“the quawmash is now in blume”

“the quawmash is now in blume
and from the colour of its bloom at
a short distance it resembles lakes
of fine clear water, so complete is
this deseption that on first sight I
could have swoarn it was water.”

So said Captain Meriwether Lewis on June 12, 1806 at what L&C called the Glade Creek Camp — today known as Packer Meadows. He also noted that “Musquetoes our old companions have become very troublesome.” Well, on June 13, 2009 (missed the anniversary by a day) the camas bloom was just beginning. The vast majority of the flowers are still buds. I expect peak bloom will be in 5-8 days. However, the mosquitos are now, as then and always, quite troublesome.

Early bloomer


Hummingbirds, bumble bees and drone flies were busy pollinating and lady beetles were on hand to protect the camas from aphids.

Seven Spotted Lady Beetle

This is a 7 spotted lady beetle, an import from Europe on one of North America’s native camas flowers. The 7 spotted lady beetle (C-7) is a productive aphid predator that has been introduced to North America both deliberately and accidentally. It’s a shame, though, that in Montana they are out competing and replacing the native lady beetles of the region. However, gladly I did see some of the native lady beetles of region making an appearance as well.

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