Western Montana Wildflower Watch
By OutdoorAly

Posted: April 25, 2014

For most of you Montana Outdoor Radio Show fans, walking around in the woods is only interesting if you are carrying a rifle, scope and a tag during hunting season. But, there are a few of us earth crunchy type that get our kicks by walking around the woods hunting down and identifying wildflowers.

I happen to be one of them.

No, these finds don’t fill my freezer, or really give me any sense of adrenaline pump when I find them, but I still like hiking with a purpose. And they may not make a great trophy, but they do make some great photos.

This week I decided to stray off my usual walking route and explore some different trails in the Blue Mountain area near Missoula. I am sure glad I did because I spotted some different Spring wildflowers that were hidden from the main trail. I imagine within a couple weeks these beauties will be popping up everywhere, but for now I felt like a real treasure hunter.

Shooting-Star-Flower

SHOOTING STAR Dodacatheon pulchellum

SHOOTING STAR
Dodacatheon pulchellum
Primrose familyFlowers: Distinctive flowers with four or five bright magenta petals that flare rearward, resembling the tail of a shooting star. Stamens are fused into a dark snout. Several flowers hang from the top of a straight leafless stalk.

Leaves: Roundish leaves in a basal rosette.

Size: to 16 inches; flowers 1-1.5 inches long.

Season: May to July

Habitat: Foothills to Subalpine
Grows in moist areas, near streams and seeps.

 

 

Arrowleaf-Balsamroot

Arrowleaf balsamroot Balsamorhiza sagittata

This is the first Arrowleaf balsamroot I have seen this Spring, but in a couple of weeks this bright yellow flower will cover most of the hillsides around Missoula.

Description:Large golden flower 2 to 4 inches across, consisting of rayflowers surrounding tubular diskflowers. Stands atop stem 8 to 24 inches tall with hairy, arrow-shaped leaves up to 1 foot long and 6 inches wide growing from base. Found in dry soil of valleys and hills. Blooms late April to July. (Peterson Field Guides – Rocky Mountain Wildflowers, by John J. Craighead, Frank C. Craighead Jr. and Ray J. Davis.)

 

Pasque-Flower-Group

Pasqueflower (Anemone patens)

Pasqueflower is one of my favorites because of its delicate nature. The petals are a soft pastel purple and covered in a light layer of feathery fuzz. They have a distinctive egg shape and when fully blossomed, reveal a bright yellow center.

Pasqueflower (Anemone patens, or Anemone nuttalliana and Pulsatilla patens) is commonly called many names including Prairie-crocus, wild crocus, lion’s beard, wind flower, meadow anemone and Easter Flower.The latter because they generally flower near Easter usually in mid or late April. It is  a perennial spring-flowering European plant related to the anemones, with purple flowers and fern-like foliage.