Description: Greenish-white wheel-shaped flowers one-half to three-quarters of an inch across with purple spots grow from stalks that extend from above leaves near the top of a stem 2 to 5 feet tall. Lance-shaped leaves are up to 1 foot long near the base of the plant and decrease in size up the stem. Grows in open areas in mountains with medium-dry to moist soil. Blooms June through early August. (Peterson Field Guides’ Rocky Mountain Wildflowers, by John J. Craighead, Frank C. Craighead Jr. and Ray J. Davis.)
Recently seen: Storm Lake and Goat Flat in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness.
The walk: To reach Storm Lake, turn west off of Montana Highway 1 onto Storm Lake Road – Forest Road 675 – about 17 miles southeast of Philipsburg and 12 miles west of Anaconda. Continue about nine miles to the lake, following a fork to the left just after crossing an irrigation ditch at about a quarter-mile and another fork to the left at about 3 1/4 miles. (The road is good until the last couple of miles, which are bumpy and rutted.) From the northeast corner of the lake, near its outlet, follow the trail south along the western shore. Look for distinct green gentians in openings among the trees on the shore. At the southern end of the lake, the trail climbs a series of switchbacks, rounds an open meadow and ascends several more switchbacks to Storm Lake Pass at about 2 1/4 miles. Look for gentians again among openings in the trees along the upper set of switchbacks. From the pass, the route traverses the steep southeast side of Mount Tiny to Goat Flat at about three miles. Look for more gentians in this high, open meadow. From the flat, return to the trailhead or continue on to Upper Seymour Lake. To reach Upper Seymour, follow a series of rock cairns and wooden posts generally along the eastern side of the flat to a rocky outcrop, where the trail descends numerous switchbacks to the lake at about 5 1/2 miles.