Montana Outdoors

June 11, 2014

Beargrass and huckleberries

Filed under: Spring — Tags: , , , , — montucky @ 11:06 pm

Beargrass is beginning to bloom now in the western Montana high country,

Bear grass

Beargrass ~ Xerophyllum tenax

and then thinking of bears… As I sat eating my lunch along a trail the other day, enjoying the cool breeze that was sweeping up the mountain and the beauty of spring in the wild country, I watched dozens of bumble bees gathering nectar from and pollinating the huckleberry bushes that are now in bloom

Huckleberry blossoms

Huckleberry ~ Vaccinium membranaceum

and the thought occurred to me that in the spring of the year a bee which weighs about half a gram gets sustenance from the blossoms and at the same time pollinates the plants, then in the autumn of the year a bear which can weigh up to 1,700 pounds gets sustenance from the berries of those plants and spreads their seeds; what extremes in the annual cycle of a plant!

July 31, 2012

Pear Lake, Blossom Lakes ~ Evan’s Gulch Roadless Area (4)

Flowers of the Evan’s Gulch Roadless Area ~ continued

American Wild Hellebore, Varatrum virile

American Wild Hellebore, Varatrum virile There were large numbers of the plants, but they will not bloom for at least another week.

Pink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisii

Pink Monkeyflower, Mimulus lewisii

Subalpine Spiraea, Rose Meadowsweet, Spiraea densiflora

Subalpine Spiraea, Rose Meadowsweet, Spiraea densiflora

Pinesap, Many-flower Indian-Pipe, Monotrop hypopithys

Pinesap, Many-flower Indian-Pipe, Monotrop hypopithys

Shrubby Penstemon, Penstemon fructicosus

Shrubby Penstemon, Penstemon fructicosus

Shrubby Penstemon, Penstemon fructicosus

Prickly Current, Bristly Black Gooseberry, Swamp Current, Ribes Lacustre

Prickly Current, Bristly Black Gooseberry, Swamp Current, Ribes Lacustre

False Azalea, Fool's Huckleberry, Rusty Menziesia, Menziesia ferruginea

False Azalea, Fool’s Huckleberry, Rusty Menziesia, Menziesia ferruginea

Brewer's Mitrewort, Mitella breweri

Brewer’s Mitrewort, Mitella breweri

Bear-grass, Xerophyllum tenax

Bear-grass, Xerophyllum tenax

August 20, 2011

Bear-grass

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:58 pm

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass ~ Xerophyllum tenax

July 7, 2011

Road 5587 (3)

Filed under: Koo Koo Sint, Teepee-Spring Creek roadless area — Tags: , — montucky @ 9:26 pm

This is the last set of photos from this trip, perhaps a few too many, but after all it was a fairly long distance and a good day for scenery; also hopefully a feeling for the kind of scenery one comes across in an area like that.

Road 5587

Road 5587

Road 5587

Road 5587

Road 5587

Road 5587

Eddy Mountain LO

This is a zoom shot taken from the same place as the previous photo, done to show the lookout cabin on Eddy Peak about ten miles away, across the Clark Fork valley and in an entirely different mountain range.

Oh, and the Beargrass are starting to bloom already in that area.

Beargrass

Beargrass ~ Xerophyllum tenax

June 19, 2009

Bear Grass

Filed under: Flowers, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 6:51 pm

Today was a day of rain, light to moderate for the most part, but never ceasing. It seemed a good idea to try a hike to a tall peak not far from my house and perhaps get above the clouds, but that turned out to be somewhat like trying to swim up a waterfall: the rain was very heavy up there, the brush was soaking wet and the clouds were so dense there was limited visibility. However…

As the road to the trail head rose to between 5,000 and 6,000 feet the Bear Grass blooms were just about everywhere. I’ve read that each plant blooms only every 5-10 years and the standard is about 7. That makes sense because the only other time I’ve seen Bear Grass blooms this thick was in 2002. They are large flowers and the stalks on most of these were nearly shoulder height.

Bear Grass

Bear Grass

Bear Grass

Bear Grass

Bear Grass

Bear Grass

Bear Grass

Bear Grass

June 2, 2009

A different way to look at Bear-grass

Filed under: Flowers, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 6:00 am

It’s a little early yet for Bear-grass begin their summer life in the high elevations, but last night, lower on the slopes of Baldy Mountain I encountered a few that were starting to bloom already and as the sun was setting and dark shadows began to spread through the forest I tried capturing a few somewhat different views of them.

For those not familiar with them, they are large members of the lily family. When fully developed, the blossoms are three to four inches across and and the stalks can get over five feet tall (these were about three feet). They grow in great abundance in certain areas and one can see their big white blooms spread over many acres of open forest.

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass

Bear-grass
Xerophyllum tenax
Lily family

Note: I will be out of town for a couple of days and so will be a little delayed in commenting and responding to comments.

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