to see them as they begin their spring and summer season!


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 8:29 pm

      • this makes me happy to hear – learning the flowers of your area – what life’s about


        Comment by C.C. — April 23, 2014 @ 8:59 am

        • Yes, seeing the new blossoms is like visiting old friends!


          Comment by montucky — April 23, 2014 @ 6:56 pm

  12. There seem to be quite a lot of wild flowers out in your area. Very brown still here.


    Comment by Sue — April 22, 2014 @ 7:51 am

    • Yes, there are lots of species starting to bloom now, and lots more will be blooming until into September.


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 8:31 pm

  13. Wonderfully crisp images, Terry…beautiful flowers, too.


    Comment by seekraz — April 22, 2014 @ 6:33 pm

    • Thanks Scott. I really enjoy finding and photographing wildflowers!


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 8:32 pm

  14. It tickles me that I remembered a couple of these before I read their names — the shooting star, and the glacier lily. It seems you’re having the same experience as many others around the country. Winter lingered, and now everything seems eager to bloom and grow. I do like the Biscuitroot. It reminds me of our prairie parsley.


    Comment by shoreacres — April 22, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

    • It is wonderful to see the country come to life this time of year, and that is enhanced through the world of blogging which allows one to see similar events with entirely different plant from all over the country and the world. Later in the summer it is exciting to see how the plants deal with a very short growing season in the higher elevations. Once most of the snow has melted up there it is like an explosion of plants and flowers.


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 8:35 pm

  15. I keep waiting, year after year, to see a shooting star (of the floral kind), but so far no luck. You’re fortunate to have seen one again.


    Comment by Steve Schwartzman — April 22, 2014 @ 8:50 pm

    • As far as I can tell, they grow in New Mexico and only in states west from there. Strange! I remember them well from early childhood when all of the kids would pick bouquets of them for their mothers.


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 9:52 pm

      • There’s an eastern species, Dodecatheon meadia, that has been known to grow in a few counties in Texas, including mine. That’s why I feel deprived in never having seen one. A plant list from about a century ago said they were common along Shoal Creek, but that was then and this is now, and things have apparently changed a lot.


        Comment by Steve Schwartzman — April 22, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

        • And the field where I picked wildflowers as a child is now covered by a shopping center.


          Comment by montucky — April 22, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

  16. Those are all so beautiful, and beautifully photographed too! The Dodecatheon is just exquisite, and so well named as a ‘shooting star’.


    Comment by Jo Woolf — April 23, 2014 @ 11:25 am

    • Thanks Jo! The wildflowers are a big highlight of my ear.


      Comment by montucky — April 23, 2014 @ 6:56 pm

  17. These are all beautiful Terry, really like the Blue-Eyed Mary just photographed some here this morning !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — April 25, 2014 @ 12:10 pm

    • I wish the Blue-Eyed Mary was a little larger, but it’s very pretty anyway.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

  18. pretty pretty pretty
    each and every one
    you seem to be in my future 😉


    Comment by Tammie — April 25, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

    • Your area will catch up in a few weeks I bet. It has been cool enough here that only the flowers in open, sunny areas have started to bloom. Nothing much in the canyons yet and like your area, lots of snow up higher.


      Comment by montucky — April 25, 2014 @ 8:10 pm

  19. What a wonderful set of beautiful flower photos. We had in our previous home: Oregon grape.


    Comment by Sartenada — May 1, 2014 @ 5:06 am

    • Thanks! It’s so good to see them blooming again! We have had a few nice days now and that should stimulate more flowers to bloom!


      Comment by montucky — May 1, 2014 @ 7:37 pm

  20. I love those Shooting Stars every time you show them!


    Comment by Candace — May 1, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

    • They are unforgettable, and some are still blooming. That was my favorite flower when I was a kid. My mother received dozens of bouquets of them!


      Comment by montucky — May 1, 2014 @ 7:38 pm

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