I recently purchased another wildflower book aptly titled Wildflowers Montana by Donald Anthony Schiemann. This wildflower book covers 350 species that grow in Montana. The photos are large enough to make reasonable identification of a new wildflower a joy instead of a headache. The photos are also tagged with were they taken. Without a doubt the BEST wildflower book that I have come across, especially for Montana. It's nice to see that a much more academically trained writer & photographer describing flowering times based on time since snow melted! With the extremely short Alpine hiking season this year in Glacier National Park I will be taking wildflower pictures this summer but not updating this site until fall of 2011. According to Donald Schiemann the Alpine zone for Glacier National Park starts at 7,000 feet instead of 9,000 feet in Yellowstone National Park. Which puts the lower glacier lily meadows at Logan Pass in the sub alpine zone.

2011 the wildflower season was off to a very late start. I will be keeping notes and posting updates with new flowers and blooming times. The shortness of the season along with the abundance of moisture is going to make some interesting mid season displays. Remember it's still winter like conditions with up to 8 feet or more at the mid level elevations. 7-1-11 It was raining hard when I was last in St Mary I elected to go on the Two Medicine Lake which at the time 6-24-11 had small patches of glacier lilies along the entrance road.


Glacier Lilies were making a strong showing along The Going To The Sun Road, on the east side as of 6-6-11. Glacier Lilies were making a weak appearance in the Two Medicine area as of 6-24-11. Bear Grass is blooming on the Rocky Point Trail in Glacier Park as of 6-23-11. Bear Grass is blooming along Camus Road as of 6-28-11.

The Wildflower season in Montana is very short and follows the melting snow. Luckily for me 2010, with all of the late season snow and rain, resulted in a great Montana Wildflower year.
Most, not all of the trails in Glacier National Park are not clear of snow at this point in early July 1, 2011. Snow line is below 6,000 feet and lower for heavily treed areas.

Most Montana Wildflowers are perennial herbaceous plants. Conditions for any living thing in Montana are tough, summer temperatures can reach 100 degrees, winter temperatures can drop as low as minus fifty degrees. Cycles of drought and flood are common, many of these photos were taken in areas that the snow doesn't melt off until late July and will start up again in early October.
Wildflowers blooming season in Montana is very brief, a lesson I relearn each summer. Wildflowers in Montana best enjoyed while hiking, otherwise the wildflowers appear as a brief, blurred, burst of color.

Photos and information regarding wildflowers growing in Montana will be updated as the photos become available. Unlike the companion site www.birdsmontana.com were links to all birds that I have photographed in Montana will appear on the home page, on this site for the sake of my sanity and for the ease of visitors to find a photo of a particular wildflower, or to identify a wildflower that they saw while visiting Montana, the site will be divided up by primary wildflower colors. This is going to take some time and will grow slowly.
Since it is hiking season in Montana, my time is more focused on www.glacierhikers.com. 2011 is setting records for snowfall, along with Glacier Park setting records for the latest opening of the Going To the Sun Road. As of 7-1-11 the opening of Logan Pass is still unknown.

Yellow wildflowers

wildflower yellow columbine, glacier national park, www.wildflowersmontana.com © Shawn Coggins'

Wildflowers in Montana follow the melting snow, a lesson I relearn each summer.

Red wildflowers

wildflower - red paint brush, glacier national park, www.wildflowersmontana.com © Shawn Coggins'

Wildflower red paint brush on the Danny On Trail, Big Mountain, Whitefish, Montana.

White wildflowers

wildflower bear grass, whitefish, montana, www.wildflowersmontana.com © Shawn Coggins

Bear Grass, appears above under white wildflowers, although Bear Grass will be green and alive every year, Bear Grass blooms every five to ten years. Luckily for us the blooming cycle is not simultaneous for the whole state. Depending on weather conditions bear grass will be blooming somewhere every year in Montana. The last large bloom of bear grass on the Highline Trail in Glacier Park occurred in 2005. Bear Grass during major bloom years dominates the landscape. Bear Grass has started to bloom in lower elevations within Glacier National Park. The first I encountered were around mid June 2011. No large displays as of yet but this year bloom times will be in August for the higher elevations.

Blue wildflowers

wildflower - blue camas, glacier national park www.wildflowersmontana.com © Shawn Coggins

Blue Camas one of the early blooming wildflowers in Montana.

"Camas flowers have 6 tepals, 6 stamens, and 3 stigmas. The inflorescence is a spike-like cluster borne on a leafless stem that is held above the leaves. . . Common camas grows in wet meadows, wet prairies, swales, depressions, annual floodplains, moist hillsides, and streamside areas. Camas habitat is often ephemeral, drying out by late spring." Late snow cover is slowing down the appearance of large clusters of Blue Camas. I have encountered small patches starting around June 18, 2011.
(NRCS see Note 1)