Montana Outdoors

June 29, 2016

First, the purples

This morning before the temperature climbed too far toward its eventual high in the 90’s I hiked a ways (about two and a half miles) up the Munson Creek trail (USFS trail # 372) toward Big Hole Peak. Almost at the start I noticed that the array of wildflower species there was remarkably different from the ones on the Spring Creek trail on which I hiked just two days ago and which is only about 9 miles to the east. Interesting, and not entirely explainable by a steeper trail and a slightly higher elevation.

Today’s post will feature the purples.

Western Mountain Aster

Western Mountain Aster

Western Mountain Aster

Western Mountain Aster ~ Symphyotrichum spathulatum

Nodding Onion

Nodding Onion

As the name “Nodding Onion ~ Allium cernuum” implies, these could be detected by smell before their appearance.

Wild Bergamot

Wild Bergamot ~ Monarda fistulosa, well known for its pleasant smell.

Bluebell-of-Scotland, Harebell

Bluebell-of-Scotland, Harebell

It’s hard to resist a picture of the “Bluebell-of-Scotland, Harebell ~ Campanula rotundifolia” when they pose so nicely.

Pinkfairy, Deerhorn, Ragged Robin

Pinkfairy, Deerhorn, Ragged Robin ~ Clarkia pulchella


  1. I think my favourites are the first and the last photos, and then the bergamot.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — June 29, 2016 @ 9:42 pm

  2. I love the Bergamot too, but the last shot of the Pinkfairy is the most interesting in shape.
    Does wild Bergamot have medicinal uses (like the English Bergamot herb)? Even the Nodding Onion is rather attractive in appearance.

    I wish I didn’t have the memory of a Goldfish these days – I’d re-read all my Herbal Medicine lecture notes and start a blog on Herbal Medicine.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — June 29, 2016 @ 10:01 pm

    • I’ve read that one of the Indian tribes made a tea from Bergamot and others used it as an insect repellent. The bulbs of the Nodding Onion can be eaten and taste like onions. I could get interested in herbal medicine related to the uses that the indigenous people had for the plants. I suspect there’s more intelligence in that than appears readily.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2016 @ 10:29 pm

      • I’ve probably mentioned this before Terry, but if I had my life over again, one of the careers I might have chosen is Anthropology – specialising in indigenous medicine all over the world . I’ve briefly studied herbal medicine and alternative therapies in the early 1990s. Now, in retirement, I have developed so many more interests than what I had at 16 or 17. Sometimes I think all children should work and travel for 5 years before they make choices for University degrees. At 16 all I was interested in were the Creative arts. Now, apart from Photography (of course), I went through a period of studying early Australian History, Archeology, Environmental Science and many others…..
        My thesis for my Herbal Medicine studies was on the History of Herbal Medicine, so at one time (before my memory started to play up), I was quite knowledgeable on the subject.
        Now, the best I can do is press a shutter button a hundred times in an afternoon 🙂


        Comment by Vicki — July 1, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

        • Herbal medicine, studied from a historical perspective, would be a fascinating field to pursue, and one that I think would prove to be beneficial as well. I suspect too that because so much of it would probably be experimental it would be a very long endeavor.


          Comment by montucky — July 1, 2016 @ 8:34 pm

  3. Beautiful, lovely, so pleasing! Thanks and congrats.


    Comment by nvsubbaraman — June 30, 2016 @ 12:03 am

  4. missed you this last little bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by windyhillx — June 30, 2016 @ 5:32 am

    • Thank you! I should be more active again in the blog world now. My posts nearly always originate as a result of back country forays and I will be making them more regularly.


      Comment by montucky — June 30, 2016 @ 10:08 am

  5. Gorgeous. Interesting all the variations of purple in nature. Glad you’ll be back foraying again.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — June 30, 2016 @ 10:23 am

    • Thanks Candace. Nature’s palate is never-ending, in color, design, everything! Time spent in the back country is always valuable time!


      Comment by montucky — June 30, 2016 @ 8:28 pm

  6. Wow, your asters certainly bloom early. They’re pretty too!
    I like the nodding onion. It’s another one we never see here, as is the ragged robin. I’ve never seen photos of a ragged robin so dark colored. They’re all beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — June 30, 2016 @ 3:29 pm

    • Most flowers are blooming here a little earlier this year, and there a lot of species in bloom right now. The Clarkia photo was taken in deep shade and they usually bloom in sunny locations. That may be why the color looks dark. Also, it was a new blossom.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — June 30, 2016 @ 8:31 pm

  7. Love the purples!!!! Thanks for posting. hugs


    Comment by Anonymous — June 30, 2016 @ 4:08 pm

    • You’re welcome! The purples seem brighter this year too.


      Comment by montucky — June 30, 2016 @ 8:32 pm

  8. The deerhorn reminds me of staghorn fern. I was trying to figure out if the purple parts were bracts, or petals, or whatever, and when I went over to the Lady Bird Johnson wildflower site, guess what I found? This photo! I think I know that photographer!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — June 30, 2016 @ 7:36 pm

    • Yes, they have quite a few of my wildflower photos. I can’t think of a better use for them.


      Comment by montucky — June 30, 2016 @ 8:35 pm

  9. The purples are so pretty! Love all the varying shades.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — July 1, 2016 @ 8:50 am

    • I think they are very pretty too. I wonder why it seems that there is a tendency for wildflowers of certain colors to bloom at nearly the same time.


      Comment by montucky — July 1, 2016 @ 8:27 pm

  10. I love them all! Such an intense colour, particularly the first ones. Is this a particularly hot summer for you? 90 sounds quite extreme.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jo Woolf — July 2, 2016 @ 1:28 am

    • We usually have several weeks of temperatures in the high 90’s at the end of summer but this year there have been many much earlier. The older I get the less heat-tolerant I have become, so the high temps keep me from the more aggressive trails. It’s cooling again now so I will feel like getting out again.


      Comment by montucky — July 2, 2016 @ 9:00 am

  11. each one so beautiful!
    I don’t think that I have ever seen the last one and I did not know that harebell’s are also called Bluebell-of-Scotland,
    fun fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tammie — July 2, 2016 @ 8:58 am

    • I first say the Clarkia just a few years ago, and have seen it in only three locations since. I guess it isn’t rare, but it’s not widespread either. It seems to like low elevations and a sunny exposure.

      It’s strange how each source for wildflower information uses different common names for flowers. My favorite wildflower book uses “Harebell” exclusively and the Burke Museum uses “Bluebell-of-Scotland” exclusively for the same plant.


      Comment by montucky — July 3, 2016 @ 8:14 am

  12. OMG. First one is my favorite.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — July 5, 2016 @ 2:38 am

    • I love those too. the Asters really brighten up the areas where they bloom, and the higher in elevation, the later in the season they bloom. They will be in flower at the high areas until fall now.


      Comment by montucky — July 5, 2016 @ 6:47 pm

  13. My favourite is the first one, I love the texture of the purple. Nice article!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by theitalianguest — August 22, 2016 @ 3:14 pm

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