Blue and violet wildflowers in-bloom in the first week of June

(from top-to-bottom, left-to-right: Penstemon sp., Mertensia longiflora,Delphinium bicolor, Lupinus sericeus, Viola adunca, Linum lewisii, Mertensia paniculata)

Lolo National Forest, MT
June 2014, 2015, 2016
Robert Niese

I finally have an instagram with loads of not-so-sciencey nature and personal content! Feel free to drop by and peak into the life of a nerdy natural historian!

Acer macrophyllum “Bigleaf Maple” Aceraceae, with
Laburnum anagyroides “Golden Chain Tree” Fabaceae

Tacoma, WA
May 30, 2012
Robert Niese

The largest leaves on Bigleaf Maples easily reach 2 feet in length! These trees are keystone species in riparian zones throughout the wet lowlands of the PNW and are particularly important for sustaining healthy moss populations. In the background, you can see the bright yellow flowers of the introduced Golden Chain Tree. These papilionaceous flowers (in the pea family) are favored by bumble bees which are large enough to wriggle their way into the corolla.

Lupinus argenteus var. argenteus “Silvery Lupine” Fabaceae

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

Our two most common Lupines in the Missoula area are the Silvery and Silky Lupines (L. argenteus and L. sericeus, respectively). You can easily tell them apart by the upper petals on their flowers (called the “banner” in papilionaceous pea flowers). In the Silvery Lupine (pictured here), the backside of the banner has no hairs, while the Silky Lupine has a dense coating of hair on its banners. In our area, Silvery Lupines that grow in the dry soils of Ponderosa Pinelands and have folded leaflets are of the var. argenteus.