Monday, June 20

June Wildflowers

It's raining, it's's a good thing I finally got out for a drive with the camera Sat., because the break from the wind or overcast weather was short-lived. It doesn't feel like late June! Not that we aren't having sunshine...but to have sun and only a light breeze at the same time is rare so far. Have you ever tried to take wildflower photos in the wind? I drove along Elk Creek on the E edge of the Black Hills, and then further E just beyond the foothills....

I was pleasantly surprised to find a few black henbane plants along Elk Creek; I didn't see them last year in this area and the only place I have seen them would cost a small fortune in gas to visit. Black henbane is from the Potato Family, and is poisonous (foliage and seeds).

Stemless hymenoxys, a.k.a. butte marigold, grows abundantly in the Hills...from a distance or certain angles it does appear to not have a stem....from the Aster Family...

Dame's rocket is also common, and it is mostly not this purple color, it's a 'red' color that my cameras refuse to capture's from the Mustard Family...

Goatsbeard, or yellow salsify, another aster, is frequent in the Hills...ok, I refuse to use the four-lettered word "weed" to describe any wildflower..."weed" just means that a plant grows abundantly on roadsides...

Blue penstemon, a.k.a. smooth beardtongue, is one of five penstemons growing in the Hills; they like the rocky roadsides like this red clay landscape. They're a figwort. A poultice of the leaves was used by some Native American tribes to treat snake bite, and tea from the leaves was drunk to inhibit vomiting.

Elk Creek from a cement bridge that crosses it along Bethlehem Rd....

Dalmatian toadflax, another figwort.

Hound's tongue, or gypsyflower, is from the Borage Family...not hard to figure out why it's called hound's tongue...

White campion is, confusingly, from the Pink Family, and a real headache to get a clear photo of (like many wildflowers)...

One of my favorites, red (or wild) columbine, is a BH field guide says they're frequent at low to mid elev. in the E Hills but I would disagree. I know two places they grow. Certain Native Americans used crushed seeds as a perfume and love charm.  :o)

Now I've reached the dry, rocky landscape E of the Hills...where the white milkwort grows. The Sioux used it to treat earache, and was traded among Plains Indians as a medicine.

Wouldn't you know, W. South Dakota doesn't have the brilliant red paintbrush, it has downy paintbrush (above) and sulfur paintbrush (pale green). Oh well, it's still an interesting, unique flower. Yet another Figwort Family member. Downy paintbrush is common in native grasslands across the N. plains.

Yellow wild buckwheat is one of two attractive buckwheats that grow in this area. Its flowers are supposed to be excellent for honey production.

Lambert crazyweed, a.k.a. purple locoweed, is from the Legume Family. Lots of legumes grow in the Black Hills and surrounding areas...this is the most common crazyweed in N. Plains grasslands.

Found outside of the actual Hills, desert plume, or golden prince's plume, is not noted in my BH "botany Bible" as I call it. Another plant I had previously had to travel several miles to find, this one in the S region of the foothills, so I was happy to find it last year close to home along a farm road. It's a mustard.

Butte candle, from the Borage Family. These are just a few of so many wildflowers that grow in this area. June and July are the main months that they grow. A few grow in April, May, and Aug., and by Sept. they're all gone. Ugh.


  1. You certainly have an abundance of wildflowers to enjoy, Jann. Black henbane and Hound's tongue are new to me. You captured lovely heart shape in your photo of Elk Creek.

  2. They have been nice this year, haven't they?
    I have been pulling hound's tongue out by the bushelful. I get real tired of taking the resulting beggar's ticks out of dog and cat fur, or finding them in my socks!
    Never have seen henbane before, interesting.

  3. You mention various places to visit in the Black Hills and I wish to add one more. You can see many of the wild flowers on your list from the 1880 Train going from Hill City to Keystone.

  4. Hi, I like that you refuse to call them weeds. There is an appropriate term for them though, other than weeds. the word is "invasive" These plants outcompete native productive species and are often harmful to wildlife. "hounds tongue" for example (cynoglossom officinale) attacks the liver, and will make an animal suffer for up to 6 months before it eventually kills it (if a lethal dose is taken). They change eco-systems, and fire regimes.

    I love your blog, and love your attitude towards species not native to the area (of course, not all non-natives, are invasive, or harmful) Your pictures are wonderful. But I did want to comment on your casual inference that "weeds are simply..."