Montana Outdoors

May 3, 2017

New arrivals

Redstem Stork's Bill

Redstem Stork’s Bill ~ Erodium cicutarium

Hooker's Fairybells

Hooker’s Fairybells ~ Prosartes hookeri

Utah honeysuckle

Utah honeysuckle ~ Lonicera utahensis

Blue-eyed Mary

Blue-eyed Mary~ Collinsia parviflora

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Arrowleaf Balsamroot~ Balsamorhiza sagittata

(As a size comparison, a few Blue-eyed Marys can be seen in the background of this last photo.)

April 17, 2015

A little of the Munson Creek trail (USFS Tr 372)

Today I hiked the first couple of miles of the Munson Creek trail (from about 2,400 ft elevation to about 3,400 ft elevation) to see how the winter treated it. It was in very good condition, with a sprinkling of wildflowers all along, but only of some of the early blooming species were blooming. It is a steep and rather rough trail that is well worth hiking later in the summer when the valley is hot and the trail is cool and when there are dozens of species of wildflowers in bloom (and I will return later to see them). Here are a few photos of the trail and the flower species now in bloom along that stretch.

Munson Creek trail

Munson Creek trail

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Arrowleaf Balsamroot ~ Balsamorhiza sagittata

Munson Creek trail

Oblongleaf Bluebells, Sagebrush Bluebells

Oblongleaf Bluebells, Sagebrush Bluebells

Oblongleaf Bluebells, Sagebrush Bluebells ~ Mertensia oblongifolia

Hooker's Fairy Bells

Hooker’s Fairy Bells ~ Disporum hookeri

Blue Clematis

Blue Clematis ~ Clematis occidentalis

Munson Creek trail

Yellow Glacier Lily

Yellow Glacier Lily, Erythronium grandiflorum

Western White Trillium

Western White Trillium ~ Trillium Ovatum

Munson Creek trail

Munson Creek trail

Munson Creek trail

May 11, 2014

Early May wildflowers.

In spite of a cold spring and below normal rainfall here in western Montana, the wildflowers are blooming, but about two weeks later than usual. This morning there was fresh snow on the mountainsides a thousand feet above the valley floor.

Western Gromwell, Lemonweed

Western Gromwell, Lemonweed ~ Lithospermum ruderale

Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon

Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon ~ Amelanchier alnifolia

Field Pepperweed, Field Peppergrass or Pepperwort, Field Cress

Field Pepperweed, Field Peppergrass or Pepperwort, Field Cress ~ Lepidium campestre

Fairy Slipper, Calypso orchid

Fairy Slipper, Calypso orchid ~ Calypso bulbosa

Marsh Valerian, Northern Valerian

Marsh Valerian, Northern Valerian ~ Valeriana dioica

Hooker Fairy-bells

Hooker Fairy-bells ~ Prosartes hookeri


Kinnikinnik ~ Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Field Chickweed

Field Chickweed ~ Cerastium arvense

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Arrowleaf Balsamroot ~ Balsamorhiza sagittata

Black Hawthorn

Black Hawthorn ~ Crataegus douglasii

Holboell's rockcress

Holboell’s rockcress ~ Boechera pendulocarpa

Menzies' fiddleneck

Menzies’ fiddleneck ~ Amsinckia menziesii

Meadow death-camas

Meadow death-camas ~ Toxicoscordion venenosum

Large-flowered Tritelia

Large-flowered Tritelia ~ Triteleia grandiflora

May 3, 2014

A strange spring for western Montana wildflowers

After a winter with large amounts of snowfall (the high country around here still has 140% of normal snowpack) and lots of cloudy/rainy days this spring, the forests are very dry. The rain we’ve had has been mostly light showers with not much water volume, and the flowers which depend on April rain are doing poorly, at least in this specific area. These were taken on a couple of short hikes recently and the selection was not very good.

Round-leaved Violet

Round-leaved Violet ~ Viola orbiculata

In an area that usually abounds with violets, this and the following one were found only on a small hillside where water from snow melting at a higher elevation was trickling out of the ground.

Canadian White violet

Canadian White violet ~ Viola canadensis

Woodland Strawberry

Woodland Strawberry ~ Fragaria vesca

Mule Deer

Mule Deer ~ Odocoileus hemionus: (A fellow wild plant aficionado)

Heart-leaf Arnica

Heart-leaf Arnica

Heart-leaf Arnica ~ Arnica cordifolia

Pacific Trillium

Pacific Trillium

Pacific Trillium

Pacific Trillium ~ Trillium ovatum

These are Pacific or Western White trilliums that are in the final stages of their boom, when they turn pink. It took me awhile initially to realize that the pink onesĀ are not from a different species.

Western Blue Clematis

Western Blue Clematis ~ Clematis occidentalis

Early Blue Violet

Early Blue Violet ~ Viola adunca

Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Arrowleaf Balsamroot ~ Balsamorhiza sagittata

Grand Fir

Grand Fir ~ Abies grandis

Pioneer Violet

Pioneer Violet ~ Viola glabella

April 23, 2010

Two Sunflowers

About four posts ago I posted a photo of one sunflower variety just budding out. (Mule-ears, named for the shape of their leaves.) Here it is in full bloom:

Mule-earsMule-ears, Wyethia amplexicaulis

Although they are not as plentiful as usual because of the drought, The Arrowleaf are now in full bloom. They are perhaps the largest of our wildflowers here and really brighten up the hillsides where they grow. (They are also named for the shape of their leaves.)

Arrowleaf BalsamrootArrowleaf Balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata

April 23, 2009

Arrowleaf balsamroot

In the last few days nature decided to get out the big guns. This is our largest wildflower with flower heads 2 to 4 inches across, and not only are the flowers large, but often these members of the sunflower family will cover entire hillsides, including the one behind our house. This was the first I’ve seen this year, blooming in the back country.

Arrowleaf balsamroot

The next day, these appeared in our back yard.

Arrowleaf balsamroot

Balsamorhiza sagittata grows in twelve of the far western states and in Alberta and British Columbia.

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