Bitterroot Outdoor Journal – Dragonflies and Big Wildflowers
This week, we're staying close to the ground with observations of butterflies and dragonflies among the tallest wildflowers. Since we have a photo of Beargrass first (see above), Bob says this is one of those years where he hasn't seen many. But you definitely can recognize it when you do. It can grow up to 5 feet high and is in forest openings. Another towering plant is the Monument Plant, also called the Green Gentian (see below). It can be 5 feet tall and has green flowers along the stem, toned white with purple dots. At ground level, the Gentian has basal leaves that grow for several years before sending up a flower stalk. Sometimes it takes decades for the tall tower to sprout up. Then, there's the Western Coneflower (see below) with a height of up to 6 feet and at the top is a large brown flower cone.
With the warmer, sunnier weather, there are dragonflies out and about like the 12-spotted Skimmer (see below) which is common around the water and is about 2 inches long with 3 dark spots on each of the 4 wings. Hmmm, that adds up to 12 - hence the name.
Butterflies include the Boisduval's Blue, which are seen near lupine or over moist soil and the Ancilla Blue with square black spots on the underwing. You'll see more of the Boisduvals than the Ancilla, Bob says. Photos of some of the little blue butterflies are below.