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:

January Winter Shrub Identification & Snowshoe. Have you ever thought naked shrubs have no identity? Join us and learn the secrets of distinguishing shrubs when they have no leaves. Andrea Pipp, Botanist for the Montana Natural Heritage Program, will provide two different experiences for exploring “shrubs in their winter condition”. The programs are free, open to ages 10yrs to adult, and of all skill levels (none to expert). Reservations are highly appreciated. The Wednesday session is strongly recommended as a pre-requisite to Saturday’s snowshoe:

Wednesday January 28, 2015 : 7:00pm-9:00pm, Carroll College Simperman Hall, Room 320

In the comforts of the indoors, you’ll learn how to distinguish different shrubs and see the diversity in our neighborhood. Andrea will bring the shrubs inside and teach you skills with samples and tools in a relaxed and fun setting. A map is attached. Easy Directions (map is attached): At Carroll College, park in Lot B, off of Lyndale Avenue. At the cross walk, cross Learning Street into Scola Hall (Building #24) and take the elevator or staircase up to the 3rd flood, walk west to Room 320 (which takes you into Simperman Hall, #10).  Map attached.

Saturday January 31, 2015 : 9:30am – 1:30pm snowshoe and lunch, Moose Creek Campground

This event is co-sponsored by the Kelsey Chapter of the Native Plant Society and the Montana Discovery Foundation. Meet at 9:30am at Moose Creek Campground on Rimini Road. The Discovery Foundation will provide snowshoes* or you can bring your own. We’ll stomp around on snowshoes, explore the riparian and forested areas, and discover what shrubs are around us. Then we’ll gather for lunch (homemade soup, bread, dessert, and hot chocolate will be provided!) at the Moose Creek Cabin. It’s all free so come outside, explore nature, and share with good company. Appropriate attire to bring includes: waterproof pants, sturdy boots, layer as appropriate for the weather conditions, and water. Directions: From Helena head west on Highway 12. Before driving up McDonald pass, turn left onto Rimini Road and note road sign; the campground is about 4-miles up Rimini Road on your left. Map attached.

*For more information or to make reservations (required for snowshoes) contact Andrea Pipp at (406) 439-0284. For reservations please provide your name and, if snowshoes are needed, your weight category (less than or more than 130 pounds) by end of Thursday January 29th.


        February Warm Season Grass Identification.  Scott Mincemoyer, Botanist, will teach us to recognize Montana’s warm season grasses.

Wednesday February 11, 2015:   7:00-9:00pm at Carroll College, Simperman Hall, Room 320.  No sign-up necessary.


  • 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 21. 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 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.
  • Sunday, June 21. Colorado Mountain Hike. Celebrate the first day of summer with a hike beginning at the Ten Mile Ranger Station and proceeding up to the old lookout site on Colorado Mountain. This fairly rigorous hike follows an old Forest Service trail that serviced the lookout. The trail passes through a variety of montane habitats both wet and dry and may allow us to see Trollius laxus along with other late spring/early summer blooms. Meet at the old Ten Mile Ranger station on Rimini Road at 10:00. Bring a lunch and water and wear sturdy shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather. For more information, contact Bob Person at (406) 443-4678 – if no answer, please leave a message mentioning the event.
  • 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 .