Montana Outdoors

May 25, 2018


Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 10:29 am



Chokecherry blossoms are now about at the end of their cycle now here in western Montana. Judging by the abundance of blossoms this year the wonderful berries should be plentiful in a few more weeks and I look forward to using their juice to make jelly or syrup which I enjoy more than any other.


Chokecherry ~ prunus virginiana

*** CAUTION! ***

I have used the juice for many years in making delicious jelly and syrup but have always extracted the juice while being careful to avoid crushing or including the large seeds which can be toxic. Following are excerpts from several sources that warn of the potential toxicity of parts of the plant (including the seeds):

“Chokecherry is toxic to horses, moose, cattle, goats, deer, and other animals with segmented stomachs (rumens), especially after the leaves have wilted (such as after a frost or after branches have been broken) because wilting releases cyanide and makes the plant sweet. About 10–20 lbs of foliage can be fatal.” (From Wikipedia)

“Warning: New growth, wilted leaves, or plant parts that are injured by frost or drought are poisonous to cattle and humans. The toxin, hydrocyanic acid, is formed in the animals stomach. Hydrocyanic acid quickly affects animals and causes difficulty in breathing, slow pulse, dilated pupils, staggering and loss of consciousness before death. Chokecherry toxicity is highest during the spring and summer; however, leaves are non-toxic by the time fruits mature.” (Rangeland Ecosystems) (From Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database)

“CAUTION: PARTS OF THIS PLANT CAN BE POISONOUS. The seeds are toxic due to production of hydrocyanic acid in the leaves, stems and seeds. The almond-like nuts are treated to deactivate the poisonous glycosides before they are put on the market. Cases of illness and deaths have been traced back to eating the seeds of these trees.” (From the USDA Plant Fact Sheet)

May 26, 2014

Wildflowers in the rain

Pointedtip Mariposa Lily, Three-spot Mariposa Lily

Pointedtip Mariposa Lily, Three-spot Mariposa Lily, Baker’s Mariposa ~ Calochortus apiculatus

Woolly Groundsel

Woolly Groundsel ~ Packera cana

Poison Larkspur

Poison Larkspur ~ Delphinium trolliifolium

Yellow Salsify, Meadow Goatsbeard

Yellow Salsify, Meadow Goatsbeard ~ Tragopogon dubius

Howell's Pussytoes

Howell’s Pussytoes ~ Antennaria howellii

Choke Cherry

Choke Cherry ~ Prunus Virginiana

Mountain Lady's Slipper

Mountain Lady’s Slipper ~ Cypripedium montanum

Antelope Bitterbrush

Antelope Bitterbrush, Antelope-brush ~ Purshia tridentata

Rydberg's Penstemon

Rydberg’s Penstemon ~ Penstemon rydbergii

Starry False Lily-of-the-valley, Star-flowered Solomon's-seal

Starry False Lily-of-the-valley, Star-flowered Solomon’s-seal ~ Maianthemum stellatum

Smallflower Miterwort

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

Feathery False Lily-of-the-valley, Plumed Solomon's Seal

Feathery False Lily-of-the-valley, Plumed Solomon’s Seal, Plumed Spikenard ~ Maianthemum racemosum

The thing about photographing wildflowers is that you have to be there when they are blooming, which means lots and lots of trips into the woods, the meadows, the trails and along the streams – sunshine or rain. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

May 19, 2012


Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:11 pm



Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, May 19

June 6, 2011

Wildflowers of spring (8)

With a few warm days recently and plenty of rain the wildflower blooms are coming rapidly now, as though they are trying to catch up to the season. I’m still trying to post to document them but feel like I’m losing ground.

Yellow Corabells, Fuzzy Emera

Yellow Corabells, Fuzzy Emera ~ Elera racemosa 5/29

Common Sheep Sorrel

Common Sheep Sorrel ~ Rumex acetosella 5/29

Common Dogmustard

Common Dogmustard ~ Erucastrum gallicum 5/29

Suksdorf's desert-parsley

Suksdorf’s desert-parsley ~ Lomatium suksdorfii 5/29


Chokecherry ~ Prunus virginiana 5/29

Siberian Springbeauty

Siberian Springbeauty

Siberian Springbeauty ~ Claytonia sibirica 5/29

May 25, 2010

Prunus virginiana

Filed under: Montana, Nature — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:53 pm

The chokecherries are blooming now and if the quantity and quality of blossoms are any indication it will be a good year for making more of my favorite jelly and syrup!

Chokecherry blossoms

Chokecherry blossoms

Chokecherry blossoms

(For those not familiar with this plant, here is a photo of a group of the whole plants down by the river last summer.)

May 20, 2009

Born in the rain

These are the first blossoms of their species to appear around here this year and when I saw them this morning while I walked in the rain, it seemed important to me that they be displayed. Then as I clicked the shutter from under my umbrella, the reason occurred to me: the exuberance of these brand new arrivals that entered our world on a rainy day needed to be shared.

Goatsbeard, Yellow Salisfy

Yellow Salisfy
Tragopogon dubius
Aster family


Prunus virginiana
Rose family

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