Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update to the May Wildflower Update

White and yellow Glacier Lilies (c) John Ashley
White and yellow forms of Glacier Lily, growing together along Glacier Park's Inside North Fork Road

Western Trillium color range (c) John Ashley
Western Trillium range of color
from lavender to white

The Western Montana wildflowers are moving right along. My week-old report from the east side of the Continental Divide is already out of date, and some west side wildflowers are peaking now.

Few-flowered Shooting Stars (c) John Ashley
Shooting Stars
I returned to the east front just a couple of days ago, and the Few-flowered Shooting Stars were finally popping off in a few scattered clusters south of Saint Mary. Pasqueflowers are holding strong and filling in some of the previously empty hillsides, where trees give way to grass. The handsome Western Trillium are starting to make a respectable showing for their kind in shaded patches here and there. And the Glacier Lilies are finally starting to blanket the shade beneath the stunted aspen groves, especially just north of East Glacier.

Back here on the west side of the divide, our wildflowers are several weeks ahead of the east-siders. Our Glacier Lilies are really putting on a show along the Inside North Fork Road. North of Quartz Creek, all of the Glacier Lilies are yellow, and fading. But in the shaded, forested area between Quartz Creek and Logging Creek, yellow and white forms are growing side-by-side. This localized patch of white Glacier Lilies is a loosely-held secret among some of the local botanists - don't tell anyone.

Closer to Logging Creek, the white and yellow lilies are interspersed with a good number of Western Trillium. And these Trillium blooms run the gamut from pure white to deep lavender, all mixed into in the same locations. The area's shady and still quite wet, so these yellow, white and lavender wildflowers are just now peaking and should be showy for the next week or two. As a west-side bonus, there are small clusters of Fairy Slipper Orchids hidden here and there in the same area - if you look closely. That's why most of my bluejeans have green-stained knees.

Seven-spotted ladybug on Pasqueflower (c) John Ashley
Seven-spotted ladybug on Pasqueflower