Crater Lake boasts an impressive wildflower display that starts as the snow recedes and lasts until the first snowflakes return in the fall. Some of the earliest bloomers in the spring include western springbeauty and speading phlox. The flowers of fireweed and western boneset signal the waning of summer; while goldenweed and rabbitbrush will bloom until the snow covers the landscape again.
Wilflowers are found in the shady low-elevation forests up to the park’s highest peak, Mount Scott. Wildflowers grow streamside and along the rocky cliffs of Crater Lake, in the pumice deserts, road ditches, and meadows. Because of this combination of unique habitats wildflowers represent the greatest diversity of plants in the park. They range in size from the dwarf monkeyflower, which grows 1/2 to 4 inches tall to the three foot tall Lewis monkeyflower, in color from red and orange to blue and purple, and in species variety.
Protecting WildflowersOne thing you can do to help protect Crater Lake’s wildflowers for future generations to enjoy is to stay on designated trails and walkways. The park receives over 500,000 visitors annually, most of those in the summer months when trampling impacts to wildflowers can be devastating. By not picking or disturbing the wildflowers or any plants, you allow pollinators and nectivores to continue their roll in plant reproduction, ensuring the development of seeds for the next generation of bloomers.
The plant taxonomy used to identify park wildflowers is from the Oregon Flora Project.
Last updated: December 1, 2019