Nodobryoria abbreviata

Mt. Sentinel, Lolo National Forest, MT
September 12, 2015
Robert Niese

This species of Bryoria-like lichen is particularly common east of the Cascades in dry Ponderosa Pine and Larch forests. It can be easily distinguished from other Bryoria-like species by its large, prominent apothecia (reproductive discs) which are almost always present in mature specimens. This species is often found alongside Cetraria, Usnea, Vulpicida, Letharia, and Hypogymnia here in western Montana.

Cetraria (Kaernefeltia) merrillii “Flattened Thornbush Lichen”
with Nodobryoria abbreviata

Mt. Sentinel, Lolo National Forest, MT
September 12, 2015
Robert Niese

These metallic, often iridescent black lichen are extremely common on small twigs alongside Vulpicida canadensis here in our PNW Ponderosa Pine forests. They can be found throughout the Rocky Mountains, Sierras, Cascades, and some mountainous regions of central Spain. Their black color comes from a yet identified pigment. The stringy lichen in this image is Nodobryoria abbreviata, a Bryoria-like lichen with prominent apothecia (reproductive discs). I’ve found this species to be particularly common alongside Cetraria, Vulpicida, Letharia, and Hypogymnia on Pinus twigs here in western Montana.

Catoptria latiradiella “Two-banded Catoptria” Crambidae

Clinton, MT
July 25, 2015
Robert Niese

This small species of Crambid moth is restricted to boreal and montane forests in North America. Its larvae are believe to feed exclusively on mosses. As adults, these moths are active both in the day and at night and are regularly seen at lights in July and August.

Phaneta infimbriana “Silver-spotted Wormwood Moth” Tortricidae

Clinton, MT
July 25, 2015
Robert Niese

These dainty Tortricids are found throughout the Northwest between July and August. As larvae they feed primarily on plants in the family Asteraceae, particularly members of the genus Artemisia, which includes sagebrush, tarragon, and wormwoods. According to the Tortricidae foodplant database, the larvae of this species have only ever been recorded on Artemisia ludoviciana which is a very common weedy species in all our open, semi-dry habitats here in the PNW.

Eriogonum umbellatum “Sulfur Buckwheat” Polygonaceae

Great Burn, Lolo National Forest, MT
July 10, 2015
Robert Niese

While not a true buckwheat (Fagopyrum), members of the genus Eriogonum also produce (mostly) edible, triangular seeds that can be ground into a flour. This particular species is our most common wild buckwheat here in the PNW and can vary drastically in shape, size, and color. Some plants can grow into shrubs nearly 2 meters tall, while others will never ascend more than a 10 centimeters from the ground. Furthermore, the size and color of inflorescences can vary from tiny, tightly-packed yellow clumps, to reddish umbels, to large, spreading, white bunches. To confirm your species ID, look for E. umbellatum’s bare flowering stems (with a whorl of leaves only at the top) and its glabrous tepals (6 petal-like structures) with a long, narrow tube-like base.