There be flowers in them there hills!
Spring is officially here! A morning venture into the hills near Spearfish, yielded several species in full bloom. In forested areas, I observed Oregon grape (Mahonia repens) and kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) showing off their tiny blossoms. In more open, grassy areas I observed the harbinger of spring, star lily (Leucocrinum montanum), as well as phlox (Phlox sp.), and Nuttall’s violet (Viola nuttallii). In addition, prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), prairie chickweed (Cerastium arvense), and cinquefoil (Potentilla sp.) were showing their petals. I even saw stemless four-nerve daisy (Hymenoxys acaulis) and Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) blooming on a south-facing slope, indicating that the phenology is slightly ahead of a normal year.
Now that the days are getting warmer, be on the lookout for several other species coming into bloom.
Special thanks to Laura B. for the tip on where to find the blooms!
Chelsea Monks, Forest Botanist