Photo Friday: Spring Arrives at the Glaciers!

Posted by on Apr 7, 2017

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The delicate Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum), which blooms just after the snow melts, is our indication that spring is here! The species is now blooming in mountainous areas like the Rocky Mountains and will continue to bloom until mid-August. The flower grows best in rich, moist soil along stream banks and in meadows. Bears, deer, elk, and ground squirrels all eat different parts of the droopy flower, also known as the Avalanche Lily. Meriwether Lewis, famous for the early 19th century Lewis and Clark expedition, mentioned the species numerous times in his 1806 journal. Historians speculate that Lewis’ interest stemmed from the flower’s status as a harbinger of spring.

See images of the Glacier Lily below.

Glacier Lilies (Source: GlacierNPS/Creative Commons)

Glacier Lilies (Source: Glacier NPS/Creative Commons).

 

Marmots playing in a Glacier Lily meadow in Montana (Source: Glacier National Park/Creative Commons).

Marmots playing in a Glacier Lily meadow in Montana (Source: Glacier National Park/Creative Commons).

 

Close up of a Glacier Lily (Source: YellowstoneNPS).

Close-up of a Glacier Lily (Source: Yellowstone NPS/Creative Commons).

 

Nature at work (Source: United States Department of Agriculture)

Nature at work (Source: United States Department of Agriculture).

 

 Glacier Lily specimen that Meriwether Lewis collected on May 8, 1806, along Idaho’s Clearwater River (Source: Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia).


Glacier Lily specimen that Meriwether Lewis collected on May 8, 1806, along Idaho’s Clearwater River (Source: Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia).

 

 

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