Despite the snowfall, there are still plenty of species in full bloom across the Black Hills. In forested areas of the northern Hills, heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia), kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), darkthroat shooting star (Dodecatheon pulchellum), Oregon grape (Mahonia repens), prairie blue bells (Mertensia lanceolata), spiny phlox (Phlox hoodii), buttercup (Ranunculus sp.), and roughfruit fairybells (Prosartes trachycarpa) can be seen in bloom.
The violets are out and several species including longspur violet (Viola adunca), Canadian white violet (Viola canadensis), prairie violet (Viola pedatifida), and Nuttall’s violet (Viola nuttallii) can be seen across the Black Hills National Forest.
In open areas in the northern Hills, look for littleleaf pussytoes (Antennaria microphylla), small-leaf pussytoes (Antennaria parvifolia), tufted milkvetch (Astragalus spatulatus), prairie chickweed (Cerastium arvense), little larkspur (Delphinium bicolor), and prairie smoke (Geum triflorum).
Some diminutive blossoms hiding in open to shaded areas included muskroot (Adoxa moschatellina), pygmyflower rockjasmine (Androsace septentrionalis), and maiden blue eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora).
Some shrubs are also in flower including Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) and pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica).
A few early spring species such as star lily (Leucocrinum montanum) and pasqueflower (Pulsatilla patens) still have flowers visible, but most are fading into fruit. Others such as meadow deathcamas (Zigadenus venenosus) and lupine (Lupinus sp.) are just coming in to flower.
With warmer weather predicted to return, keep an eye out for other wildflowers in the forest. To see the full collection of Black Hills National Forest wildflower photos, check out Forest Photo (www.forestphoto.com), keyword: What’s Bloomin.
Chelsea Monks, Forest Botanist