Montana Outdoors

May 15, 2012

Wildflowers, mid-May

This is the time, if you love wildflowers, when you just can’t get out often enough. I wish now that I could be several places at the same time but I will be content for the time being and hope for more outings throughout the summer.




Kinnikinnik, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, May 2



Unidentified, May 5


 Western Stickseed, Lappula redowskii, May 7

Small tumblemustard, false London Rocket

Small tumblemustard, false London Rocket, Sisymbrium loeselii, May 13

May 20, 2011

Wildflowers of spring (2)


Kinnikinnik ~ Arctostaphylos uva-ursi – 5/6

Holboell's Rockcress

Holboell’s Rockcress ~ Arabis holboellii – 5/6

Blue clematis

Blue clematis ~ Clematis occidentalis – This is a vine and it climbs into the lower branches of nearby trees. The blossoms often look like bluebirds flying through the forest. – 5/10

Utah Honeysuckle

Utah Honeysuckle ~ Lonicera utahensis – 5/13

Heart-leaved Arnica bud

Heart-leaved Arnica bud ~ Arnica cordifolia – 5/13

Western Larch

Western Larch ~ Larix occidentalis – (Not a flower, just the beauty of new leaves on our deciduous conifer!) – 5/13

April 25, 2010

Red and white… and blue.

It was a little surprising to see, a few days ago, that the Kinnikinnik is blooming; seems a bit early.


 KinnikinnikKinnikinnik, Bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, a shrub in the Heath family.

The bluebells are now blooming in more areas and greater numbers, although far less than in a normal year.

Long-flower Bluebells

Long-flower BluebellsSmall Bluebells, Long-flower Bluebells, Mertensia longiflora

January 12, 2010

An experiment (for what it’s worth)

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Winter — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 9:51 am

Fascination with the tiny red leaves the other day led me to a brief experiment (it was cold out).

Winter Kinnikinnik

(1/60 second, ISO 180, f3.8)

Winter Kinnikinnik

(1/60 second, ISO 180, F29)

January 11, 2010

Faux fleur

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors — Tags: , , , , — montucky @ 10:34 am

In many places along the river, above the winter water level but just below the high water mark, there are areas of rocks and sand, collections of small plants and moss and low shrubs and driftwood. As I passed through such an area the other afternoon, my eyes were drawn to some tiny red “blooms” at my feet.

A closer look revealed them to be not real flower blossoms at all but rather, small red-colored leaves (about the size of dimes) at the tips of some small plants that I believe to be Kinnikinnik. I could visualize them as tiny winter flowers, blooming in the cold moist breeze off the water, and as I knelt down to capture their images, very appropriately big soft flakes of snow began to fall. Of course Nature’s children had nibbled a bit at some of them, but that’s what happens in an outdoor setting.

Winter Kinnikinnik

Winter Kinnikinnik

Winter Kinnikinnik

May 1, 2009


Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures — Tags: , , — montucky @ 8:50 am


(Kinnikinnik, Bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, a shrub in the Heath family)

The name “Kinnikinnik”, I believe, comes from one of the Indian languages but I don’t know which one. It’s a low, trailing evergreen shrub in the Heath family with dark green leaves and it’s quite common in the mountains of western Montana. The flowers are tiny (the clump in the photo could be easily covered by a dime) and will give way later in the summer to small bright red berries that were used by Indians as a poor substitute for tobacco or ground to be mixed with dried buffalo meat to make pemmican, a nourishing and long lasting food source. (I find them rather tasteless myself although they are a common food for grouse.) The Latin term “uva-ursi” translates literally to “bears grape”.

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