All park resources, including wildflowers, are protected. It is illegal to pick flowers and seeds, or remove plants from the park.
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Red & Orange Flowers
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.
Common Names: Desert 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 to 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.
Common name: Common Globemallow Scientific name:Sphaeralcea coccinea Size (height): Up to 18 in (46 cm) Habitat: From mixed desert to ponderosa pine forests (3,000 to 9,000 feet) Flowering season: mid-April to October Range: Utah and the Southwest, up to Canada Location in park: Throughout the park, especially in Fruita and along State Route 24. Description: One of the earliest flowers to start blooming. Historically used for medicinal and first aid purposes.
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."
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 to July
Range: Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California
Location in park: Common in the central portion of the park especially along the Scenic Drive and along State Route 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.
Common name: Prince’s Plume Scientific name: Stanleya pinnata Size (height): 24-36 in (61-91 cm), but up to 60 in (5 ft, 152 cm) Habitat: Mix desert scrub, sagebrush, and pinyon-juniper forest Flowering season: May to November Range: Utah and the southwest, up to North Dakota Location in park: Common in the park. Often in Moenkopi Formation along Utah State Route 24 and the Scenic Drive. Description: Tall plant, with bright yellow flowers that start blooming from the bottom up, until the whole stalk is covered in flowers.
Common name: Desert Trumpet Scientific name:Eriogonum inflatum Size (height): 1-2 feet (30.5-61 cm) tall Habitat: Many different elevations and soil types Flowering season: Spring-Fall Range: Throughout Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico Location in park: Throughout Capitol Reef Description: This unique member of the buckwheat family has an inflated stem, giving it part of its scientific name, “inflatum.” Tiny yellow flowers top the stems in the spring, and in the fall, the stems will turn from green to a dark red, and then a pale yellow as the plant dries up. Over the years, scientists have had different ideas about what causes the stem to inflate. Early theories included insects laying eggs inside and creating galls. Recent theories are that the stem does most of the photosynthesis for the plant, since it has a larger surface area than the small round leaves at the base of the plant. The stem seems to be a reservoir for carbon dioxide, and the waxy surface of the stem helps prevent water loss through transpiration.
Common name: Stinking Milkvetch Scientific name:Astragalus praelongus Size (height): 4-36 in (10-91 cm) Habitat: Clay soils, such as Moenkopi and Chinle formations, and Mancos Shale, in mixed desert scrub and pinyon-juniper forest Flowering season: April to July Range: Throughout Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico. Location in park: Central and southern areas of Capitol Reef, including the Scenic Drive and Utah State Route 24. Description: Tall flower stalks, with 10-33 white-ish cream flowers on each one. Known for a strong, unpleasant smell, which gives the plant its common name, Stinking Milkvetch.
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 to 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.
Common name: Pale Evening Primrose Scientific name: Oenothera pallida Size (height): 12-28 in (30-71 cm) Habitat: Gravelly or sandy soil, from sagebrush to ponderosa pine forests Flowering season: May to September Range: Widespread in Southwest up to eastern Washington and Wyoming Location in park: Common and widespread throughout the park Description: The Pale Evening Primrose has large (4 in, 10 cm) white flowers that fade to pink as they age. Compared to other primroses, this one has very narrow leaves, with toothed (lobed) edges, and is usually taller.
Common name: Sego Lily Scientific name:Calochortus muttallii Size (height): up to 20 in (51 cm), but usually shorter Habitat: Sandy soils, from grasslands to ponderosa pine forests (3,300 to 10,000 ft) Flowering season: May to July Range: Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and some Midwest states Location in park: Southern park of the park Description: The Sego Lily, the Utah State Wildflower, was used as a food source by both Native Americans and Latter-Day Saint pioneers. Attempts to cultivate the Sego lily domestically have been unsuccessful, and this plant should never be harvested or taken from the wild.
Common name: Showy Milkweed Scientific name:Ascelepias speciosa Size (height): 23-40 in (58-102 cm) Habitat: Disturbed lands, riparian areas, and sandy bottomlands Flowering season: May to August Range: Utah, and the Southwest, from California to Canada to Minnesota Location in park: Common in the central part of the park, especially in the Fruita Orchards Description: Flowers form large white/pink round balls at the top of the plant. The “fluff” from milkweed seedpods is more buoyant than cork, and warmer than wool. It was used in life jackets and flight suits during World War II.
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 to 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.
Common name: Woolly Milkvetch Scientific name:Astragulus mollissimus Size (height): 2-17 inches (5-43 cm) Habitat: Many soil types, from mixed desert scrub to pinyon-juniper forests Flowering season: February to June Range: Utah and the Southwest, south to Mexico Location in park: Common in the central and southern parts of the park Description: One of the earliest plants to bloom in the spring, this milkvetch species is highly poisonous to livestock. Another common name for it is "locoweed."
Common name: Scorpionweed Scientific name: Phacelia crenulata Size (height): 3-32 inches (8-81 cm) Habitat: Salt desert scrub and pinyon-juniper forest Flowering season: mid-April to June Range: southern Utah and the Southwest Location in park: Common throughout the park Description: The name “scorpionweed” comes from the way the flower stalk curls at the end, like a scorpion’s tail. Glandular hairs on the leaves and stem of the plant can cause a rash like poison ivy.
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