Anemone multifida var. multifida “Cut-leaf Anemone” Ranunculaceae

Drinking Horse Mountain, Bozeman, MT
June 3 2015
Robert Niese

This anemone is found sporadically throughout the northwest – from the Olympic Peninsula and coastal BC to the Cascades and various eastern mountain ranges – but it is uncommon throughout its range and varies drastically from population to population. Its subspecies designations are thought by many to be inaccurate and based on traits that simply vary with environmental conditions, even within populations.

Anemone piperi “Piper’s Anemone” Ranunculaceae

Lolo National Forest, Bitterroot Mountains, MT
May 10, 2015
Robert Niese

Piper’s Anemone doesn’t look much like other common PNW anemones. It tends to have glabrous, trifoliate bracts that look exactly like leaves, while other anemones would have highly dissected, not-very-leafy bracts such as these here. And instead of having five white petaloid sepals it can have up to eight, as you can see in this photo. Apparently, the genetic and developmental mechanisms that determine which floral parts will be sepals, petals, or stamens are easily changed, allowing flowers with loads of stamens (like roses, buttercups, cherry blossoms, anemones, larkspurs, etc.) to produce a few extra petals instead. This is how we get the ornamental varieties of many Ranunculaceae and Rosaceae flowers (their wild versions should have five petals). Piper’s Anemone is a PNW endemic and is uncommonly found in moist coniferous forests from the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon and southwestern Washington, through central Idaho, west to the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana.

Pulsatilla patens (Anemone patens) “Prairie Crocus” Ranunculaceae

Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor (BLM), MT
April 23, 2015
Robert Niese

These beautiful spring flowers are most abundant in the early spring and often bloom around Passover earning them the common name “Pasque Flower” (pasque is an old Latin word for Easter). The prairie crocus is in decline throughout its range, but is protected as a threatened species in Washington where it is restricted to only a few locations in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.