Flora of Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

This is a list of the images and their descriptions found in the Flora Photo Gallery. The images were photographed by James N Perdue and any usage of these images should credit Mr. Perdue and his website: http://WildAndScenicPhotos.com. [This is NOT a complete list of the flora in the Refuge.]

Image Title Caption
Wildflowers are an integral part of the refuge ecosystem. Insects get their food from the nector, many small and large mammals feed on them.
Arrowroot Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) Grows in yellow clumps at base of Centennial mountains among sagebrush.
Ballhead sandwort (Arenaria congesta) This tiny plant was growing along Culver pond. It likes sandy slightly dry soils among sagebrush and grasses like that around Culver Pond.
Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) The roots of this beautiful Montana state flower were consumed by local tribes such as the Shoshone and the Flathead Indians as an infrequent treat. It likes to grow on gravelly and dry soils like is found on the northern boundry of the refuge.
Blanketflower or Gaillardia (Gaillardia aristata) Also known as Brown-eyed Susan this plant is often found along Red Rock road in front of Mount Taylor.
Blanketflower or Gaillardia (Gaillardia aristata) Indians used this flower as a digestive aid. It was also used externally to treat sore eyes, for hair loss and even saddle sores.
Blanketflower or Gaillardia (Gaillardia aristata)
Blanketflower or Gaillardia (Gaillardia aristata)
Blue Mustard and Dandelions
Blue Mustard (Chorispora tenella)
Blue Penstemon (Penstemon cyaneus)
Buff Fleabane (Erigeron ochroleucus)
Cliff Anemone (Anemone multifida) Growing at Upper Red Rock campground. They like dry, open or wooded sites. The leaves produce protoanemonin and are strongly irritating.
Cliff Anemone (Anemone multifida) Growing at Upper Red Rock campground and on the meadows below the nearby forest.
Cliff Anemone (Anemone multifida) Also known as cut-leaved anemone, these flowers often are colored cream, yellowish or like this one, reddish-pink.
Cliff Anemone (Anemone multifida)
Red Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) Also known as scarlet paintbrush or giant red Indian paintbrush.
Red Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) Found growing beneath some stands of willow bushes near Widgeon Pond in early July.
Red Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) Field of Indian Paintbrushes
Franklin's Phacelia (Phacelia franklinii)
Franklin's Phacelia (Phacelia franklinii)
Western Horsemint or Giant Hyssop (Agastache urticifolia) This has a very minty odor.
Western Horsemint or Giant Hyssop (Agastache urticifolia) From the mint family, this plant grows along Upper Red Rock lake southern shore since it likes moist soil.
Green Gentian (Frasera speciosa) The Green Gentian is common here and is also called the Monument Plant or the elkweed.
Green Gentian (Frasera speciosa) This plant can live up to 60 years before flowering and dying.
Green Gentian (Frasera speciosa) When the Green Gentian dies, its large hulk provides shade and nutrients for the seeds to establish themselves.
Green Gentian (Frasera speciosa) You will often see the dead hulks of these plants lasting through the next summer.
Green Gentian (Frasera speciosa) The petals of the Green Gentian are pale green, purple-flecked and oval.
Green Gentian (Frasera speciosa) with Taylor Mountain. This is a typical place to find these plants with dry and drained soil among the sagebrush.
Blue Violet (Viola adunca)
Closeup of Rocky Mountain Iris petal (Iris missouriensis)
Rocky Mountain Iris (Iris missouriensis) This species of Iris is toxic, causing breathing problems, vomiting, etc.
Rocky Mountain Iris (Iris missouriensis) Some people show allergic reactions (skin) on touching the Iris.
Rocky Mountain Iris (Iris missouriensis) Looking down on the Iris
Rocky Mountain Iris (Iris missouriensis)
Idaho Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) The Blue-eyed grass is a herbaceous perennial growing from rhizomes, native to moist meadow and open woodland.
Idaho Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium) The Blue-eyed grass is a primitive iris that can easily be mistaken for a clump of grass if not for the yellow-centered bright blue almost daisy-like flowers that are present May through July.
Fennel-leaved Lomatium (Lomatium foeniculaceum)
Fennel-leaved Lomatium (Lomatium foeniculaceum)
Long-stalked Starwort (Stellaria longipes) This little flower is about 1/4 inch across. You'd only notice it at Widgeon Pond if you were on your knees.
Long-stalked Starwort (Stellaria longipes) Size comparison of this tiny flower with human adult finger.
Silvery Lupine (Lupinus argentenus) This is a very common flower around the refuge.
Many-flowered Stickseed (Hackelia floribunda)
Meadow Death Camas (Zigadenus venenosus) Blubs of this plant are extremely poisonious to humans and animals.
Parry's Lousewort
Pleated Gentian (Gentiana affinis) Found on a dry hillside on east side of refuge in late August. Indians used this to treat digestive dis-orders.
Purple Avens or Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) Beautiful little plant grows in meadows below Centennial Mtns
Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense)
Pasqueflower or Prarie Crocus (Anemone nuttalliana) These bloom early on hillsides beneath the mountains.
Pasqueflower or Prarie Crocus (Anemone nuttalliana) Indians used this for medicinal purposes, the active ingredient is a volatile oil.
Rocky Mountain Aster (Ionactis stenomeres) This was growing in the dry and sandy area north of the lakes along the Northern road.
Rosy Pussytoes (Antennaria microphylla)
Showy Fleabane (Erigeron speciosus)
Snowball Saxifrage (Saxifraga rhomboidea) Grows on moist and open slopes in the refuge.
Snowball Saxifrage (Saxifraga rhomboidea) Snowball Saxifrage is also known as diamond-leafed saxifrage due to the shape of its leaves.
Diamond Leaf Saxifrage (Saxifraga rhomboidea) Also known as Snowball Saxifrage
Shooting Star (Docecatheon pulchellum)
Shooting Star (Docecatheon pulchellum) On bank of Red Rock creek near lower lake dam.
Shooting Star (Docecatheon pulchellum)
Shooting Star at Lower Red Rock lake
Short-styled Onion (Allium acuminatum) This onion likes wet spots, of which there are plenty at the refuge.
Mountain Snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus) Found at the forest's edge, these flower turn into twin white berries at season's end.
Starry False Solomons Seal (Smilacina stellata) On lake trail at Upper Red Rock Lake campground
Stemless hymenoxys (Hymenoxys acaulis) Found on a hill overlooking Culver Pond in the refuge July 12.
Cushion Buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium) Prior to blooming
Cushion Buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium)
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) Found on an island in Lower Red Rock Lake growing among the mint.
Spearleaf Stonecrop (Sedum lanceolatum) Grows on hillside above Upper Lake and the hills above Culver Pond. Also known as Lanceleaf Stonecrop.
Spearleaf Stonecrop (Sedum lanceolatum) Lance-leaved stonecrop is a succulent, perennial herb.
Spearleaf Stonecrop (Sedum lanceolatum) Lance-leaved stonecrop may be found on dry, open, exposed places which are gravelly or rocky., like the rocky slopes of Taylor mountain past the aspens.
Spearleaf Stonecrop (Sedum lanceolatum)
Tapertip Hawksbeard (Crepis acuminata) Also known as slender-tipped Hawksbeard is part of the Aster family and like dry and open sites like those of the slopes of the south side of the refuge.
Vase Flower or Sugarbowl (Clematis hirsutissima)
Wallflower (Erysimum asperum)
Western Rayless Coneflower (Rudbeckia occidentalis) Grows in wet places, along most creeks and lakes in the refuge.
Wild Blue Flax (Linum perenne)
Wild Blue Flax (Linum perenne)
Wild Blue Flax (Linum perenne) Found along the road next to Culver Pond
Wood's Rose (Rosa woodsii) Found along Red Rock Road west of campground under aspens.
Wood's Rose (Rosa woodsii) Found on northern hillside above Culver Pond. These do have the rose scent.
Elephant Head's Lousewort (Pedicularis groenlandica) This plant is found in the wet areas like those around Widgeon Pond. Elk will eat this plant.
Elephant Head's Lousewort (Pedicularis groenlandica) This plant likes to grow in or near standing water, like in the meadows around Widgeon Pond
Elephant Head's Lousewort (Pedicularis groenlandica) Growing at Widgeon Pond
Mountain sorrel and Lupine Sometimes flowers form their own bouquets in the Refuge.
Mealy Primrose (Primula incana) This is a rarity in Montana. The plant is small (5 inches tall) was found on July 7th
Mealy Primrose (Primula incana) This rare plant likes to grow in moist areas like those found within the Refuge.
Chives (Allium Schoenoprasum) Wild chives before blooming along Lower Red Rock road.
Blooms of Wild Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) These wild chives are identical to those growing in a garden.
Wild Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) A large group of wild chives was growing along the southern portion of Lower Lake Road. They smell like onions.
Alpine Milk Vetch (Astragalus alpinus) Locoweed found at Widgeon Pond area.
Douglas's Silene (Silene douglasii) A few specimens growing along the bank of Widgeon Pond. They secret sticky fluid to catch insects.
Douglas's Silene (Silene douglasii)
Yellow Monkey Flower (Mimulus guttatus) This is found on wet soils along streams. This one grows at Culver springs among the rocks.
Sage Buttercup (Ranunculus glaberrimus) Low growing next to Widgeon Pond in early July.
Trees provide shelter for many birds, mammals and plants. They also provide for slope soil stabilization along our southern mountain borders.
Aspen Trees (Populus tremuloides) Aspen trees line the forest on the south side of the refuge.
Aspen Trees (Populus tremuloides) These are in the 'Narrows' where the forest goes down to Upper Red Rock Lake.
Aspen Trees (Populus tremuloides) Aspens growing along the grasslands-forest boundary, south of the refuge.
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii subspecies glauca) This is the Rocky Mountain Douglas fir. The Douglas Fir is not a true fir tree. It is in a genus all it's own. The conical shape defines the younger Douglas Fir trees at the Refuge. This is the second most popular tree used for Christmas trees.
Cones from Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) This unusual cone is unique with, forked, snake-tongue-like bracts extending from each scale.
Cones from Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Douglas firs often live up to 500 years, with some living over a thousand years.
Douglas Fir Needles The needles are flat and about 1 to 2 inches long. There is no scent to the needles.
Douglas Fir Needles Closeup of Douglas Fir needles.
Douglas Firs, aspens and willow line Upper Red Rock Lake. Pseudotsuga menziesii dominates the tree canopy up to about 7000 feet on south facing slopes of the Centennial Range. These trees give birds and small mammals protection from predators and the weather.
Douglas Firs Many species of songbirds take seeds from Douglas-fir cones or forage for seeds from the ground. The most common are the Clark's Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadee, Black-capped Chickadee, Boreal Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Dark-eyed Junco, and Pine Siskin. Flocks of migrating Dark-eyed Juncos consume vast quantities of seeds and freshly germinated seedlings. Woodpeckers commonly feed in the bark of Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir. Blue Grouse forage on needles and buds in winter; they and other birds rely heavily on the Rocky Mountain Douglas-firs here for cover.
Douglas Fir and Aspens Aspens grow at the boundry of the forest. Douglas Firs climb Mount Taylor, south of the refuge.
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii subspecies glauca) bark This young Douglas Fir is growing on the hills north of Culver Pond in a small isolated stand.
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii subspecies glauca) and sagebrush This lone tree is growing on the northwest side of a hill north of Culver Pond. It is surrounded by sagebrush. June 2010.
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii subspecies glauca) This isolated stand of Douglas Fir grow on the northn slope of a hill with Widgeon Pond seen in the background.
Grasses provide food and forage for many animals, shelter and protection for birds and small mammals, and soil stabilization.
Baltic Rush (Juncus balticus) at Widgeon Pond Baltic rush is the most common of rushes in the northwestern region. It grows at the edge of ponds, creeks and lakes as we have in the refuge.
Baltic Rush (Juncus balticus) and Ruddy Duck Baltic rush provides hiding places for many duck species. Blackfoot Indians used the roots for making a brown dye, and other tribes used its stems to make baskets and mats.
Hardstem Bulrush (Schoenoplectus acutus) This giant sedge is also known as tule and grows in water forming islands in Lower Red Rock Lake. Many species of water ducks use them for nesting and protection.
Broadleaf Cattail and Great Basin Wildrye (Leymus cinereus) Along the north shore of Widgeon Pond.
Great Basin Wildrye (Leymus cinereus) clump Great Basin Wildrye often grows in clumps and has an extensive soil-binding, fibrous root system growing as deep as 80 inches. It is also known as basin wildrye,giant wildrye, and Great Basin lyme grass.
Basin Wildrye Great Basin Wildrye (Leymus cinereus) This grows extensively in the area south of Lower Lake. It provides cover and forage for a variety of small mammals, like voles and jack rabbits which in turn are food for larger mammals and birds, like hawks.
Beaked Sedge (Carex rostrata) seed Beaked sedge grows in areas where water is as far as 32 inches below the soil surface, as well as in areas with standing water as deep as 39 inches. Beaked sedge is an important component of valuable breeding and feeding grounds for geese and other waterfowl. Birds that are commonly associated with beaked sedge habitats are: mallard, green-winged teal, common yellowthroat, red-winged black bird, song sparrow, and tree swallow.
Broadleaf Cattails (Typha latifolia) The cattail is often the first wetland plant to colonize areas of newly exposed wet mud around the shoreline of our ponds and lakes; it also spreads by rhizomes, forming dense stands often to the exclusion of other plants.
Broadleaf Cattails (Typha latifolia) Growing along Widgeon pond these cattails provide a habitat for ducks like the Coot.
Foxtail Barley (Hordeum jubatum) Although this species is generally found on moist site in the refuge, it can withstand drought-like conditions on the northern side of the refuge. It is commonly found in lowland areas with restricted soil drainage, disturbed sites, waste areas and fields. Foxtail barley is a pioneer species or invader in disturbed areas and in areas with high salinity. It is among the first grasses to establish after disturbance and rapidly invades areas exposed by a receding water table.
Foxtail Barley (Hordeum jubatum) and Baltic Rush (Juncus balticus) Lower Lake view Foxtail barley, Baltic Rush and the Madison Range.
Foxtail Barley (Hordeum jubatum) The seed heads of foxtail barley, when dry, are very harmful to grazing animals. The upward-pointing barbs become easily attached and embedded in the animal's mouth and face, causing severe irritation, abscesses, and even blindness.
Widgeon Pond grasses A variety of water-loving grasses grow at Widgeon pond, providing cover and food for small birds, insects, and ducks, and a shaded habitat for wildflowers.
Widgeon Pond grasses A variety of specialized grasses grow along the shore at Widgeon Pond,including Cattails. Many ducks, esp. the Loons make nests and hide among reeds, and tall grasses like these.
Oat Grass to be identified
Grass to be identified Along the shore of Widgeon Pond in August
Shrubs provide grazing food for many animals in the refuge plus shelter for smaller mammals and birds.
Greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) Found mainly along Lower Lake road in the western part of the refuge and near Lower Lake dam, the Pronghorn browse on this but it is a favorite of jackrabbits.
Greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) leaves Greasewood is salt-tolerant and drought-tolerant.
Shrubby Cinquefoil (Pentaphylloides floribunda) This specimen was found in the moist area on the north side of Widgeon Pond, July. There are large stands of it on the eastern side of the refuge along Red Rock road.
Rabbit Brush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) On dryer sections of land, this is an aromatic chrub that contains latex. Indians burned the branches to smoke animal hides and to cover sweat lodges and floors.
Rabbit Brush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) with Lichen A beautiful combination of lichen encrusted rock with Rabbit Brush near Culver Pond.
Rabbit Brush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) Widgeon Pond makes a nice backdrop for the Rabbit brush growing in late summer.
Willow (salix) The willow shrub is the favorite food of the Moose here, especially in the winter when most of the other vegetation is gone. The willow likes a seasonally wet areas and grow in the semi-flooded grasslands at the refuge.
Willow Leaves (salix) Willow leaves can be regenerated quickly due to the shrubs quick photosynthesis rate.
Willows at east end of Upper Lake Willows like this provide food to Elk and Moose. Madison Range in the background.
Willows line Creek Willows often line the creeks in the Refuge.
Willows line Upper Lake Willows like the wet environment provided by Upper Red Rock Lake.
Willows and Sagebrush Wetland willows form a stark contrast between the sagebrush regions of the refuge.
Fungus, lichen, and moss help to stablize and enrich our eco-system.
elegant sunburst lichen (Xanthoria elegans) Grows on rocks throughout the refuge. Often grows where bird or small mammal droppings or urine acumulates.
Multiple forms of lichen growing on rock in refuge. Lichens consist of complex combinations of fungus and algae.
Lichen Many rocks sustain multiple species of lichens throughout the refuge.
Lichen At least 4 species of Lichen are visible on this rock.
Lichen Many lichen on this rock on hill above Culver Pond, northeast side of the refuge.
Lichen on rock On south facing hill on east side of refuge.
Lichon on rock
Lichen on hill above Culver Pond
Rock with Sunburst Lichen Many rocks like this throughout the refuge are covered with the bright orange Elegant Sunburst Lichen fed by the urine and droppings of birds and small mammals, wyoming squirrels and marmots.
Mushrooms Mushrooms are found all over the refuge, but mostly in the forested areas on the south side.
Mushrooms Mushrooms are fungus and don't rely on photosynthesis for food production or growth but use organic material found in the soil.

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US Fish and Wildlife Service, Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Montana USA