Kelsey Chapter

Kelseya uniflora in bloom
 Kelseya uniflora, the mascot plant of the Montana Native Plant Society, is named for its discoverer, Francis Kelsey, namesake of the Kelsey Chapter. (Peter Lesica photo)


The Kelsey Chapter serves native plant enthusiasts in the greater Helena area. Programs are held throughout the year at various locations in Helena. Watch for announcements below and in the Helena Independent Record.

For more information about Kelsey Chapter programs and events:

Kathy Lloyd
503 State Street
Helena, MT 59601
(406) 449-6586(406) 449-6586

Patrick Plantenberg (Programs)

133 Maple Street

Townsend MT 59644

(406) 444-4960(406) 444-4960 


Interested in Native Plant Landscaping in our area? Click here 

Programs and Activities:


  • Wednesday, April 15, 7:00pm. State Native Plant Gardens. Ever wanted to put in a native plant garden and wonder how it can be done successfully? The Montana Native Plant Society, Kelsey Chapter is sponsoring a free program on Native Plant Gardening on April 15th at 7 pm at Montana Wild at 2668 Broadwater Avenue in Helena. The program is being presented by Madeline Mazurski and Clare Beelman who are members of the Montana Native Plant Society, Clark Fork Chapter. Madeline is Co-President of the Clark Fork Chapter. Madeline and Clare are Co-Chairs of the Montana Native Plant Society Landscape/Publications Committee.

    The Montana Native Plant Society has funded native plant gardening projects in many areas of Montana. Madeline and Clare have visited many of those gardens in the Billings, Bozeman, Townsend, and Helena area. What has worked? What has not? They will be presenting preliminary results of their Native Plant Garden Tour. They are focusing on public gardens, particularly ones funded by the Montana Native Plant Sociey, Small Grants Fund or local Society Chapters. Their conclusions are very applicable to the home landscape. They also want to raise the awareness of the public native plant gardens in our area so people can visit these examples.

    Madeline Mazurski has a BS in Botany and a BLA & MLA in Landscape Architecture. Her business is Montana Native Landscapes in Missoula which she has run for 18 years, specializing in native plant and water-wise landscape design.

    Clare Beelman has her Master Gardener certification from Utah, has designed, installed, and maintained gardens of plants that are native or well-adapted to the western landscape over the past two decades. She has volunteered as a gardener at the Montana Native Botanic Garden on the University of Montana campus for about five years. Clare has selected and grown many different species of Montana native plants for the Montana Native Plant Sociey, Clark Fork Chapter's annual plant sale with a goal of providing native plants to gardeners that will do well in a horticultural setting.

    Yes, spring is here! Come join us for a fun-filled evening and discussion. See you at Montana Wild!


  • Sunday, April 26. Kelseya uniflora. Join us to visit the plant discovered by our chapter's namesake Francis Kelsey. This early blooming rose family plant should be showing it's colors right about this time. It is a short walk to see this plant, but depending on conditions, we may wander up the Trout Creek Canyon to see what else early spring has to offer. The first mile is an easy "accessible" trail. The trip is out and back. For more information, contact Bob Person at (406) 443-4678 – if no answer, please leave a message mentioning the event.


  • Thursday, May 28. [Note date change]Mount Helena Spring Wildflowers. The third week in May is set for "Celebrating Wildflowers" a program for grade schools jointly sponsored by the Forest Service, the Discovery Foundation, and the Kelsey Chapter. The Kelsey Chapter and the Prickly Pear Land Trust invite you to celebrate wildflowers yourself on an evening walk of about a mile the following week on the same route the grade school children follow to see a wide variety of spring blooming plants on Mount Helena. Meet at the Main Mount Helena Trailhead above Reeder's Village at 7:00pm and plan for about a 2 hour walk. For more information, contact Bob Person at (406) 443-4678 – if no answer, please leave a message mentioning the event.
  • Saturday, June 13, Ninemile Orchid Hike – a Team Effort. Andie "Rose" MacDowell would like to invite members of the Montana Native Plant Society to attend a native plant tour on her property in the Ninemile Valley west of Missoula. The Kelsey and Clark Fork Chapters have teamed up with The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) to offer the hike to look for orchids and other native plants. This unique event will take place in “the cedars,” a small drainage dominated by western red cedar on the MacDowell property. Rose would like to share the amazing beauty of the cedars and welcomes anyone who loves to hunt for wildflowers in the woods!

The Ninemile was originally settled in the late 1800’s by prospectors and gold miners. By 1920, most of the gold mining efforts had ceased and ranching and logging dominated private landownership. In 1937, the Thisted Family bought the ranch that included the cedars. In 1993, MacDowell became a landowner in the Ninemile and in 1994 placed a conservation easement on her 2,000-acre property with MLR, creating one of the largest MLR conservation easements west of the Continental Divide. Over the years, Rose has built and maintains a walking trail through the cedars to view wildflowers and other native plants that grow under the thick cedar canopy.

The mission of MLR is to partner with private landowners to permanently protect agricultural lands, fish and wildlife habitat, and open space. The immediate accomplishments of MLR’s conservation work are measured in miles of streambank and acres of land and habitat protected. The lasting benefits of MLR’s work are the perpetuation of a lifestyle and an economy that rely on responsibly managed private land and increasingly valuable Montana open spaces that will continue to nourish the spirit of future generations.

As of the end of 2014, MLR’s voluntary conservation easements protect 943,548 acres of ecologically, agriculturally, and historically important land and over 1,614 miles of stream frontage. The preservation of intact private lands in Montana allows the continued diversity of wildlife in numbers unimaginable anywhere else in the lower 48 states. Over 10,000 acres of wetland habitat has been protected, some of which participants will have a chance to explore on this hike.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, June 13, 2015. Carpooling from Helena and Missoula will be offered. Contact Kathy in Helena ( and Clare in Missoula ( for carpooling information. We will then convene at the Ninemile Community Hall at 10:30 a.m. and carpool to the parking area near the cedars. The hike is easy-moderate in difficulty. Bring a bag-lunch, something to drink, and appropriate clothing and boots.

MLR is interested in establishing a tradition of summer plant tours on conserved properties to help demonstrate how conservation easements protect some of Montana’s most precious habitat. You may also contact Mark Schiltz at MLR ( for more information.

  • Sunday, August 2. Rimini Red Mountain Hike. Peter Lesica, author of the definitive, Vascular Plants of Montana will accompany local plant enthusiasts as visiting botanist enriching our outing. This is a fairly rigorous hike to the summit of Rimini Red Mountain, which offers a broken igneous stone alpine summit with view is all directions. Along with a variety of summer flowers along the trail to the top, we may be able to see Hulsea algida in bloom in the fellfield near the summit. We will meet at the trailhead at 10:00 with specific directions to be available for those planning to come along. Bring a lunch and water and wear sturdy shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather. Overall, the round trip will cover about 4 miles including a fairly steep section. For more information, contact Bob Person at (406) 443-4678 – if no answer, please leave a message mentioning the event.
 Chapter Projects


The Flora of Mount Helena  The Flora of Mount Helena database includes most of the nearly 300 vascular plant species found on Mount Helena. The database is maintained by the Lewis and Clark Library and updated by the Kelsey Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society. Click here to access the database online.

The Flora of Mount Helena permanent specimen collection is housed in the Montana section at the Lewis and Clark Library in Helena. The collection is arranged alphabetically by scientific name. Nomenclature follows Dorn 1984. An index is provided that allows cross-referencing by common name and common family name. Click here for a pdf file of the species list.

The Flora of Mount Helena collection is a joint project of the Kelsey Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society and the Lewis and Clark Library. The Kelsey Chapter formally donated the specimen collection to the Lewis and Clark Library in 1999.

For more information about the collection or to make suggestions, call the Montana Native Plant Society at 406-449-6586406-449-6586 .