Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountains

The distribution of vegetation in the Rocky Mountains correlates directly to elevational changes, which influence the temperature and availability of moisture. Different plant communities characterize each zone (such as foothill, montane, subalpine, and alpine) from the base of a mountain to the top, and each zone may contain several types of plant communities. More than 5,000 plant species occur in the Rocky Mountains. The wildflowers begin to bloom in early spring, as soon as the snow starts to melt. The peak bloom season is mid-summer. This collection highlights some of the most common wildflowers found in the Rocky Mountains.


Thumb Species Characteristics

Aquilegia coerulea
Colorado blue columbine, Rocky Mountain columbine

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Shade
Water: Moist

Arnica cordifolia
Heart-leaf leopardbane, Heartleaf arnica

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Part-shade
Water: Moist

Balsamorhiza sagittata
Arrowleaf balsamroot, Arrow-leaf balsamroot

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water: Moist

Calochortus nuttallii
Sego lily, Mariposa lily, Sego-lily

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water: Dry

Caltha leptosepala
Elkslip, White marsh marigold, White marsh-marigold

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Part-shade
Water: Wet

Campanula rotundifolia
Bluebell bellflower, Bluebell-of-Scotland, Harebell, Witches' thimble

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun, Shade, Part-shade
Water: Dry

Cardamine cordifolia
Heartleaf bittercress

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Shade
Water:

Castilleja rhexiifolia
Splitleaf Indian paintbrush, Rosy indian-paintbrush

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Part-shade
Water: Dry

Chamerion angustifolium
Fireweed, Willow herb, Great willow herb

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light:
Water:

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda
Shrubby cinquefoil, Golden hardhack, Potentilla

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Light: Sun
Water: Dry

Delphinium barbeyi
Subalpine larkspur

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Shade
Water:

Dodecatheon pulchellum
Darkthroat shooting star, Few-flower shooting star, Western shooting star

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Part-shade
Water: Moist

Erysimum capitatum
Prairie rocket, Sand-dune wallflower, Sanddune wallflower, Western wallflower

Duration: Biennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water: Dry

Gaillardia aristata
Common gaillardia, Great blanketflower, Blanketflower, Brown-eyed susan

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water: Dry

Gentiana calycosa
Rainier pleated gentian

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Part-shade
Water: Moist

Ipomopsis aggregata
Scarlet gilia, Scarlet standing-cypress, Skyrocket, Skunkflower

Duration: Biennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Part-shade
Water: Dry

Lewisia rediviva
Bitter root, Oregon bitter-root

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Part-shade
Water:

Linum lewisii
Wild blue flax, Prairie flax, Lewis flax

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Subshrub
Light: Sun
Water: Dry

Lupinus sericeus
Silky lupine

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun, Shade, Part-shade
Water: Moist, Dry

Mertensia ciliata
Mountain bluebells, Tall fringe bluebells, Tall fringed bluebells

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Part-shade
Water: Wet

Mimulus lewisii
Purple monkeyflower, Great purple monkey-flower, Lewis monkey-flower

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Part-shade
Water: Wet

Monarda fistulosa
Wild bergamot, Beebalm

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun, Part-shade
Water: Moist, Dry

Orthocarpus luteus
Yellow owl's-clover

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water:

Pedicularis groenlandica
Elephanthead lousewort

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water: Moist

Penstemon angustifolius
Broadbeard penstemon, Broadbeard beardtongue, Whorled penstemon, Whorled beardtongue

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water:

Phacelia sericea
Purplefringe, Silky phacelia

Duration: Biennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Part-shade
Water:

Phlox pulvinata
Cushion phlox

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light:
Water:

Phyllodoce empetriformis
Pink mountain heath, Pink mountain heather

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Light: Part-shade
Water: Moist

Primula parryi
Parry's primrose

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light:
Water:

Pulsatilla patens
Eastern pasqueflower, American Pasqueflower

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water: Dry

Ranunculus eschscholtzii
Eschscholtz's buttercup, Subalpine Buttercup

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water:

Scabrethia scabra ssp. scabra
Badlands mule-ears

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Subshrub
Light:
Water:

Sedum lanceolatum
Lanceleaf Stonecrop, Spearleaf stonecrop

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water:

Symphyotrichum spathulatum var. spathulatum
Western mountain aster

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light:
Water:

Tetraneuris grandiflora
Alpine sunflower, Graylocks four-nerve daisy, Old-man-of-the-mountain, Rydbergia

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Light: Sun
Water: Moist