Wildflowers

These are a few of the many species of wildflowers that are decorated throughout the surface at Jewel Cave National Monument. Wildflowers can be found around the Visitor Center, Historic Area and along the surface trails. Remember that picking wildflowers is illegal in all National Park Service areas. Please be a responsible plant lover and take pictures not flowers. Theodore Roosevelt said it best,"...wild flowers should be enjoyed unplucked where they grow."
 
Black Eyed Susan
Black Eyed Susan

NPS photo by Gizella Betak

Black Eyed Susan

Scientific Name: Rudbeckia hirta

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)

Bloom: June - August

The Black Eyed Susan wildflower is decorated throughout the Black Hills and is used in areas prone to erosion along hill sides and road sides. This bright-yellow wildflower can grow 1 to 2 feet tall with a brown sphere-shaped head 2 ½ inches in width.

 
Common Yarrow
Common Yarrow plant found within Jewel Cave National Monument.

NPS photo by Sheree Hubbard

Common Yarrow

Scientific Name: Achillea millefollium

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)

Bloom: May - September

Alternative Names: Milfoil, Western Yarrow

Common Yarrow can be seen throughout the National Monument mainly located around the Historic Area and along the Canyons Trail. The tiny white flowers form in an umbrella like cluster and can grow 1 to 3 feet tall. When the fern like leaves are crushed the smell of herbs fills the air. Many of the Plains Indians used the Common Yarrow plant for medicinal purposes. Parts of the plant were used for pain and headache relief and tea concoctions to reduce fevers.

 
Harebell
Purple Harebell in bloom.

NPS photo by Gizella Betak

Harebell

Scientific Name: Campanula rotundifolia

Family: Bellflower (Campanulaceae)

Bloom: July - August

Alternate Names: Bluebell, Bluebell-of-Scotland, Blue Rain Flower, Heathbells, Witches Thimbles

Harebells can be found in small clumps of maybe two or three plants and can be seen on the Roof Top Trail, Canyons Trail and throughout the Historic Area. This delicate wildflower can grow about 15 inches high forming a blossom at the top varying from beautiful shades of blue to lavender.

 
Hounds Tongue
Hounds Tongue sprouting by the historic entrance.

NPS photo by Erin Lanzendorfer

Hounds Tongue

Scientific Name: Cynoglossum officinale

Family: Borage (Borainaceae)

Bloom: June - July

This dull reddish-purple toxic plant was introduced from Europe and can be seen mainly in the Historic Area of the Monument. The flowers of this plant are produced along the coiled stalks of the plant that can grow 1 to 4 feet tall. If ingested, animals will be poisoned and the bur-like seeds act like Velcro and stick to animals and clothing.

 
Missouri Goldenrod
Missouri Goldenrod is found throughout the monument.

NPS photo by Sheree Hubbard

Missouri Goldenrod

Scientific Name: Solidago missouriensis

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)

Bloom: July - September

Alternative Names: Prairie Goldenrod, Tolmie's Goldenrod

This beautiful yellow wildflower is decorated throughout the surface of the Monument. Missouri Goldenrod attracts many species of bees and other insects because of the vital source of pollen and nectar it provides. This wildflower was chewed by the Plains Indians to relieve sore throats and toothaches.

 
Pale Purple Coneflower
Pale Purple Coneflower as seen along the Canyons Trail.

NPS photo by Sheree Hubbard

Pale Purple Coneflower

Scientific Name: Echinacea angustifolia

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)

Bloom: June - July

Alternative Names: Black Sampson

Pale Purple Coneflowers can be seen along the Canyons Trail, Roof Top Trail and in abundance in the Historic area. The bristly stem can reach 1 to 2 feet tall attaching to a spiky dome like head with drooping pink-purple petals. The Pale Purple Coneflower was and it still widely used for medicinal purposes by the Plains Indians. The root of the flower can be chewed to quench thirst or used as a paste for snakebites, burns, toothaches, coughs, colds and much more.

 
Pasqueflower
Pasqueflower is the official state flower of South Dakota.

NPS photo by Bradley Block

Pasqueflower

Scientific Name: Anemone patens

Family: Buttercup (Ranunculaceae)

Bloom: March - May

Alternative Names: May Day Flower, Prairie Crocus, Wind Flower, Easter Flower, Meadow Anemone

The Pasqueflower was declared South Dakota's official state flower in 1903. One of the first to bloom in the spring this flower becomes a beautiful sign that winter has ended. The white to deep lavender petal-like sepals can open up to 3 inches. The stem is covered with silky hairs, which helps to insulate this wildflower.

 
Rocky Mountain Iris
Rocky Mountain Iris with a blossom of lilac to purple leaves.

Photo by Gizella Betak

Rocky Mountain Iris

Scientific Name: Iris missouriensis

Family: Iris (Iridaceae)

Bloom: May - June

Alternate Names: Western Blue Flag, Flag Lily, Liver Lily, Water Flag, Wild Iris

Rock Mountain Iris is sparsely seen throughout the monuments trails. This wild flower has an evergreen stem with a blossom of lilac to purple leaves. Iris roots and stem can be toxic. Iris has strong and flexible fibers that are perfect for making cordage for fishing nets, rope, snares and string.

 
Sego Lily
Sego Lily in bloom.

NPS photo by Olivia Strom

Sego Lily

Scientific Name: Calochortusnuttallii

Family: Lily (Liliaceae)

Bloom: June - August

The Sego Lily colors vary from cream white to lilac and can grow six to eight inches high. This tulip-like wildflower can be a sweet and nutritious snack for many animals. The Plains Indians used the bulb of the Sego Lily as food.

 
Stemless Hymenoxys
Stemless Hymenoxys throughout the Historic Area.

NPS photo by Gizella Betak

Stemless Hymenoxys

Scientific Name: Hymemoxys acaulis

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)

Bloom: June - September

Mainly seen throughout the Historic area and along Highway 16 the Stemless Hymenoxys are less than a foot tall and display a bright yellow flower from the stemless stalk.

 
Three-Nerve Fleabane
Three-Nerve Fleabanes in bloom.

NPS photo by Olivia Strom

Three-Nerve Fleabane

Scientific Name: Erigeron ubtrinervis

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)

Bloom: July - August

Fleabanes are common throughout the Black Hills and tend to inhabit open forests. Each flower head contains 100 to 150 purple or lavender ray florets, surrounding many yellow disc florets. At times, the flower heads reach over two inches in diameter, making it a showy display. Plains Indians used this wildflower in different forms, from tea to sooth toothaches to a paste mixed with animal organs for the tanning process of a hide.

 
Upright Prairie Coneflower
Upright Prairie Coneflower found along the Canyons Trail.

NPS photo by Sheree Hubbard

Upright Prairie Coneflower

Scientific Name: Ratibida columnifera

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)

Bloom: July - August

Alternate Names: Mexican Hat, Long-Head Coneflower, Columnar Prairie Coneflower

Upright Prairie Coneflowers can be seen along the Canyons Trail, Roof Top Trail and along the road side of Highway 16. This wildflower can sometimes reach up to four feet tall. The flower head is a dome-like cylinder disk with 10 to 12 bright yellow petal drooping down as soon as they develop. The Plains Indians used this flower for many medicinal purposes such as, a treatment for poison ivy rash, relief from headaches and stomachaches and used as a solution to draw out the poison of rattlesnake bites.

 
Wavyleaf Thistle
Wavyleaf Thistle is one of the native thistles at the monument.

NPS photo by Sheree Hubbard

Wavyleaf Thistle

Scientific Name: Cirsium undulatum

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)

Bloom: June - September

Wavyleaf Thistle is one of the few native thistles that can be seen throughout the many hikes on the surface of Jewel Cave National Monument. When the flowers of the thistles are in bloom they attract many species of butterflies. Wavyleaf Thistle grows 3 to 4 feet tall with the flowers varying in colors from lavender to pink.

 
Western Salsify
Western Salsify in bloom.

NPS photo

Western Salsify

Scientific Name: Tragopogon dubius

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)

Bloom: May - August

Alternative Names: Goatsbeard, Star of David, Wild Oyster Plant, Noonflower

This plant was introduced as a garden plant to the United States in the early 1900's by colonists. During the seeding process this wildflower looks like a giant dandelion. The gooey milky juice from the 1 to 3 foot tall stem was used by the Plains Indians as a remedy for indigestion. The cooked taproots of the Western Salsify can taste like parsnip or oysters.

 
Wild Bergamot
Wild Bergamot in bloom along the hiking trails.

NPS photo by Sheree Hubbard

Wild Bergamot

Scientific Name: Monarda fistulosa

Family: Mint (Labiatae)

Bloom: July - August

Alternative Names: Horsemint, Beebalm

This native light purple wildflower can be seen on the Roof Trail, Canyons Trail and surrounding the surface in the historic area. Wild Bergamont was used by the Plains Indians in a variety of ways. The leaves of wild bergamot were used in vapor treatments for colds and to cure acne. Many Plains Indians used this wildflower to brew tea to help remedy headaches, stomach pain and bronchial infections.

 
Wild Blue Flax
Wild Blue Flax in bloom.

NPS photo by Olivia Strom

Wild Blue Flax

Scientific Name: Linum pratense

Family: Flax (Linum)

Bloom: June - August

Alternative Names: Prairie Flax, Lewis Flax, Meadow Flax

This showy blue wildflower is desirable for many animals including deer, antelope and multiple bird species. Blue Flax is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and is very beneficial for erosion control. This species of wildflower can be used as a fire suppressant when it is in the semi-evergreen stage. Many Plains Indians used the seeds of this plant to add flavor to their food.

 
Wooly Verbena
Wooly Verbena attracts many species of bees and butterflies.

NPS photo by Sheree Hubbard

Wooly Verbena

Scientific Name: Verbenastricta

Family: Vervain (Verbenaceae)

Bloom: June - September

Alternate Names: Wooly Vervain

These beautiful purple pencil-like wildflowers attract many species of bees and butterflies to the Monument. Wooly Verbena can grow 1 to 4 feet tall with noticeable purple flowers blooming at the peak of the five spreading lobes. Plains Indians used this plant in their teas for pleasure and to calm stomach problems.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730

Phone:

(605) 673-8300
Park Information

Contact Us