Montana Outdoors

April 25, 2019

Today’s wildflower finds

This afternoon it seemed to me that I ought to check the area of West Swamp Creek (about 20 miles to the southwest of my home). Sure enough, there were several species blooming there in profusion and I was glad that I paid attention to my hunch.

Small White Violet

Small White Violet ~ Viola macloskeyi

Both the white and yellow violets are growing right in the water of a small spring fed stream, which makes photographing them a rather wet and messy endeavor, but that’s alright because it is now warm!

Pioneer Violet

Pioneer Violet ~ Viola glabella

Pioneer Violet and Alpine Springbeauty

Alpine Springbeauty

Alpine Springbeauty ~ Claytonia megarhiza

Glacier Lily

Glacier Lily ~ Erythronium grandiflorum

Shooting Star

Shooting Star ~ Dodecatheon pulchellum

Small Bluebells

Small Bluebells ~ Mertensia longiflora

Slender Phlox

Slender Phlox ~ Microsteris gracilis

May 6, 2015

Today in the Swamp Creek canyon:

Pioneer Violet

Pioneer Violet ~ Viola glabella

Large-leaf Sandwort

Large-leaf Sandwort ~ Moehringia macrophylla

Small White Violet

Small White Violet ~ Viola macloskeyi

Siberian springbeauty

Siberian springbeauty ~ Claytonia sibirica

Smallflower Miterwort, Side-flowered Mitrewort, Cross-shaped Mitrewort

Smallflower Miterwort, Side-flowered Mitrewort, Cross-shaped Mitrewort ~ Ozomelis stauropetala

The yellow violets were blooming in the bubbling water of a spring that was flowing right out of a steep hillside. At the base of the hillside the water accumulated into a tiny stream and at the very edge of that, the white violets bloomed. A fairly subtle difference in habitat, but yet quite a distinct one.

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 ones 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

May 12, 2011

Is it yellow or is it a violet? Yes.

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , — montucky @ 3:47 pm

Stream Violet, Pioneer Violet ~ Viola glabella

Stream Violet, Pioneer Violet, Viola glabella

Photographed near the trail head of USFS trail 274 at Dry Creek

May 16, 2009

Pioneer violet

Filed under: Flowers, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 9:10 am

As you capture an image of the first yellow violet that you’ve seen this year you realize that’s the way photographing wildflowers is meant to be!

Lying prone in the wet grass and low shrubs along the stream, one leg of your tripod (in this case your right elbow) in the water (causing you to wonder momentarily how water that is at a temperature of -40°F is still in liquid form), the second leg of the tripod (your left elbow) wedged into a nest of sharp rocks, and the third leg, which is a six inch long monopod screwed into the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera with three of those inches buried in the mud, leaving your nose also in the mud as you attempt to frame a photo in the viewfinder, you are, under the circumstances, having a quite pleasant experience.

In between exposure bracketing it comes to your attention that every creature that has eight or more legs and lives within a four mile radius of your position has joined its friends in a gleeful stroll through the neck of your sweat shirt and far down the center of your back. You probably don’t want to think too much about exactly what they’re doing down there, but you’re pretty sure you heard the “pop” of a champaign cork. Actually you hope that’s what it was.

It’s late evening, the light is failing, you’re two miles from the trail head and as you click the shutter for the last time you hope that wet sensation you just felt in the middle of your back wasn’t caused by the foot of some large hairy creature of the night stepping on your cold, wet body because, while that might make the trip back to your Jeep faster by several orders of magnitude, you know on that trip back you really won’t enjoy the sensation of knocking down that big Douglas Fir near the bottom of the trail with your sternum because the trail took it’s sudden turn to the left and you didn’t.

But it wasn’t: the Fir survived because your more leisurely pace allowed you to make that sharp left turn in the dark, and, after you arrive home and transfer your photos to the iMac you can see that the photos of the flower were actually in focus this time. Life is good!

Pioneer violet

Pioneer violet

Pioneer violet
Viola glabella
Violet family

Blog at