By Andi Bourne
Pathfinder 

Beargrass flourishing

 

Skylar Rispens, Pathfinder

Flowering beargrass on the Morrell Road, June 22.

Anyone driving north of Seeley Lake has been greeted with a sea of beargrass blooms covering the forest floor. Resident Jenny Rohrer, who lives at the Summit between Seeley Lake and Condon, said, "This is the most sensational year of flowers since 2003 when I arrived. Up here on the Summit they are tall and everywhere."

While Seeley Lake resident Jeff Harrits agrees that this year is a spectacular year for the blooms especially starting just south of Lake Inez and extending north to Lindbergh Lake. However, he feels 2009 was the year to beat because of the volume and height of the stalks and how widespread the flowers were. Harrits photographed blooms blanketing the forest floor north of Seeley Lake, up to Marshall Lake, all around Mount Morrell Lookout, and out on the Cottonwood Lakes/Monture Road as far as the Shanley Creek Road.

According to the US Forest Service Fire Effects Information System (https://www.feis-crs.org/feis/), common beargrass, Xerophyllum tenax, is a perennial, evergreen herb from the lily family with basal leaves that form dense clumps or tussocks. Plants flower in spring to early summer, depending on elevation. Colonies of common beargrass tend to bloom in five to seven year cycles. When it does bloom, flowers appear in late spring to early summer depending on elevation. It produces a leafy flowering stalk that may be up to six feet tall with numerous small white flowers.


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Jenny Rohrer

The beargrass flowers stand tall on the Summit with McDonald Peak in the background. Photo Jenny Rohrer

 

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