Forest Wildflowers - Pink/Red/Purple

 
Alaska Violet side view (left) showing spur on back petal, and front view (right).
Alaska Violet. Side view (left) shows the sack-like spur curving up behind the back petal; and front view (right).

Left: NPS/C. Vecchio; Right: NPS Photo

Alaska Violet
Viola langsdorfii

This small violet has round to heart-shaped leaves and grows to be about 6 inches (15 cm) tall. Distinguished from similar violet species by a sack-like spur on the back petal (as shown in left image); this violet can be found growing in moist meadows and along stream banks.

 
Several strings of pale reddish-pink flowers hang from a branch with lobed, toothed leaves.
Black Swamp Gooseberry

NPS Photo

Black Swamp Gooseberry
Ribes lacustre

This shrub stands 3-6 feet (1-2 m) tall, with stems covered in small yellow spines. Flowers hang off the stems in strings of 5-15 blooms, with pale pink petals and purple-green sepals. Leaves are toothed with 3-7 lobes. Common along streams and wet, swampy low elevation forests. Also known as prickly currant.

 
A cluster of pale pink heart-shaped wildflowers.
Pacific Bleeding-heart

NPS/M. Schmitt Photo

Bleeding-heart, Pacific
Dicentra formosa

Bleeding-heart has distinctive heart-shaped pink to rose-purple wildflowers on arched stems. Leaves are basal and divided into segments. Growing along spreading rootstalks, this plant can form large colonies in low elevation forests.

 
Candystick
Candystick

NPS, Bev Killam

Candystick
Allotropa virgata

Completely lacking green leaves, this plant grows as a single stem marked with red and white stripes. Each flower has red-brown sepals but no petals, and underneath each flower is a small scale-like leaf. Candystick are mycotrophic, which means instead of using photosynthesis to get energy, they form a complicated three-way relationship with fungus and coniferous fir trees to survive. The candystick draws energy from the fungus associated with its roots. The fungus in turn derives energy from tapping into the roots of fir trees. With no need for the sun, candystick can be found in shady, deep woods.

 
Close-up of several flowers along a reddish-yellow stem. Flowers are also reddish-yellow with a white lower lip with red spots.
Spotted Coralroot

NPS Photo

Coralroot, Spotted
Corallorhiza maculata

Stems are between 7-22 inches (17-55 cm) tall, and usually grow in clumps in the understory of dense forest. Similar to western coralroot with reddish-purple to yellow-brown stems, but flowers have a white lower lip with red to purple spots. Less common than western coralroot.

 
Western Coralroot
Western Coralroot

NPS, Crow Vecchio

Coralroot, Western
Corallorhiza mertensiana

Stems are between 6-16 inches (15-40 cm) tall, and usually grow in clumps in the understory of dense forest. Stems are typically reddish-purple, though coloring can range from pink to yellow as well.

 
Crimson Columbine
Crimson Columbine

NPS, Chris Roundtree

Crimson Columbine
Aquilegia formosa

Leaves are mostly basal with three main lobes, each main lobe further divided into three lobes, and bluish-green in color. Usually found growing along streams and the edges of meadows between 2,500-5,500 feet (760-1,670 m) elevation.

 
Fairy Slipper
Fairy Slipper

NPS Photo

Fairy Slipper
Calypso bulbosa

Also known as a Calypso orchid, this beautiful flower is a hidden treasure of Mount Rainier's forests. A single flower, barely reaching a height of 6 inches (15 cm), emerges from a bulblike corm, with only one dark green egg-shaped leaf per plant. Fairy slippers have delicate, easily-damaged root systems, and can be hard to spot among the thick moss carpeting forest floors. If you are fortunate enough to find a fairy slipper, please take care to avoid trampling them.

 
A patch of tall stems topped in bright pink-purple flowers.
Fireweed

NPS Photo

Fireweed
Epilobium angustifolium

Very common at low elevations in the park, fireweed can color whole hillsides with its distinctive magenta flowers. Stems are about 3-6 feet (1-2 m) tall, with numerous, alternating lance-like leaves, and topped with a cluster of dense flowers.

 
Two clusters of pale pink flowers emerging directly from mossy ground.
Gnomeplant

NPS Photo

Gnomeplant
Hemitomes congestum

Also known as coneplant, this unusual plant can be hard to spot in Mount Rainier's forests. Most of the plant stem, which is covered in scale-like leaves, is buried in the duff of the forest floor with only the flower cluster at the top showing. Protected by red-pink sepals, the flowers are pinkish-white with four petals. The inner surface of the flowers are hairy.

 
Kinnikinnik
Kinnikinnik

NPS Photo

Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

A common evergreen shrub, kinnikinnik often forms mats on dry slopes, forest clearings, and other exposed sites. Leaves are leathery and oval-shaped, alternating along tough reddish stems. Drooping, urn-shaped pink flowers give way to bright red berries. Kinnikinnik is also known as common bearberry.

 
A tall flower with a cluster of dark purple flowers at the top. An inset photo in the upper left shows a detail of the flower cluster.
Tall Larkspur

NPS Photo

Larkspur, Tall
Delphinium glaucum

This plant has a 3-6 feet (1-2 m) tall single stem, topped with a cluster of narrow purple flowers. Leaves have 5-7 toothed lobes. Uncommon in the park, but can be found in a variety of habitats from rocky slopes to lower elevations, such as in the Carbon River area.

 
Mountainbells
Mountainbells

NPS Photo

Mountainbells
Stenanthium occidentale

Also known as "bronze bells", this plant is marked by bell-shaped brown-purple flowers. Flowering stem is 6-16 inches (15-40 cm) tall, with two or three grass-like basal leaves. Common in moist forests.

 
A small plant with a single stem and narrow leaves, topped with tiny pink flowers, growing out of mossy ground.
Narrow-leaved Collonia

NPS Photo

Narrow-leaved Collomia
Collomia linearis

Also known as "tiny trumpet", this wildflower has small, five-petaled pink flowers clustered on the end of the unbranched stems. Leaves are narrow and lance-shaped. Relatively uncommon in the park, but found in the Longmire area and drier meadows.

 
Two stems lined with opposite toothed leaves ending in a three tube-like purple flowers. An inset image in the lower left shows a side view of the flowers.
Woodland Penstemon

NPS Photos

Penstemon, Woodland
Nothochelone nemerosa

Also called forest penstemon or turtlehead, this plant is not a true penstemon, but does share a similiar tube-like petal shape, though the interior of the flower is different. Flowers bloom at the end of erect or leaning unbranched stems, 12-24 inches (30-60 cm) long, with opposite, toothed leaves. Very common in low elevation forests.

 
A plant with several tall stems covered in green leaves and topped in pink daisy-like flowers, growing next to pale travertine mineral deposits.
Philadelphia Fleabane

NPS Photo

Philadelphia Fleabane
Erigeron philadelphicus

Also called Philadelphia daisy, this plant has several stems 12-35 inches (30-90 cm) tall, with toothed, clasping leaves that grow smaller moving up along the stems. Leaves and stems covered in short hairs. Several flower heads per stem, with pink blooms. Rare in the park, except in the Ohanapecosh area where it commonly grows around the Ohanapecosh Hot Springs.

 
A single tall stem with lobed, toothed leaves and several narrow purple-brown flowers.
Piggyback Plant

NPS Photo

Piggyback Plant
Tolmiea menziesii

Leaves are toothed, lobed, and both leaves and stem are coarsely hairy. Stems are 12-24 inches (40-60 cm) tall, supporting a series of purple to almost brown flowers. Common in low-elevation forests.

 
Pinesap
Pinesap

NPS, Crow Vecchio

Pinesap

Monotropa hypopithys

This mycotrophic plant is usually found growing in clumps in old coniferous forests. A single stem grows to be 4-16 inches (10-40 cm) tall, and can range in color from yellowish-brown to the occasional bright red.

 
Pippsissewa
Pippsissewa

NPS Photo

Pippsissewa
Chimaphila umbellata

Pippsissewa is a dwarf evergreen shrub, with elliptical, toothed, shiny green leaves. Each plant has a loose cluster of several whitish-pink to rose colored flowers. Commonly grows on well-drained forest slopes throughout the park.

 
Little Pipsissewa
Little Pippsissewa

NPS, Crow Vecchio

Pippsissewa, Little
Chimaphila menziesii

Also known as Menzies' pippsissewa, this dwarf shrub is smaller than its relative pippsissewa (C. umbellata), only growing to be about 6 inches (15cm) tall. Leaves are lance-shaped to oval, and bluish green. Flowers tend to be paler white-pink. Little pippsissewa is much less common than pippsissewa, though they can be found growing together in similar terrain.

 
A large-petaled pink wildflower with toothed leaflets.
Baldhip Rose

NPS Photos

Rose, Baldhip
Rosa gymnocarpa

This shrubby rose has one to three pink flowers on each stem, with large petals about 0.3 inches (10 mm) long. Leaves have 5-7 toothed leaflets. Also known as wood rose, it commonly grows in open woods and forested slopes.

 
A pink flower blooms along a spiny stem covered in leaves.
Salmonberry

NPS Photo

Salmonberry
Rubus spectabilis

A common shrub, sometimes forming tall thickets, with erect, prickly stems. Leaves are divided with three, toothed leaflets. Flowers are solitary or paired, pink, and form raspberry-like red to yellow fruit. Found along streams in forests up to lower elevation subalpine meadows.

 
A cluster of fluted pink flowers on a spike above leaves broken into rounded leaflets.
Scouler's Corydalis

NPS Photo

Scouler's Corydalis
Corydalis scouleri

This plant has sturdy, erect, hollow stems with three leaves emerging from the upper part of the stems. Leaves are large and divided into leaflets. Pink flowers, each about an inch (2.5 cm) long, rise above the leaves in a narrow spike. Common in moist forests.

 
Self-heal
Self-heal

NPS Photo

Self-heal
Prunella vulgaris

Spreading along root stocks, this plant has basal, dark green leaves and a short, hairy spike-like flowering stem. The blue-purple flowers have two lips; the upper arching over like a hood, while the lower lip has three lobes. Prefers moist, shaded-to-sunny forest openings and roadsides, up to 4,000 feet (1,219 m).

 
Several tiny plants with blue flowers cover a patch of ground.
Small-flowered blue-eyed Mary

NPS Photo

Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary
Collinsia parviflora

This charming forest wildflower has tiny 0.15-0.3 inch (4-8 mm) two-lipped blue flowers. The flower upper lip has two lobes, while the bottom lip has three lobes. Leaves opposite along the short stems with flowers clustered at the top. Easy to miss among grass or other groundcover plants.

 
2013-7-11_CommonSpeedwell_KLoving_web
Common Speedwell

NPS Photo

Speedwell, Common
Veronica officinalis

Also called forest speedwell, this plant is far less common than its subalpine cousin Cusick's speedwell (Veronica cusickii). Leaves and stem are finely-hairy, and leaves toothed (Cusick's leaves have no teeth). Found at low elevations, such as near park entrances and in Longmire.

 
Spring Beauty
Spring Beauty

NPS Photo

Spring Beauty
Montia parvifolia

Often found growing in large patches on moist rocky outcrops or stream banks, this plant has small oval basal leaves with a few alternating leaves along a reddish-colored stem. Flowers are small, only about 0.1-0.5 inches (7-15 mm) long, and there are three to eight flowers per stem. Also known as little-leaf miner's lettuce or little-leaf montia.

 
Starflower
Starflower

NPS, Bev Killam

Starflower
Trientalis borealis ssp. latifolia

This plant has 4-7 leaves clustered at the top of a 4-12 inch (10-30 cm) tall, slender stem. Flowers have 5-9 petals, though 6-7 petals most common, pink to rose in color. A related species, northern starflower (Trientalis europaea ssp. arctica) has white petals and is slightly shorter.

 
Twin Flower
Twin Flower

NPS Photo

Twinflower
Linnaea borealis

Spreads on long running stems with upright stems branching off that support the distinctive paired flowers. Leaves are oval, toothed, and evergreen. The flowers range in color from pink to whitish-pink, and have the faint scent of almond. Very common throughout the park, often found carpeting sections of the forest floor.

 
Wild Ginger
Wild Ginger

NPS, Crow Vecchio

Wild Ginger

Asarum caudatum

Leaves are heart-shaped and supported on slender stalks 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) tall. Flowers are usually tucked beneath the leaves, and have no petals. Instead, three wide, purplish-brown sepals form a cup. Named for the strong scent of lemon-ginger it exudes when crushed, wild ginger is believed to have medicinal properties, historically utilized by many native tribes. Relatively uncommon, but keep in eye out for this unusual plant in the Nisqually and Ohanapecosh valleys.

 
Small-flowered Willowherb plant growing in rocky, dry soil (left), and detail of flower (right).
Small-flowered Willowherb (left) with detail of flower (right).

NPS Photo

Willowherb, Small-flowered
Epilobium minutum

Slender-stalked, with oval- to lanced-shaped, finely-toothed leaves spaced in opposite pairs along the stalk. Flowers are 4-lobed and pink. Uncommon in the park, this plant is found in drier, open woods and along roads.

 
Several tall stalks covered in pink flowers growing out from under some shrubs.
Pink Wintergreen

NPS Photo

Wintergreen, Pink
Pyrola asarifolia

At a glance, this plant can be confused with pippsissewa (Chimaphila umbettata), which has a similar flower structure. However, pippsissewa flowers are on branched stems, while wintergreen flowers are along a single tall stalk. Flowers are pinkish-red and curve downwards. Leaves are basal and round. Common in low elevation forests.

Last updated: January 28, 2021

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