Western Wallflower

Bright yellow flowers form a ball against a dark background
Western wallflower

Western Wallflower

Erysimum capitatum var. purshii

Common Names: Western Wallflower, Pursh's Wallflower
Family: Brassicaceae
Flowering Season (Bryce Region): April - July
Size: 6"-36" (15-90 cm)
Range: Throughout the Southwest and Western side of the Rocky Mountains

General Description

A member of the mustard family, and a species which is very common through the drier regions of the western United States. You can recognize Western Wallflower by its densely clustered heads of bright yellow or orange four-petal flowers that each measure up to an inch long, and its erect, narrowly elongated fruit pods called siliques. The leaves are arranged around the stem in an alternating pattern.


The Western Wallflower has the greatest range distribution by elevation of any wildflower having been documented everywhere from 2,500 ft to 12,500 ft (800-4000m). Found in both the montane and alpine meadows of the Rocky Mountains and the desert canyons of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau.

Plant Lore

In Greek, Erysimum translates as “to help or save” in reference to the medicinal qualities of several species of these plants. Practitioners of European folk medicine have used wallflower poultices to relieve bronchial congestion and American Indians used dried leaves or seeds of Plains wallflower to make a tea for stomach cramps. Wallflowers are also important sources of food for wildlife, including caterpillars.

Further Reading

U.S. Forest Service - Western Wallflower

Last updated: April 30, 2023

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Bryce, UT 84764


435 834-5322
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