Where Are the Bloomin' Wildflowers?

The Yellowstone is a wild flower garden. Wander where you will, you have the ever new charm, the finishing touch, the ever refreshing radiance of the wild flowers. --Enos Mills, Your National Parks, 1917

Finding Flowers

Capture the color, brilliance, hue, shape and texture of Yellowstone on canvas, film and in person. Experience Yellowstone in bloom!

In looking for wildflowers, keep in mind that elevation, relative temperatures, soil types and precipitation patterns all play a role in what you find blooming in various areas at different times of the year. In addition, far-reaching events like the fires of 1988 can cause spectacular blooms of species which thrive on the conditions these events create.

All of these variables add up to one universal fact -- wildflowers are where you find them! This list will help you get started. More detailed books and a listing of ranger led activities, some of which deal with flower topics, are available at visitor centers throughout the park.

More than a pretty flower

Remember that many of Yellowstone's wildflowers are also very important parts of the diets of animals. The bulbs of spring beauty and glacier lily, for example, are vital spring foods of the grizzly bear. Wild strawberries are collected by ground squirrels and chipmunks; the seeds of most wild flowers are used by birds and insects. Even the beautiful and delicate petals of many flowers are used by animals. Porcupines may sometimes be seen munching flower petals. Bees and other insects collect nectar and pollen.

Natives... and Exotics

Some rather obvious exotic plants (escaped domestics and "weeds") can be found in Yellowstone. Look for them in disturbed sites like road- sides, where they have little initial competition. Dalmation toadflax, yellow sweetclover, ox eye daisy and other exotic plants compete unnaturally with native plants. For this reason, and for the continued integrity of our "natural" ecosystem, these exotics are actively controlled by pulling and / or spraying.

Enjoy the wildflowers, but please don't pick them! Happy flowering!

Wildflowers: Where and When They Bloom in Yellowstone

Marsh marigold Wet meadows Parkwide, Beartooth Mountains May - July
Northern bedstraw Northern Range July - August
White geranium Moist areas Parkwide July - August
Phlox Parkwide May - July
Wild strawberry Parkwide May - July
Yampa Parkwide in meadows July - August
Cow parsnip Wet areas Parkwide July - August
Woodland star Meadows Parkwide May - June
Yarrow Parkwide June - September
Pussytoes Parkwide June - July
Spring beauty Parkwide April - June
Bistort Meadows Parkwide, Beartooth Mountains June - August
Ladies tresses Thermal areas, meadows July - August
Arnica Parkwide June - August
Groundsel Parkwide June - September
Yellow bells Hayden Valley, Dunraven Pass May - June
Glacier lily Lake area, Dunraven Pass May - June
Cinquefoil Parkwide June - August
Stonecrop Barren areas, Parkwide June - August
Yellow monkey flower Thermal areas, bogs, creeks May - August
Rabbit brush Northern Range August - September
Balsamroot Northern Range June - July
Prickly pear cactus Gardiner / Mammoth area Late June
Yellow pond lily Ponds, slow streams Parkwide July - August
Sulfur buckwheat Parkwide June - August
Yellow violet Moist meadows Parkwide May - June
Globeflower Boggy areas, Beartooth Mountains May - July
Helianthella Dunraven Pass July - August
Shooting star Meadows Parkwide May - June
Calypso orchid Rare Parkwide May - June
Prairie smoke Meadows Parkwide June - July
Coralroot Forest floor Parkwide June - July
Bitterroot Northern Range May - June
Elephant head Moist meadows Parkwide June - July
Twinflower Moist forests June - July
Indian paintbrush Parkwide June - August
Wild rose Northern Range June - July
Sticky geranium Northern Range, meadows Parkwide June - August
Fireweed Parkwide July - August
Lewis monkey flower Dunraven Pass July - August
Fringed gentian Geyser basins, meadows Parkwide May - August
Harebell Parkwide July - August
Wild flax Dry meadows Parkwide June - August
Blue penstemon Meadows Parkwide June - August
Lupine Parkwide June - August
Sky pilot Beartooth Mountains July - August
Baby blue eyes Northern Range June - July,
Phacelia Dunraven Pass, Northern Range May - July
Alpine forget-me-not Beartooth Mountains June - August
Stickseed Northern Range June - July
Bluebells Moist meadows, along streams May - July
Clematis Mammoth / Tower area May - June
Larkspur Meadows Parkwide May - August
Monkshood Moist areas Parkwide June - July
Wild iris Meadows, Northern Range June
Pasqueflower Northern Range May - June
Aster / fleabane Parkwide May - September

From Yellowstone Information Paper #286