A beautiful brace post surrounded by thousands of Arrowleaf Balsamroot…
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Shootingstar (Dodecatheon pulchellum) is a species of flowering plant in the primrose family.
The Shooting star is a perennial herb with single, leafless flower stems, growing from very short erect root stocks with no bulblets to a height of 2-15 inches.
Each plant has between 1 and 25 flowers clustered at the stem top. The calyx is usually purple-flecked, and the five lobes are 3 to 5 millimeters (mm) long. The corolla is 10 to 20 mm long and the 5 lobes sweep backwards. The lobes are purplish-lavender and rarely white. The short tube is yellowish and usually has a purplish wavy line at the base. The filaments are joined into a yellowish tube 1.5-3 mm long, which is smooth or only slightly wrinkled. The 5 anthers are joined to a projecting point, usually yellowish to reddish-purple, 4-7 mm long and the stigma is slightly larger than the style.
Flowering period is from April to August depending on the site type and elevation.
The Shootingstar is native to much of North America. See a distribution map at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service plants profile database. It can be found in saline swamps, mountain meadows and streams, plains, and alpine zones. In Montana, it is most common in western and central areas.
According to Montana Plant Life.org it is used as a medicine plant. “Pretty shooting star was used medicinally by the Okanagan-Colville and Blackfoot Indians. An infusion of the roots was used as a wash for sore eyes. A cooled infusion of leaves was used for eye drops. An infusion of leaves was gargled, especially by children, for cankers.”
For more info please visit here…
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The days are getting longer and warmer…
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Lovely, pink Fireweed was in full bloom this weekend at Glacier National Park….
We had a day and half of rainy weather (which didn’t slow us down much!) and a day and a half of blue skies to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary!!
Fireweed beside a sow grizzly.
The clouds rolling up the mountains…
In a burnt area overlooking the Saint Mary’s side of the park…
This herb is often abundant in wet calcareous to slightly acidic soils in open fields, pastures, and particularly burned-over lands; the name Fireweed derives from the species’ abundance as a coloniser on burnt sites after forest fires. Its tendency to quickly colonize open areas with little competition, such as sites of forest fires and forest clearings, makes it a clear example of apioneer species. Plants grow and flower as long as there is open space and plenty of light. As trees and brush grow larger the plants die out, but the seeds remain viable in the soil seed bank for many years; when a new fire or other disturbance occurs that opens up the ground to light again, the seeds germinate. Some areas with heavy seed counts in the soil can, after burning, be covered with pure dense stands of this species and when in flower the landscape is turned into fields of color.
In Britain the plant was considered a rare species in the 18th century, and one confined to a few locations with damp, gravelly soils. It was misidentified as Great Hairy Willowherb in contemporary floras. The plant’s rise from local rarity to widespread weed seems to have occurred at the same time as the expansion of the railway network, and the associated soil disturbance. The plant became locally known as bombweed due to its rapid colonization of bomb craters in the second world war.
The young shoots were often collected in the spring by Native American people and mixed with other greens. As the plant matures the leaves become tough and somewhat bitter. The southeast Native Americans use the stems in this stage. They are peeled and eaten raw. When properly prepared soon after picking they are a good source of vitamin C and pro-vitamin A. The Dena’inaadd fireweed to their dogs’ food. Fireweed is also a medicine of the Upper Inlet Dena’ina, who treat pus-filled boils or cuts by placing a piece of the raw stem on the afflicted area. This is said to draw the pus out of the cut or boil and prevents a cut with pus in it from healing over too quickly.
The root can be roasted after scraping off the outside, but often tastes bitter. To mitigate this, the root is collected before the plant flowers and the brown thread in the middle removed.
In Alaska, candies, syrups, jellies, and even ice cream are made from fireweed. Monofloral honey made primarily from fireweed nectar has a distinctive, spiced flavor.
In Russia, its leaves are used as tea substitute and were exported, known in Western Europe as Koporye Tea(Копорский чай). Fireweed leaves can undergo fermentation, much like real tea. Today, koporye tea is still occasionally consumed though not commercially important.
Chamerion angustifolium (Epilobium angustifolium) herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea for treatment of disorders of the prostate, kidneys, and urinary tract.
Fireweed’s natural variation in ploidy has prompted its use in scientific studies of polyploidy’s possible effects on adaptive potential and species.
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“White Man’s Dog raised his eyes to the west and followed the Backbone of the World from north to south until he could pick out Chief Mountain. It stood apart from the other mountains, not as tall as some but strong, its square face a landmark to all who passed. But it was more than a landmark to the Pikunis, Kainahs and Siksikas, the three tribes of the Blackfeet, for it was on top of Chief Mountain that the blackhorn skull pillows of the great warriors still lay. On those skulls Eagle Head and Iron Breast had deamed their visions in the long-ago, and the animal helpers had made them strong in spirit and fortunate in war.”
(From Fools Crow by James Welch)
Chief Mountain is one of the most interesting peaks in Glacier National Park from three different perspectives; geological, historical and, of course, mountaineering.
The history of the mountain is as interesting as its geology. It is one of the earliest mountains in the area ever to be placed on a map, appearing as “King Mountain” on maps published in England in 1795 / 96. Meriwether Lewis observed the mountain on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and called it “Tower Mountain”. In 1854, a state survey referred to the mountain as “The Chief or King Mountain”. Some early German geographers dubbed it as “Kaiser Peak”.
The present day name of the mountain is appropriately taken from the original Blackfeet Indian names of “Old Chief” or “The Mountain -of-the-Chief”
Early Indian legends about the mountain involve braves ascending the peak and staying on the top in their “medicine vision” ritual. The most popular of these involves a Flathead Brave who risked not only the long journey from the west, but also discovery by Blackfeet who were not on friendly terms with the Flatheads. He is said to have carried with him to the top a bison skull that he used as a pillow during his stay. The first white men to climb the mountain in 1892 discovered a weathered bison skull on the summit. For more information visit here…
Rising to an elevation of 9, 080 ft, it is a spectacular mountain peak, especially when the Prairie Smoke is caught in the evening glow…
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Three weeks ago the Prairie Smoke was in full bloom in Glacier, when we visited a couple of weeks later it was doing what it is known for…
It is also called Old Man’s Whiskers!
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of this North American native prairie plant is not the reddish pink to purplish, nodding, globular flowers that bloom in late spring, but the fruiting heads which follow. As the flower fades and the seeds begin to form, the styles elongate (to 2″ long) to form upright, feathery gray tails which collectively resemble a plume or feather duster, all of which has given rise to a large number of regional descriptive common names for this plant such as torch flower, long-plumed purple avens, prairie smoke, lion’s beard and old man’s whiskers. The feathery seed tails act as sails in aiding dispersal of the seeds. A soft, hairy plant growing typically to 16″ tall with fern-like, pinnately divided, green leaves (7-19 leaflets). Spreads by rhizomes and can be naturalized to form an interesting ground cover. Native Americans once boiled the roots to produce a root tea that was used medicinally for a variety of purposes such as wound applications and sore throat treatments. For more info visit here…
The Indian Paintbrush seem to be particularly vibrant this year…
One of the popular paintbrushes, this showy annual or biennial grows 6-16 in. high. Its several unbranched stems form clumps topped by bright-red, paintbrush-like spikes. The flowers are actually inconspicuous and greenish, but are subtended by showy, red-tipped bracts. Together, the flowers and bracts form 3-8 in. spikes.
The roots of this plant will grow until they touch the roots of other plants, frequently grasses, penetrating these host roots to obtain a portion of their nutrients. Transplanting paintbrush may kill it. Indian paintbrush has a reputation for being unpredictable. In some years, when bluebonnets (which flower at approximately the same time as Indian paintbrush) are especially colorful, paintbrush will have only an average flowering year. Other years, paintbrush is spectacular.
The roots of this plant will grow until they touch the roots of other plants, frequently grasses, penetrating these host roots to obtain a portion of their nutrients. Transplanting paintbrush may kill it.
The mountain wildflowers were at their peak when we visited Glacier Park a couple of weeks ago. I do believe our Heavenly Father is the best gardener….
NWMNP Photography Club
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"For heaven's sake (and for the Earth's), let's get it together. Get out there! Listen! The wild places will fill you up. Let them." Walkin' Jim Stoltz, 1953 - 2010
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