• Strike Valley and the Waterpocket Fold

    Capitol Reef

    National Park Utah

Wildflowers

Showy Four O'Clocks

NPS

Common Name: Showy Four O'Clock

Scientific Name: Mirabilis multiflora

Size (height): Up to 36 in (91 cm) tall

Habitat: Mixed desert scrub, pinyon juniper woodlands; often grows in the shade of a tree.

Flowering Season: May-July

Range: Utah, western US

Location in park: Widespread in the park; can be seen along the Hickman Bridge trail, in Grand Wash, and in Capitol Gorge.

Description: Showy four o'clock is a sprawling perennial that can spread to 36 in (91 cm) wide. It has bright green, egg-shaped leaves with magenta flowers that open in the afternoon. Native Americans used these flowers for medicinal purposes.

 
Ferron Milkvetch

NPS

Common Name: Ferron Milkvetch

Scientific Name: Astragalus musiniensis

Size (height): 1-5 in (2.5-12.7 cm)

Habitat: Mixed desert scrub, salt desert, pinyon juniper woodlands

Flowering Season: April-May

Range: Occurs only in south-central Utah

Location in park: Found throughout the lower elevations of the park.

Description: Ferron milkvetch is a fairly common perennial herb, endemic to the Colorado Plateau. It is a stemless plant with short, silvery hair. It has compound leaves that are elliptical shaped up to 5 in (12.7 cm) long and pink or purple flowers.

 
Yellow Catspaw

NPS

Common Name: Yellow Catspaw

Scientific Name: Cryptantha flava

Size (height): 5-15 in (12.7-38.1 cm)

Habitat: Saltbush scrub, mixed desert scrub, pinyon juniper woodlands

Flowering Season: April-July

Range: Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona

Location in park: Common throughout the park, typically on hillsides and uplands of clay soils. It can be seen along the Scenic Drive, the Hickman Bridge trail, in Grand Wash, and in Capitol Gorge.

Description: Yellow catspaw is a perennial herb with numerous stems and narrow leaves covered with stiff hairs on the underside. It has yellow flowers that grow in narrow clusters 2-8 in (5.1-20.3 cm) long. Cryptantha, the genus name, means "hidden flower".

 
Indian Paintbrush

NPS

Common Names: Foothill or Common Indian Paintbrush

Scientific Name: Castilleja chromosa

Size (height): 4-22 in (10.2-55.9 cm)

Habitat: Sandy soils in sagebrush and pinyon juniper woodlands

Flowering Season: April-June

Range: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Wyoming, British Columbia

Location in park: Common in the central and southern areas of the park including along the Notom road, in Cohab Canyon, Grand Wash, and Capitol Gorge.

Description: Indian paintbrush is a perennial herb with grayish-green stems covered with small hairs. It has brilliant red to orange floral bracts, each with five narrow lobes. Indian paintbrushes are partial root parasites, attaching their roots to roots of other plants and taking nutrients from their host. Sagebrush is a typical host plant.

 
Utah Penstemon

NPS

Common Name: Utah Penstemon

Scientific Name: Penstemon utahensis

Size (height): 6-24 in (15.2-61 cm)

Habitat: Sandy soils in mixed desert scrub, blackbrush, and pinyon juniper communities.

Flowering Season: April-June

Range: Utah, Nevada, California

Location in park: Common in the central and southern portions of the park including the Hickman Bridge trail, the south end of the Scenic Drive, in Grand Wash, and in Capitol Gorge.

Description: The Utah penstemon is a perennial herb with tall, erect stems and thick lance-shaped leaves. Basal leaves are larger and more numerous than the upper leaves. Its tubular flowers are bright red to red-pink colored and grow in an elongated spike.

 
Naked Stem Sunray

NPS

Common Name: Naked Stem Sunrays

Scientific Name: Enceliopsis nudicaulis

Size (height): up to 20 in (50.8 cm)

Habitat: Clay or gypsiferous soils in blackbrush, mixed desert scrub, and pinyon juniper communities.

Flowering Season: mid-April -July

Range: Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California

Location in park: Common in the central portion of the park especially along the Scenic Drive and along Highway 24 west of the visitor center.

Description: Naked stem sunray is a perennial herb with long, gray-green stems that each support a solitary yellow flower head about 2 in (5 cm) wide. The leaves, which are all basal, are round to oval shaped and up to 3 in (7.6 cm) long and equally wide. The species name, nudicaulis, refers to the long bare stems on this plant.

 
Mountain Pepperplant

NPS

Common Name: Mountain Pepperplant

Scientific Name: Lepidium montanum

Size (height): 3-40 in (7.6-101.2 cm)

Habitat: Sandy to rocky soils in desert scrub, sagebrush, and pinyon juniper communities.

Flowering Season: May-September

Range: Southern Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado

Location in park: Common throughout the park including the Hickman Bridge trail, in Grand Wash, and in Capitol Gorge.

Description: Mountain pepperplant is a bushy herbaceous perennial with many branches growing from a woody rootstalk. The stems are often covered with fine hairs. It has numerous, tiny, sweet-scented white flowers at the top of the branches. The seeds taste like black pepper.

 
Silvery Townsendia

NPS

Common Name: Silvery Townsendia

Scientific Name: Townsendia incana

Size (height): 1-2 in (2.5-12.7 cm) tall

Habitat: Sandy or clay soils in desert scrub, saltbush, sagebrush, and pinyon juniper communities.

Flowering Season: April-July

Range: Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada

Location in park: Common throughout the park including the Cathedral District, the Hickman Bridge trail, Grand Wash, and Capitol Gorge.

Description: Silvery townsendia is a perennial herb with a well-developed root system that typically grows in a low, rounded clump up to 8-10 in (20.3-25.4 cm) wide. The stems are covered with white hairs. The leaves are grayish green and lance shaped. This plant is in the sunflower family. The disk flowers (i.e., center) are yellow while the ray flowers (i.e., petals) are white on the upper surface and pinkish on the underside.

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