• Photo of mist drifting over Moraine Park meadow on a spring morning. NPS Photo by C. Brindle

    Rocky Mountain

    National Park Colorado

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Impacts from September 2013 Flood - Old Fall River Road, Alluvial Fan and Trails

    Select this link to learn More »

Yellow & Orange Flowers

 
Photo of Sulphur-Flower

Sulphur-flower

NPS photo by D. Biddle

Sulphurflower

Scientific name: Eriogonum umbellatum

Family: Buckwheat family (Polygonaceae)

Habitat: Dry montane fields and rocky hillsides

Flower heads are bright sulphur yellow in June and change to a rustic orange red in late August when they become dry. The flowers grow in dense clusters and the leaves grow at the base of the plant.

 
Photo of Blanket flower

Blanket Flower

NPS photo by J. Westfall

Blanket Flower

Scientific name: Gaillardia aristata

Family: Aster family (Asteraceae)

Habitat: Open, sunny montane meadows

Stems are hairy and hold a showy solitary flower head. The large flower heads have deep yellow rays with dark red disk flowers. The pappus is composed of scales with bristle like tips. Blanket flower blooms from mid-June to late August.

 
Photo of Golden Banner

Golden Banner

NPS photo by D. Biddle

Golden Banner

Scientific name: Thermopsis divaricarpa

Family: Pea family (Fabaceae)

Habitat: Montane and subalpine meadows and streamsides

Golden banner blooms from late May to mid-July with bright yellow pea like flowers. Each flower has five petals - a banner, two wings and two keel petals. In late June, curved pea pods start to form from each flower.

 
Photo of Western Wallflower

Western Wallflower

NPS photo

Western Wallflower

Scientific name: Erysimum capitatum

Family: Mustard family (Brassicaceae)

Habitat: Sunny Montane, subalpine, and alpine areas

The flowers have four petals, which range from lemon yellow to orange (occasionally rusty red) in color. Flowers are in rounded clusters at the top of each stem that can reach a height of 2ft. (60cm). Wallflowers have a wonderful fragrance, which is attractive to bees.

 
Photo of Plains Prickly Pear

Plains Pricklypear

NPS photo by R. Smith

Plains Pricklypear

Scientific name: Opuntia polyacantha

Family: Cactus family (Cactaceae)

Habitat: Dry, sunny montane slopes.

The stems are flattened succulent pads with scattered pointed spines. Showy bowl shaped yellow to peach colored flowers form at the top of each flatted stem.

 
Photo of Heart-Leaved Arnica

Heart-Leaved Arnica

NPS photo

Heartleaf Arnica

Scientific name: Arnica cordifolia

Family: Aster family (Asteraceae)

Habitat: Dry montane and subalpine forests

This is one of the taller arnicas, with stems reaching a height of 7-31in (20-80cm). Each flower head is deep yellow with 10-16 rays that surround a cluster of disc flowers. Leaves are opposite and are heart shaped. Arnica blooms beginning in late May in the montane through mid-August in the subalpine.

 
Photo of Yellow Pond-Lily

Yellow Pond-lily

NPS photo by B. Hoppe

Yellow Pond-lily

Scientific name: Nuphar lutea ssp polysepala

Family: Waterlily family (Nymphaeaceae)

Habitat: Shallow montane and subalpine lakes

The large yellow bowl shaped sepals protect the smaller petals inside. The large leaf blades float at the surface of the water. Yellow pondlily blooms from mid-June to mid-August.

 
Photo of Yellow Stonecrop

Yellow Stonecrop

NPS photo by A. Schonlau

Yellow Stonecrop

Scientific name: Amerosedum lanceolatum

Family: Stonecrop family (Crassulaceae)

Habitat: Dry, sunny montane to alpine slopes.

The succulent leaves are small and stems grow close to the ground. The bright yellow flowers are star shaped and sit in clusters on top of short stems. Before blooming, the leaves and flower buds are bright red. Stonecrop blooms between mid June and mid August.

 
Photo of Snow-Lily

Snow-lily

NPS photo by D. Pinigis

Snow-lily

Scientific name: Erythronium grandiflorum

Family: Lily family (Liliaceae)

Habitat: Wet high subalpine sites as snow melts.

The bright yellow flowers have three petals and three petal like sepals that curve backwards. The anthers and pistil protrude and hang from the center of the flowers. Two long shiny leaves grow at the base of the stem. This lovely plant is not easily found in the park because it grows in remote backcountry areas.

 
Photo of Snow Buttercup

Snow Buttercup

NPS photo by D. Biddle

Snow Buttercup

Scientific name: Ranunculus adoneus

Family: Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae)

Habitat: Upper subalpine to alpine areas with melting snow

The saucer shaped flowers have five bright yellow petals. The leaves are divided into deeply cut narrow lobes. Look for snow buttercup along the margins of melting snowdrifts between early June and early August. This plant is only found in the southern Rocky Mountains.

 
Photo of Western Yellow Paintbrush

Western Yellow Paintbrush

NPS photo

Western Yellow Paintbrush

Scientific name: Castilleja occidentalis

Family: Snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae)

Habitat: Subalpine meadows to alpine hillsides

The woolly unbranched stems bear leaves that are ascending with slender tips. Tiny greenish flowers are hidden within the showier yellow bracts.

 
Photo of Alpine Avens

Alpine Avens

NPS photo

Alpine Avens

Scientific name: Guem rosii ssp turbinata

Family: Rose family (Rosaceae)

Habitat: Alpine areas

This common alpine plant has bright yellow saucer shaped flowers and compound dark green leaves. In August the leaves turn brilliant red, covering the tundra in swaths of color. Alpine avens is the favorite food of pikas, who gather and dry this plant for winter consumption. Alpine avens blooms from June to August.

 
Photo of Alpine Sunflower

Alpine Sunflower

NPS photo by A. Schonlau

Alpine Sunflower

Scientific name: Rydbergia grandiflora

Family: Aster family (Asteraceae)

Habitat: Alpine meadows

The showiest bloomer in the alpine tundra, alpine sunflower has large flower heads with yellow 3- toothed rays. The stems and leaves are covered with soft silvery white woolly hairs. Unlike many other sunflowers, the flower heads typically face east and do not turn with the sun; this may be an adaptation to avoiding damage from violent afternoon thunderstorms, which blow in from the west.

 
References

Beidleman, Linda H., Richard G. Beidleman, Beatrice E. Willard, and Ruth Ashton Nelson. Plants of Rocky Mountain National Park: A Complete Revision of Ruth Ashton Nelson's Popular Manual. Helena, MT: Rocky Mountain Nature Association & Falcon Pub., 2000. Print.

Kershaw, Linda, A. MacKinnon, and Jim Pojar. Plants of the Rocky Mountains. Edmonton: Lone Pine Pub., 1998. Print.

Did You Know?

a graphic of the Rocky Mountain Nature Association logo, a bighorn ram

RMNA has helped Rocky complete more than 40 projects valued at $10 million since 1986. They include the McGraw Ranch, the Fall River Visitor Center, and the Storm Mountain Pass trail. More...