Striking color! Definitely charms the soul.
It’s good to know the names of flowers and their history.
A man came to work on the phone line at my house one day, and he saw all of the different kinds flowers my husband had planted in the front yard.
He kept pointing at this one or that one, asking me to tell him their names. I didn’t know. They were all in one category in my mind: Beautiful Flowers.
Since I could not answer any of his flower questions correctly, the man finally said, “Do you live here?”
Identifying the flowers is a time-consuming process. I’ve spent hundreds of hours doing it. Many are unique to only one fairly small geographic area too, which adds to the difficulty. I get a lot of help from a book called Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest. It does a fairly complete job of covering this part of Montana. Sometimes though it will not have one listed and I use a website for the Burke Museum at the University of Washington and I find a surprising number of our plants included there. One of my reasons for maintaining this blog is provide information on wildflowers in this area and information on the places that I visit for folks who might use it for research, and so I try to get the right identifications. It is interesting how many people do find the information useful. I got a kick out of your anecdote: I’ve been in a similar situation many times myself! …”The scientific name for this one is ‘Pretty Little Blue Flower'”.
When I visited Vancouver in 2000 I bought Lone Pine’s similar guide to Coastal British Columbia, not to learn the flowers of that area but because I liked the book’s format and hoped to see someone follow up with one in that style for Texas. As far as I know, no one has yet done so
It’s only been a couple of years ago that a British friend pointed out to me that the garden-center geraniums aren’t the only geraniums in the world. I can’t remember the variety she was using as bedding plants, but they looked much more like this than our common patio plant. This one’s color is gorgeous. And is that some sort of little walking stick or other insect in the first photo?
I’m glad these wild ones are fairly abundant because we’ve not had much luck growing a geranium in a flower garden! I don’t know if that’s an insect or not. I didn’t notice it when I took the picture. It might be because I see no sign of it in the second photo which was taken only 30 seconds after the first.
I haven’t read that the blossoms were used in making dye, but the plant was medicinally for several different things, and caution is prudent because the leaves resemble those of a toxic species of Monkshood.
We have too, but only a half inch at a time. Still, with the cool weather, the grasses are flourishing and the valley is beautiful. By the way, last year the bitterroots were blooming in Camas Prairie on June 4… coming up!