dark, cinder soil covered with small, pink flowers with five petals
Dwarf monkeyflowers bloom every year on the cinder flats in early summer.

NPS Photo

Despite the seemingly barren nature of the cinder cones and lava fields, spectacular floral displays occur at Craters of the Moon each spring. Peak bloom for spring wildflowers generally occurs in early to mid-June. Starting with the arrival of the wild onion in late April and ending with the disappearance of the yellow blossoms of the rabbitbrush in September, a variety of wildflowers can be found blooming within the park's boundaries. The ability to grow in this harsh environment means overcoming a lack of moisture, meager soil, and surface temperatures that exceed 150°F. Many of the unusual characteristics of the wildflowers are adaptations for survival in this extreme environment.

A checklist of common plants of Craters of the Moon is available from the visitor center.

You can also download or view the full list of plants found in the park at the bottom of the page via NPSpecies.

Have a question about a plant you find? Take a photo to show to a ranger. Remember to Leave No Trace during your visit by leaving any plants or flowers you find and knowing where off-trail travel is permitted.


Common Wildflowers

Plants can have multiple common names which can also vary from region to region. Scientific names and families can also change as time goes on and more is learned about a plant or group of plants. Below are some of the most common flowering plants seen in the park.

An asterisk (*) indicates an introduced species.

Yellow Flowers
Common Name Scientific Name Family
Turpentine Parsley
(Desert Parsley)
Cymopterus terebinthinus Apiaceae (Carrot)
Mountain Dandelion Agoseris glauca Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Sagebrush Artemisia spp. (8 varieties) Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Arrowleaf Balsamroot Balsamorhiza sagittata Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Hawksbeard Crepis spp. (4 species) Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Rubber Rabbitbrush Ericameria nauseosa (2 varieties) Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Dwarf Goldenbush Haplopappus nanus Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Hairy False Goldenaster Heterotheca villosa Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Groundsel Senecio spp. (4 species) Asteraceae (Sunflower)
*Western Salsify Tragopogon dubius Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Wayside Gromwell Lithospermum ruderale Boraginaceae (Borage)
Plains Prickly Pear Opuntia polyacantha Cactaceae (Cactus)
Longspur Lupine Lupinus arbustus Fabaceae (Pea)
Leopard Lily Fritillaria atropurpurea Liliaceae (Lily)
Whitestem Stickleaf Mentzelia albicaulis Loasaceae (Loasa)
Smoothstem Blazingstar Mentzelia laevicaulis Loasaceae (Loasa)
Suksdorf’s Monkeyflower Erythranthe suksdorfii Phrymaceae (Lopseed)
Buckwheat Eriogonum spp. (24 varieties) Polygonaceae (Buckwheat)
Dwarf Buckwheat Eriogonum ovalifolium (4 varieties) Polygonaceae (Buckwheat)
Sulfur Buckwheat Eriogonum umbellatum (2 varieties) Polygonaceae (Buckwheat)
Gland Cinquefoil Drymocallis glandulosa Rosaceae (Rose)
Antelope Bitterbrush Purshia tridentata Rosaceae (Rose)
*Common Mullein Verbascum thapsus Scrophulariaceae (Figwort)
Nuttall’s Violet Viola nutallii Violaceae (Violet)
White Flowers
Common Name Scientific Name Family
Western Yarrow Achillea millefolium Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Shaggy Fleabane Erigeron pumilus Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Dusty Maiden Chaenactis douglasii Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Cryptantha Cryptantha spp. (10 species) Boraginaceae (Borage)
Wax Currant Ribes cereum Grossulariaceae (Currant)
Syringa Philadelphus lewisii Hydrangeaceae (Hydrangea)
Sego Lily Calochortus nuttallii Liliaceae (Lily)
Bitterroot Lewisia rediviva Montiaceae
Ground Smoke Gayophytum spp. (6 species) Onagraceae (Evening Primrose)
Scabland Penstemon Penstemon deustus Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Common Prickly Phlox Leptodactylon pungens Polemoniaceae (Phlox)
Serviceberry Amelanchier alnifolia Rosaceae (Rose)
Fernbush Chamaebatiaria millefolium Rosaceae (Rose)
Rockspirea Holodiscus dumosus Rosaceae (Rose)
Choke Cherry Prunus virginiana Rosaceae (Rose)
Slender Woodland Star Lithophragma tenellum Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage)
Coyote Tobacco Nicotiana attenuata Solanaceae (Nightshade)
Pink and Red Flowers
Common Name Scientific Name Family
Western Snakeroot
(Western Joepye-Weed)
Ageratina occidentalis Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Spiny Skeletonweed Pleiacanthus spinosus Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Narrow Leaved Wirelettuce Stephanomeria tenuifolia Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Rockcress Boechera spp. (14 varieties) Brassicaceae (Mustard)
Indian Paintbrush Castilleja spp. (8 varieties) Orobanchaceae (Broomrape)
Dwarf Monkeyflower Diplacus nanus Phrymaceae (Lopseed)
Palmer’s Penstemon Penstemon palmeri Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Scarlet Gilia Ipomopsis aggregata Polemoniaceae (Phlox)
Longleaf Phlox Phlox longifolia Polemoniaceae (Phlox)

Purple and Blue Flowers
Common Name Scientific Name Family
Hoary Tansyaster Machaeranthera canescens Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Silverleaf Phacelia
Phacelia hastata (2 varieties) Boraginaceae (Borage)
Lupine Lupinus spp. (13 varieties) Fabaceae (Pea)
Wild Onion Allium spp. (6 species) Liliaceae (Lily)
Blue-eyed Mary Collinsia parviflora Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Blue Penstemon Penstemon cyaneus Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Larkspur Delphinium spp. (3 varieties) Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)

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Last updated: March 24, 2024

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Mailing Address:

Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
1266 Craters Loop Road
P.O. Box 29

Arco, ID 83213


208 527-1300

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