By Lauren Rieschel
Explore Big Sky Editorial Assistant
Montana is known for its beautiful scenery, and few things exemplify that more than the wildflowers that can be spotted on hiking trails during the summer. Below are some facts and details of the more common flowers that can be found on Big Sky’s Ousel Falls Trail.
Family: Pea family
Season: May – August
Trivia: With its bold, spiked lavender-blue flowers, Silvery Lupine is an iconic wildflower in the West. There are at least 10 different species of Lupinus in Montana. However, the plants, and particularly the seeds, can be toxic if ingested.
Family: Rose family
Season: June – August
Trivia: The rose hips left on the plant during the colder months provide an important vitamin-rich food source for animals and are also used in a variety of teas to help prevent colds or influenza.
Family: Bellflower family
Season: June – September
Trivia: Traditionally linked to fairies and magic, the mountain harebell’s name originates in English and Scottish folklore that said that witches squeezed the juice from the flowers and used it to turn themselves into hares.
Family: figwort family
Season: May – September
Trivia: A well-known flower here in Montana and the state flower of Wyoming, most of the Indian paintbrushes have already bloomed in lower altitudes this year, but they can still be found at higher elevations. Its flowers are edible, and the long white corolla tube can be pulled out to eat the sweet nectar at the bottom.