Wildflowers

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 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.

 

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 Cymopterus terebinthinus Apiaceae (Carrot)
Mountain Dandelion Agoseris glauca Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Arrowleaf Balsamroot Balsamorhiza sagittata Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Hawksbeard Crepis spp. (4 species) Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Rubber Rabbitbrush Ericameria nauseosa Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Dwarf Goldenbush Haplopappus nanus Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Hairy 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)
Gland Cinquefoil Potentilla 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)
Lava Phlox Linanthus 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
Joe-Pye Weed Ageratina occidentalis Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Narrow Leaved Wirelettuce Stephanomeria tenuifolia Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Spiny Skeletonweed Pleiacanthus spinosus Asteraceae (Sunflower)
Rockcress Arabis 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)

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

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Last updated: November 3, 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

Phone:

208 527-1300

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