Montana Outdoors

April 11, 2018

Wildflowers blooming in between snows

A few more species of wildflowers have begun to bloom here now despite unseasonably cool weather and a series of weather fronts that have been passing through. There were a few brief periods of sun today before the next weather front is due to arrive tomorrow, bringing up to 8 inches of snow to the higher country especially along the Continental Divide, and I was able to get a few pictures.


Yellow Bell ~ Fritillaria pudica

The species name pudica means “bashful” because it always faces downward. I suspect that its position shelters the pollen from early rains and snows or perhaps because it has a relationship with a special pollonator that finds that convenient.

Shooting Star

Shooting Star ~ Dodecatheon pulchellum

I find it interesting that its genus name is from the Greek dodeka (twelve) and theos (God) and is considered to mean “the plant protected by twelve gods”.

Western White Trillium ~ Pacific Trillium

Western White Trillium, Pacific Trillium ~ Trillium Ovatum

These have just begun to bud at the Munson Creek trail head.



Despite their being usually considered as a weed, I still find the blossoms very pretty.


  1. You do such a beautiful job on the flowers. Share what camera and some of your settings. Do you Photoshop them?   

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sharon Huff — April 11, 2018 @ 5:01 pm

    • Thank you Sharon! I’m starting to use a newer camera, a Nikon D7100. It’s not the latest, but several generations newer than the D80 that I have used for seven or eight year. For wildflowers I use a Nikon AF-Micor Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D macro lens that I have liked for many years. I do not have Photoshop or Lightroom software, but I touch up the photos slightly using just the Apple photo software which is very rudimentary. My goal in the touchups is always to show the flowers exactly as I remember they looked.

      The easy answer to the settings: if you click on any photo on this blog, it will take you to the Flickr site where I store the photos I use and just below the photo it will display the basic settings that were used to take it. If you click on “show exif” it will display everything you can imagine about the exact setup for that photo. The difficulty is that the exact conditions at the time of each photo are hardly ever exactly the same. I nearly always shoot in aperture priority mode where I have the basic setting I want stored, and I let the camera calculate the exact exposure. Aperture priority mode allows me to set the depth of field that I want to show the details of the blossom in perfect focus while obscuring all of the mishmosh of things in the background that would be distracting to the image. I nearly always use spot metering and single point focus for wildflowers.

      (I hope this wasn’t too confusing! )


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2018 @ 6:31 pm

  2. I find the weed flowers very pretty and many are much more attractive than larger cultivated flowers. (disappointing that I have so few in my area – too much clearing and formal grasses and landscaping. That Shooting Star flower is gorgeous – both in colour and form.

    The wildflowers must be a welcome sight after all that extra snow this year. Hope you get some more to post in the coming days (despite the next cold front).

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Vicki — April 11, 2018 @ 6:01 pm

    • Yes, the wildflowers are a very welcome sight! They have been slow developing this year. I very seldom attempt to photograph domestic flowers, concentrating on just the wild varieties and I have to confess that I have difficulty figuring out which ones are actually considered “weeds”.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2018 @ 6:35 pm

  3. Beautiful! I fell in love with those raggedy dandelions as a child and that hasn’t changed. They’ve always been welcome in my yard. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Pat — April 11, 2018 @ 6:07 pm

    • Thanks Pat! I still have that child-like love for Dandelions too. I think their blossoms, viewed closely, are among the prettiest of all the flowers. Imagine how popular they would be were the flowers as large as a rose! There are always un-mowed patches in the “lawn” here where they are blooming.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2018 @ 6:38 pm

  4. What impact would the unseasonably hard snowfall have had on these beauties?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by de Wets Wild — April 11, 2018 @ 7:48 pm

    • Probably no effect at all. They are used to the cold, and start from the ground up in spring. The plants here are amazingly hardy and adapted to the climate.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2018 @ 7:57 pm

      • That’s good to know. A late frost here easily kills off the first new growth of spring…

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by de Wets Wild — April 11, 2018 @ 7:58 pm

        • The only typical thing about spring here is that it is never typical. The wild plants have adapted to that.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by montucky — April 11, 2018 @ 8:24 pm

  5. Looks great great up there, we’ll be up in three weeks. We miss Montana soo much Keep those pictures coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jim Sturdivant — April 11, 2018 @ 8:18 pm

    • The weather should be a lot better in three weeks, so your timing is good.


      Comment by montucky — April 11, 2018 @ 8:25 pm

  6. Even the lowly dandelion is beautiful. Wonderful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — April 11, 2018 @ 10:53 pm

  7. Beautiful photos – again. I loved Your explanation of the name of Shooting Star ~ Dodecatheon pulchellum. Thank You – very nice information.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sartenada — April 12, 2018 @ 12:31 am

  8. All beautiful acptured and lovely to me, may it be the well-known Dandelion (I agree with the love for them) or the beautiful Shooting Star, we don’t have in Europe as a wild flower.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by puzzleblume — April 12, 2018 @ 12:53 am

  9. I truly love your wildflower photos. And guess what? I enjoy dandelions. I think they’re pretty too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — April 12, 2018 @ 9:07 am

    • I’m pleased that you like seeing the wildflowers! It seems that lots of folks also like the Dandelions. I think their flowers provide a lot of honey and pollen for the bees too, probably more than we think because I almost always see bees on them.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2018 @ 10:05 am

  10. That’s a lovely study of some wonderful flowers!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Hanna — April 12, 2018 @ 11:10 am

    • Thank you Hanna! I have a special passion for the wildflowers, but it takes some magnification to see them very well, and I’m thankful for digital photography!

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2018 @ 11:29 am

  11. These are beautiful flowers and they make me anxious to get out there and look for more!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — April 12, 2018 @ 4:06 pm

    • Me too, but it’s still cold and rainy here. We could use a little sun for the flowers. So far, just a few species blooming.


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2018 @ 4:09 pm

  12. I really appreciated your extended reply about your settings. I was especially interested in the spot metering and one-point focus. I’ve done a little with that, but not much, and I need to do more experimenting. I think you’re right, too, about the ways that flowers grow, and their relationship with their pollinators. I just realized this spring that I’ve never seen a butterfly on a bluebonnet. Once I took a good look, I realized that the goodies they contain just aren’t available to a butterfly. But to a bumble bee? You bet! They snuggle right in, and have no problem at all. The way things are intertwined is fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by shoreacres — April 12, 2018 @ 9:15 pm

    • With the newer generations of digital cameras there is a lot of experimenting to do. (The manual for the camera I use is 350 pages long.) Lots of helpful options once you get to understand what the engineers who design them were thinking.

      The interrelationships between plants and all of the other life forms is fascinating, and I suspect that we really know little about them. Consider the night-blooming cactus of the Sonoran desert that are pollinated by bats. And i have heard it said that elk (which have quite an extensive seasonal migration pattern) travel according to the life cycles of their favorite food plants, particularly in the spring. It must be an incredibly complex and extensive matrix. (And how plants and animals adapt to the idiosyncrasies of human activity.)


      Comment by montucky — April 12, 2018 @ 9:38 pm

  13. Gorgeous! The fritillaria is so beautiful. I love the explanation of ‘dodecatheon’, being protected by twelve gods.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jo Woolf — April 13, 2018 @ 1:02 am

    • The earliest flowers are most welcome, so they get special attention. Most early ones are very simple, but the Shooting Star is an exception.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 13, 2018 @ 8:17 am

  14. I really enjoyed the brightness of these spring messengers, and the delicate details that you captured. There’s something especially captivating about the first photo, with the spots on the Yellow Bell’s stem, and that “bashful” pose. And what a treat to find the trillium. Enjoyed them all.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Jet Eliot — April 13, 2018 @ 8:46 am

    • The new flower colors are a treat every spring. They really brighten things up, but they are so small that they are most often overlooked. I find them fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 13, 2018 @ 9:18 am

  15. Congrats on the new camera. That’s what I have, too, the Nikon D7100, and I think it is every bit as good as its successors, the 7200 and 7500. I’m a little bit interested in the D500 but I just can’t afford it at this time and I’m generally happy with the D7100. I feel that I don’t fully utilize all its functions at all.

    I love the Shooting Star, so unusual looking and colorful.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Candace — April 13, 2018 @ 11:51 pm

    • So far I really like the D7100. It expands the possibilities a lot. There are a lot of functions that I’m not really interested in , but the functions that I really want have been much improved over the D80.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 14, 2018 @ 10:36 am

  16. Lovely images and flowers!
    I love dandelions. Seeing them and eating them.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Tammie — April 15, 2018 @ 1:05 pm

    • Thanks! Dandelions don’t get all the credit they deserve.


      Comment by montucky — April 15, 2018 @ 8:26 pm

    • Tammie, your comment reminded me of something I’d heard years ago. The dandelion was intentionally brought here by Europeans as a vegetable. The problem came about because like most imports, they have no natural enemies.


      Comment by Pat — April 16, 2018 @ 8:56 am

  17. Such a lovely collection of flowers .. and all so delicate

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Julie@frogpondfarm — April 15, 2018 @ 10:36 pm

    • Thanks Julie! These are some of the first. When we finally get a few days of sun I will be excited to see many more species in bloom.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — April 15, 2018 @ 10:52 pm

  18. Hi, I work with Glacier Country Tourism and we will be publishing a blog post on wildflowers. Would you be willing share this yellowbell image with us—or one of your other yellowbell images? We would give you a photo credit. Please let me know by the end of the day tomorrow, March 24. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Holly Kuehlwein — March 23, 2021 @ 10:28 am

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