Trees & Plants - A Close-Up
 Wildflowers - A Close-Up


A Close-Up of Some Common Trees & Non-Flowering Plants

Lodgepole Pine

Grow straight and tall, perfect for tipi poles, hence its name “lodgepole”. Shade-intolerant needles 2-5 cm long and, unique to lodgepoles only, grow in twos. Very low reproductively by long, egg-shaped, hard cones in the absence of forest fires.



Grows up to 1 m high in roughly circular patches with prickly needle-like leaves. Berry-like cones are green in first year, blue-purple in their mature second year.  Used as strong incense, flavoring in gin, and beads for clothing by some native tribes.


Wolf Willow

Grows up to 1.5 m tall or higher with very sweet, pungent smell.  Resembles a willow, but isn’t; more closely related to Canadian Buffaloberry.  Also called Silverberry from gray-silver coating on its stems, leaves, and berries.  Used for food, beadwork, and rope, nets, and fishing line by many native tribes.



Normally 10-30 cm tall with lots of side branches that give it a frilly look.  Contains considerable amounts of calcium that can be used in healing bone and tissue.  Contains silica, an abrasive compound, which can be harmful, but great as a scrubber.  Used by some native tribes as a diuretic and for gum relief in teething children.


Usnea Lichen

Result of symbiotic association between algae and fungi; grows on bark or tree limbs.  Easily identifiable by inner, white, central cord beneath outer green sheath.  Clinical trials suggest it may heal strains of tuberculosis, cancer, and open wounds.

                                  Photography Credits: Gregory Tilford and Hälle Flyģare

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A Close-Up of Some Common Wildflowers

Indian Paintbrush

10-60 cm tall with spike-like terminate flower clusters ranging from white to crimson.  A parasitic flower, attaching its roots to those of other plants for part of their nutrients.  Absorbs selenium from soil and so can be poisonous in some areas.  Used for rheumatism, venereal disease, hair gloss, and paintbrush by some natives.


Calypso Orchid

Earliest orchid to bloom in the Rockies, and one of the most enchantingly lovely.  Stem and leaves grow from a corm with weak roots; very fragile even to a light touch.  Begins growing when a single leaf with parallel veins that converge at the tip appears in late summer then persistently grows through winter, dieing early next summer.


Western Wood Lily

Can grow up to 0.5 m tall or more with upright flower of petals of orange/orange-red.  Flowers may be 6-10 cm across. Frequently mistaken for a Tiger Lily, which is a separate Asian species. Quickly becoming rare as it is often picked.



20-50 cm tall with flat clusters of small white flowers. Strongly aromatic with a pungency similar to sage and mothballs. One of the oldest and best-known herbal medicines in the world, most often for colds. Used also as an analgesic, diaphoretic, blood clotter, and for circulatory diseases.



Up to 1.5 m tall with dozens of small pink flowers on a tall spike.  Grows best in disturbed areas, such as roadsides or burn sites, as a forest regenerator.  Flowers were rubbed into rawhide for waterproofing by some native tribes, and leaves and shoots are very high in vitamin C and beta-carotene.


Wild Strawberry

Small, three-parted, toothy leaflets with showy white flowers.  Berries with all the flavor of farmed strawberries concentrated into a berry the size of the tip of your little finger. Used in teas to soothe inflammations and as a tonic for female reproductive system.


Heartleaf Arnica

35-70 cm tall with cheerful lemon-yellow flowers, 5-8 cm across. Very useful in topically treating muscles after sprains, strains, and bruises. Highly toxic when ingested and used to poison arrows by some native tribes.

                                  Photography Credits: Gregory Tilford and Hälle Flyģare

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