Beargrass Blooms in Glacier National Park - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Beargrass Blooms in Glacier National Park

Posted: Updated:

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) is a common wildflower found in Glacier National Park and this year has produced prolific blossoms, especially near park headquarters on the west-side of the park.
 
Beargrass is not a grass, but a member of the Melanthiaceae family (recently split from the lily family). The plant is native to Montana, but can also be found in subalpine meadows and coastal mountains throughout the Pacific Northwest, extending from British Columbia to northern California and eastward to Alberta and northwestern Wyoming. Beargrass can grow up to five feet in height with long and wiry, grass-like basal leaves at the base of the stalk and a cluster of small, dense white flowers at the top. Bears do not eat the plant, but they will use leaves as denning material. Sheep, deer, elk, and goats are known to eat beargrass.
 
Beargrass can bloom whenever climatic conditions are ideal, not necessarily every seven years as common myth suggests. A single plant may have numerous basal rosettes on a common root system. Each rosette will bloom only once. Factors for abundant plant blooming include ideal amounts of spring rainfall and moisture present in the soil. While some beargrass can be found blooming every year, park managers note that mass blossoming of beargrass typically occurs every five to ten years in Glacier National Park. Blooming can begin in late May in lower elevations and continue into August in the high country.
 
The plant was first called beargrass by members of the Lewis and Clark expedition, 19th century explorers of western America. At that time "Bear grass" was a common name for yucca (commonly called soapweed today), which bears a superficial resemblance to beargrass.  Native Americans have used beargrass leaves for basket weaving and roots were used to treat injuries. Other common names for this plant include bear lily, pine lily, elk grass, squaw grass, and turkeybeard.
 
Visitors are encouraged to experience the abundance of beargrass in Glacier National Park this year, but are reminded that picking flowers or collecting plants is prohibited within the park.

  • NationalMore>>

  • 2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

    2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-07-30 15:02:02 GMT
    A video camera captured the terrifying plight of two women who became trapped on an 80-foot-high railroad bridge in Indiana when a freight train surprised them as they walked along the tracks.
    A video camera captured the terrifying plight of two women who became trapped on an 80-foot-high railroad bridge in Indiana when a freight train surprised them as they walked along the tracks.
  • US economy grew at strong 4 percent rate in spring

    US economy grew at strong 4 percent rate in spring

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-07-30 15:01:37 GMT
    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.
    After a dismal winter, the U.S. economy sprang back to life in the April-June quarter, growing at a fast 4 percent annual rate on the strength of higher consumer and business spending.
  • UCLA wades through damages from pipe flooding

    UCLA wades through damages from pipe flooding

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:59 AM EDT2014-07-30 14:59:07 GMT
    The quiet summer campus of UCLA found itself suddenly steeped in water and chaos after a major water pipe burst and spewed some eight million gallons, stranding people in parking garages and flooding the...
    The quiet summer campus of UCLA suddenly was steeped in water and chaos after a major water pipe burst and spewed some 8 million gallons, stranding people in parking garages and flooding the school's storied basketball...
  • Most Popular

Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.