• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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  • Nisqually to Paradise delays and Kautz Creek area closure.

    Road construction from the Nisqually Entrance to Longmire. Expect a 30-minute delay, Monday through Friday. Beginning May 29 to mid-July, all services at the Kautz Creek parking and picnic area are closed through the week. Limited parking on Sat & Sun. More »

Subalpine Wildflowers - White

 
American Bistort

American Bistort

NPS Photo

American Bistort
Polygonum bistortoides

Perennial with one to several unbranched flowering stems 8-28 inches (20-70 cm) tall and narrow, oblong basal leaves about 4-8 inches (10-20 cm) long. Very common in subalpine meadows, and can be one of the earliest flowers blooming at Paradise.

 
Avalanche Lily

Avalanche Lily

NPS Photo

Avalanche Lily
Erythronium montanum

Stems are 6-16 in (15-40 cm) long, with usually 2-3 flowers each. It takes many years for these plants to begin flowering, but they grow in abundant colonies throughout subalpine regions in the park. They are often the first to flower along the edges of melting snow. Closely related to Glacier Lily.

 
Bear Grass

Bear Grass

NPS Photo

Bear Grass
Xerophyllum tenax

Stems of this tough flower can be 5 feet (1.5 m) tall, emerging from large clumps of grass-like basal leaves. The leaves were historically used by native peoples to weave hats, baskets, and capes. Bears have been known to eat the fleshy bases of the leaves in spring, giving the flower its name.

 
Grey's Lovage

Gray's Lovage

NPS Photo

Gray's Lovage
Ligusticum grayi

Stems 8-24 inches (20-60 cm) tall, with compound flowers with 7-10 rays. Leaves mostly basal, divided into many toothed leaflets. Widespread in meadows and along streams between elevations of 5,000-7,000 feet (1,500-2,100 meters).

 
Marsh Marigold

Marsh Marigold

NPS Photo

Marsh Marigold
Caltha leptosepala

Leaves basal, oval to round with heart-shaped base. Grows in wet meadows, bogs, and stream-sides above 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).

 
Partridgefoot

Partridgefoot

NPS, Steve Redman

Partridgefoot
Luetkea pectinata

An evergreen shrub with creeping woody stems that spread out to form mats. Leaves are segmented and form tufts at the end of branches, while flowering stems are 4-8 in (10-15 cm) tall with dense, terminal flowers. Common in drier meadows and open talus slopes.

 
Pasqueflower blooming (left); several pasqueflower seedheads (right)

Pasqueflower (left) with several pasqueflower seedheads (right).

NPS Photo

Pasqueflower / Western Anemone
Anemone occidentalis

The entire plant is coated in long hairs, with segmented leaves and 4-12 in (10-30 cm) tall flowering stem. The feather-like "mouse-on-a-stick" seedhead (pictured right) is a common sight in Mount Rainier's meadows.

 
Pearly Everlasting

Pearly Everlasting

NPS Photo

Pearly Everlasting
Anaphalis margaritacea

Weedlike plant that spreads via rootstock to form clumps of stems 24-40 in (60-100 cm) tall, with narrow leaves along stem. Leaves are dark green on top, with a white-woolly underside. Numerous, dense flowerheads top the stem. Found throughout the park from low elevations, particularly along roadsides, up to approx. 6,000 feet (1,800 meters).

 
Sickletop Lousewort

Sickletop Lousewort

NPS, Chris Roundtree

White-flowered Sickletop Lousewort
Pedicularis racemosa, ssp. alba

The white-flowered subspecies of this plant is common in Washington, but you may also see Pedicularis racemosa ssp. racemosa, which has pink to purple flowers. While all other lousewort species found in the park have lobed leaves, sickletop lousewort can easily be distinguished by its narrow, toothed leaves without lobes.

 
Left: The white clustered flowers of Sitka Mountain Ash. Right: A cluster of bright red berries produced from the flower.

Sitka Mountain Ash flowers (left) eventually turn into bright red berries (right).

NPS Photo

Sitka Mountain Ash
Sorbus sitchensis

This six foot-high (2m) shrub grows in thickets and is widespread above about 4,500 feet (1,400 meters). Leaves are divided into 7-9 leaflets, with toothed edges. Flowers in tight clusters at the ends of branches, and produces bright red berries favored as a food source by birds and other wildlife.

 
Sitka Valerian

Sitka Valerian

NPS Photo

Sitka Valerian
Valeriana sitchensis

Very common in subalpine regions, this flower can often be seen rising above other wildflowers in the meadows. It has hairless leaves and a square stem, and ranges in height from 24-47 inches (60-120 cm) tall.

 
White Mountain Heather

White Mountain Heather

NPS Photo

White Mountain Heather
Cassiope mertensiana

Small, scale-like evergreen leaves arranged in four rows cover stems up to 12 in (30 cm) long. Common in subalpine parkland, where it can form extensive mats.

Did You Know?

Visitor exploring the former Paradise Ice Caves.

For many years, the Paradise Ice Caves were a popular attraction at Mount Rainier. Until the 1980s, visitors could explore passages within the Paradise Glacier which had formed due to seasonal melting of the ice. By the early 1990s, climate change had melted away the last traces of the caves. More...