dark, cinder soil covered with small pink flowers
Dwarf monkeyflowers.

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 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, some variety of wildflower can be found blooming within the monument's boundaries. The ability to grow in this harsh environment means overcoming a lack of moisture, meager soil, and surface temperatures that exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Many of the unusual characteristics of the wildflowers are adaptations for survival in this extreme environment.


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Common Wildflower List
Compiled by Doug Owen, Park Naturalist

Common Name Scientific Name Family
Yellow Flowers
Arrow-Leaved Balsamroot Balsamorhiza sagittata Sunflower
Hawksbeard Crepis (4 species) Sunflower
Mountain Dandelion Agoseris glauca Sunflower
Salsify (Introduced) Tragopogon dubius Sunflower
Groundsel Senecio (4 species) Sunflower
Buckwheats Eriogonum (24 varieties) Buckwheat
Desert Parsley Cymopterus terebinthinus Carrot
Gland Cinquefoil Potentilla glandulosa Rose
Leopard Lily Fritillaria atropurpurea Lily
Wayside Gromwell Lithospermum ruderale Borage
Hairy Golden-Aster Heterotheca villosa Sunflower
Sukdorf’s Monkeyflower Mimulus suksdorfii Snapdragon
White Stem Stickleaf Mentzelia albicaulis Loasa
Nuttalls Violet Viola nutallii Violet
Blazingstar Mentzelia laevicaulis Loasa
Prickly Pear cactus Opuntia polyacantha Cactus
Mullein (Introduced) Verbascum thapsus Snapdragon
Red / Purple / Blue Flowers
Indian Paintbrush Castilleja (8 species) Snapdragon
Dwarf Monkeyflower Mimulus nanus Snapdragon
Wild Onion Allium (5 species) Lily
Scarlet Gilia Gilia aggregata Phlox
Wire Lettuce Stephanomeria tenuifolia Sunflower
Joe Pye Weed Eupatorium occidentale Sunflower
Hoary Aster Machaeranthera canescens Sunflower
Fernleaf Fleabane Erigeron compositus Sunflower
Blue Penstemon Penstemon cyaneus Snapdragon
Lupine Lupinus (14 varieties) Pea
Anderson Larkspur Delphinium andersonii Buttercup
Scorpionweed Phacelia hastata Waterleaf
Blue-eyed Mary Collinsia parviflora Snapdragon
Rockcress Arabis (14 varieties) Mustard
Spiney Skeleton Plant Stephanomeria spinosa Sunflower
White Flowers
Bitterroot Lewisia rediviva Purslane
Sego Lily Calochortus nuttallii Lily
Cryptantha Cryptantha (10 species) Borage
Scabland Penstemon Penstemon deustus Snapdragon
Lava Phlox Leptodactylon pungens Phlox
Dusty Maiden Chaenactis douglasii Sunflower
Western Yarrow Achillea millefolium Sunflower
Slender Woodland Star Lithophragma tenellum Saxafrage
Ground Smoke Gayophytum (6 species) Primrose
Coyote Tobacco Nicotiana attenuata Nightshade

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Last updated: March 27, 2023

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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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