A Spring Mountain Greeting

by Dave Hanks
6/18/09

GLACIAL LILY, also sometimes called Dogtooth Violet, is the flower pictured. It is one off the very first blooms to show itself after the covering of snow melts from its mountain home. Whenever weíve chanced to be on the Idaho-Montana continental divide, or in the Colorado Rockies, just after the snows of winter have permitted it, this flower, in full bloom, has always been there to greet us. Itís such a delightful and graceful flower that itís difficult to pass it by without photographing it.

This inviting species consists of a beautiful yellow, nodding inflorescence connected to a 6 to 15Ē, slender stem. There are 3 petals and 3 sepals that curl back and upward and six stamens hanging down. The anthers are large and prominent. They range in color from yellow to red to white or purple. Other variations of this bud may be reddish. Two or three large, long, broad, lanceolate, basal, lily leaves extend from the plantís base.

The plant sprouts from a long, starchy corm. Indians often used the bulb as a food source. The bulb is also a favorite of Grizzlies, who dig for it with their well-equipped claws. High in calories, the energy derived is important for the bearís summer body weight increase.

As we often frequent high and wild areas, we come upon this plant frequently. It is usually found in dense patches of many individuals Ė an enticement to a bear. As it is usually cool after snow-melt, coming upon this flower will warm your heart with its charming design and bright color.


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