Can you identify these Glacier National Park Wildflowers?
(Hint – you can find the answers in a previous post on Glacier National Park Wildflowers.)
In our first blog post on Glacier National Park Wildflowers, we talked about some of the more popular and easier to find Wildflowers. In this blog post, we will talk about a few more of the wildflowers that grow and flourish near Smoky Bear Ranch and in Glacier National Park.
Wild Lily of the Valley
These wildflowers will bloom in May and June and prefer moist to rather dry habitats. You’ll find them in valleys to lower subalpine forests. The plants have dangerously poisonous compounds which cause a digitalis like effect on the heart disturbing the heartbeat. The berries are edible but not very tasty. Eating too many of the berries will unleash their laxative properties. The Wild Lily of the Valley is sometimes referred to as “starry Solomon’s seal”.
Three varieties of Pussytoes thrive as Glacier National Park Wildflowers – Rosy Pussytoes, Field Pussytoes, and Woods Pussytoes. All three varieties are members of the Aster Family.
These wildflowers like dry to slightly moist soils in valleys to lower subalpine forests. They bloom from June through August. Herbalists claim pussytoes is a mild astringent herb and useful in quieting simple intestinal and liver inflammations.
These wildflowers are found in open forests from valleys to lower subalpine forests. They are a mild astringent herb which the American Indian used for medicinal purposes.
They bloom from May to August and prefer cool, shaded woods in valleys and montane and subalpine forests. Herbalists say Woods Pussytoes are good for treating liver inflammations and upper intestinal irritations.
Glacier National Park Wildflowers include several varieties of Violets. At Smoky Bear Ranch, we are treated to three of those varieties – the Canada Violet, the Early Blue Violet, and the Stream Violet.
The flowers have 5 white petals located at the end of the stem just above the leaves. Each flower has purple lines on the inner surface of the lower 3 petals to direct the pollinating insects to the nectar pouch. The two upper petals have small tufts of hairs near the throat of the flower where there is a conspicuous yellow patch on all the petals. The petals have a purplish tinge on the outer surface and often turn lavender as they age. The flowers are replaced by an oval seed capsule up to ½” long. This capsule is initially green, but later it turns brown and divides into 3 segments, flinging the seeds.
This wildflower blooms from May to July and prefers damp woods with the rich, loamy soil of montane and subalpine forests. It is known to be edible with medicinal properties.
Early Blue Violet
The Early Blue Violets are some of the first to bloom in the spring. They bloom from April to August. They prefer dry to moist meadows and you can find them from valleys all the way up to near timberline. These violets are edible either fresh in a salad or cooked as a potherb. The leaves are very rich in vitamin A and C.
This wildflower blooms from April to July and prefers streams and damp woods of montane and subalpine forests. They are a nutritious, edible herb high in vitamin A and C. It is a versatile plant used as a potherb, in salads, to thicken soup, flavor vinegar, and brew a delicious tea. A word of caution when eating the yellow flowers in quantity, it can cause diarrhea.
This wildflower blooms in June and July and prefers moist woods from dry montane forests to timberline. Some American Indians value the Mountain Arnica as a love charm. They also use the roots and leaves for medicinal purposes to heal bruises and reduce swelling. Herbalist prepare a liniment from it to improve circulation and speed the healing of injuries to include sprains, sore muscles, and strained joints. However, the plant contains many toxins so should not be taken internally or applied to broken skin.
Two varieties of Wild Roses adorn my river path – the Woods Rose and the Nootka Rose. I just love it when they’re in bloom as the aroma is so wonderful.
This wild flower blooms from May to July and prefers moist areas in valleys and montane forests. The Wild Rose is the floral emblem for Alberta, North Dakota, and New York. The have been used for food, medicine, and cosmetics. Rose hips are an excellent source of vitamin C and also make very nice tea, syrup, or jam. The American Indian used Woods Roses as a beverage cure for colds, to stimulate urination, to treat diarrhea, and as a dressing for wounds.
All of these Glacier National Park Wildflowers bloom along the nature trail at Smoky Bear Ranch. Most of them bloom in June along our trail but some will still be blooming in July and even into August. If you miss seeing them here at Smoky Bear Ranch, many of them will still be blooming along the trails in Glacier National Park at higher elevations.