Castilleja species…

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Indian paintbrush is a member of the figwort family, a perennial, having a cluster of stems that grow upward from the base, to 60 cm. tall. Indian Paintbrush is found throughout most of British Columbia. The interesting point is that, the top of the flower looks as if they have been dipped in bright red paint, hence the name Indian Paintbrush.

The Indian Paintbrush is a semi-parasitic plants. Indian Paintbrush plants are attached to the tubes of host plants by their roots. Indian paintbrushes suck their nutreints and even water from the host plants. The Indian paintbrush is propagated by dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets). The Indian paintbrush is grown from seed, when sown directly in fall.

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Xerophyllum tenax

 

 

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Bear Grass looks like a grass, but really belongs to the lily family. It is about 4.5 feet tall. Its olive-colored, grass-like leaves grow from the base of the plant and are tough and wiry. The outside leaves clasp around the stem. The leaves have toothed margins, and grow about 35 inches long, getting shorter as they near the flowers, looking very much like a fan.

The flowers of bear grass grow on a stalk that can be 6 feet tall with many small flowers. Each flower is creamy white, and saucer shaped, and has a sweet

aroma. The lowest flowers bloom first, creating a tight knot of buds at the top. The entire flower looks a little like fluffy, upside down ice cream cone. Bear grass tends to flower in 5 to 7 year cycles. After the fruit sets, the plant dies. It reproduces by seed, and by sending out offshoots from its rhizomes.

 

Bear grass is found in open forests and meadows at sub alpine and low alpine elevations in the western United States. It is commonly found under alpine larch (Larix lyallii) and whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) stands on cold, rocky sites at upper timberlines.

Bear grass is a fire-resistant species that is the first plant to grow after a fire. Bear grass, and many other native plants, need periodic burns to produce strong, new growth. After a fire bear grass sprouts from its rhizomes which lie just under the surface. Light fires of short duration are best. Intense fires which linger in the same place for a long time will kill the rhizomes under the ground, and prevent the bear grass from growing back.

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Moss Campion

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Moss Campion is part of the pinks family. It is well adapted to growing in the lower, and sometimes higher Alpine regions. Moss Campion only grows about 5-15 cm tall, hugging the ground for warmth. Its leaves are very small, not exposing too much of the plant to wind and freezing temperatures found in the Alpine biomes. Its mounded cushion shape protects it from the cold, drying winds.

It looks like a soft, green cushion, sprinkled with small pink flowers. It grows in the sandy, rocky soil of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and can also be found growing in the Alps of Switzerland.

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Shooting Star…

 

 

 

Dodecatheon species…

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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.”

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