Another flower ID that I’m a more than a little shaky about. But if it’s not Parry’s Townsendia, it sure does a good imitation of one.
We’ve always had several patches of these wild irises in the wetter areas on our property (they like to keep their feet wet). This year however, due to the very wet winter and spring we’ve had, they’ve been popping up in a lot of areas where I’ve never seen them before, areas that are typically characterized by flowers that do well in drier soil.
I have very little confidence that this is the correct name for this flower, it’s just the closest I could come to identifying it using our suite of flower books. In fact some of the other flower photos I’ve posted may be incorrect as well; but I’ve been sure enough in most cases to post them without disclaimer and wait to see if any of the more knowledgeable Rocky Mountain flower admirers among the readers of my blog call my bluff. So far that hasn’t happened, but that may be due more to benign neglect on the part of the fact checkers rather than any indication that I’ve been right on all of them up to this point.
This isn’t an early spring flower, in fact there are plenty of them out right now. But I’m posting this photo from some years ago because I like it better than the ones I’ve taken this year. Bitterroot is the Montana state flower. Having no particularly visible leaves and buds on short stems that seem to lay right on the ground, the plants look like almost nothing except when they are blooming. Then they are quite spectacular.
I didn’t notice until just now that this particular Shooting Star is more purple than the typical Shooting Star color (which tends to have more of a pinkish or lavender cast to it). I’d suspect a color issue with the digital photo itself, but the green foliage and the yellow Glacier Lily colors seem spot on, so I’ve got to think it’s the flower itself. Either way it’s a nice specimen, one that reminds me of the lyrics of a Bad Company song. I’m not a real big Bad Company fan or I’d post a link to their video. Still these few lines are certainly appropriate:
Don’t you know that you are a shooting star?
And all the world will love you just as long
As long as you are.
I didn’t get going on my flower photo-taking binge right at the start of flower season this year so I missed some of my favorite flowers. So over the next three days I’m going to post photos from several years ago of a few of the flowers that appear right after the snow melts.
Indian Paintbrush, which generally comes in bright red or scarlet colors but can also be found in shades of orange, salmon and other reddish hues, is one of my favorite wildflowers. When we first moved to Bozeman we had three little Indian Paintbrush plants that bloomed in the same spot for several years in a row and then disappeared. There are some on our neighbor’s property higher up on the mountain behind us, but right near our house we have seen no more. So we have had to settle for the related Sulfur Paintbrush, which is nice but not nearly as spectacular.
This flower definitely prefers the drier rockier areas, and it is a succulent, a characteristic I always associate with desert plants. But it actually grows in a range that extends from New Mexico all the way to southern Alaska and the Yukon. The bright yellow color of the flower in this photo was enhanced not by Photoshop but by the setting sun which was casting a yellow glow on everything.