Forest Wildflowers - Yellow/Orange

 
A patch of green leaves with bright yellow flowers. An inset in the upper left shows a detail of the wildflower.
Creeping Buttercup

NPS Photo

Buttercup, Creeping
Ranunculus repens

A weedy plant with short stems and triangular, deeply lobed, toothed leaves. Leaves dark green with irregular lighter patches. Flowers are deep yellow and shiny. Often found along roadsides or disturbed areas up to 3,000 feet (900 m).

 
A plant with lobed, purple-streaked leaves and branching stems topped in tiny yellow flowers. An inset in the lower left corner shows a detail of the flowers.
Small-flowered Buttercup

NPS Photo

Buttercup, Small-flowered
Ranunculus uncinatus

Taller than other buttercup species, with branching stems topped with tiny yellow flowers. Petals are only 0.1 inch (3 mm) long and the achene (the dry, one-seeded fruit) is hairy on top and has a strong, curved beak. Leaves are toothed, deeply lobed, and may be marked with purple. Found in open forests up to 4,000 feet (1,200 m), particularly around the Nisqually Entrance and Ohanapecosh areas.

 
Several leafy plants with large plumes of numerous yellow flowers.
Canada Goldenrod

NPS Photo

Canada Goldenrod
Solidago lepida

Large clusters of numerous yellow flowers top leafy stems 20-40 inches (50-100 cm) tall. Leaves are 2-5 inches (6-12 cm) long, lance-shaped, with toothed edges. This is the only goldenrod species found at low elevations (and much larger than alpine species), typically in moist meadows or open areas such as roadsides.

 
A cluster of yellow flowers at the top of a plant with three-lobed toothed leaves.
Large-leaved Avens

NPS Photo

Large-leaved Avens
Geum macrophyllum

This plant has large fine-toothed basal leaves with three-lobed leaflets along the stem. Three to ten yellow flowers with five petals cluster at the top of the stem. Common along streams and the edges of woods, such as along trails and roads at lower elevations.

 
A patch of tiny yellow flowers with red spots growing next to a rock.
Chickweed Monkeyflower

NPS Photo

Monkeyflower, Chickweed
Mimulus alsinoides

Easy to overlook, this small monkeyflower has yellow flowers with a distinctive red spot on the lower lip. Leaves are small, toothed, and roundish on short stalks. Grows on shallow soil on rocky banks at lower elevations up to 4,500 feet (1,370 m).

 
Yellow Cascade Oregon-grape flowers (left); leaves with 11-19 toothed leaflets (right).
Cascade Oregon-grape flowers (left); leaves with 11-19 toothed leaflets (right).

NPS Photo

Oregon-grape, Cascade
Berberis nervosa

This plant has stout stems with closely-spaced leaves with 11-19 toothed leaflets per leaf. Common in forests mostly below 3,000 feet (914 m). Produces small, tart, purple berries sometimes used for jelly.

 
A shrub with dark green leaves and clusters of yellow flowers.
Holly-leaf Oregon-grape

NPS Photo

Oregon-grape, Holly-leaf
Berberis aquifolium

Less common than the related Cascade Oregon-grape, and more shrub-like. Holly-leaf Oregon-grape can be 3-9 feet (1-3 m) tall with spiny, dark green leaves very similar to the leaves of holly trees. Flowers are yellow and clustered. This plant can be found in the Longmire area or near the Nisqually Entrance.

 
A clump of tall reddish stems topped in drops of yellow flowers. An inset image in the upper right shows a closeup of the flowering top.
Pinedrops

NPS Photo

Pinedrops
Pterospora andromedea

A single reddish-brown stalk, growing up to 40 inches (100 cm) high, supports numerous nodding "drops" of yellow urn-shaped flowers. Pinedrops do not have green leaves, but are mycoheterotrophic, forming a symbiotic relationship with fungi for energy. Commonly found growing in clumps of stems in low-elevation coniferous forests.

 
Skunk Cabbage
Skunk Cabbage

NPS Photo

Skunk Cabbage
Lysichiton americanus

Generally the first plant to bloom in spring, the bright yellow "flower" of the skunk cabbage is actually a modified bract, or leaf. The true flowers form a dense yellow-green spike that gives off a distinctive skunk-like smell. The glossy green basal leaves can grow to be up to 5 feet (1.5 m) long. Very common and easy to spot emerging from wet swampy ground throughout the park.

 
Tiger Lily
Tiger Lily

NPS, Chris Roundtree

Tiger Lily
Lilium columbianum

Flowers bloom on tall, curved stalks so they hang downwards. Stalks can be up to 6.5 feet (2 m) long, though generally shorter. Narrow leaves encircle the lower portions of the stalk to form rings, or whorls. The leaves become scattered along the upper portion of the stalk. Grows in open woods on dryish ground, and along roadsides.

 
Evergreen Violet
Evergreen Violet

NPS, Crow Vecchio

Violet, Evergreen
Viola sempervirens

Also known as trailing yellow violet, this tiny flower is common in moist forests and has heart- to kidney-shaped leaves. Stream or yellow wood violets (Viola glabella) look very similar and can also be found in the park.

 
A small yellow violet with round leaves growing out of moss.
Roundleaf Violet

NPS Photo

Violet, Roundleaf
Viola orbiculata

Very similar to other yellow violets in the park, but has thin, round basal leaves with scalloped edges on reddish stalks. This tiny violet is common in Mount Rainier's forests up to the lower subalpine regions.

 
Wall Lettuce
Wall Lettuce

NPS Photo

Wall Lettuce
Mycelis muralis

A nonnative plant commonly found along roadsides and open woods. Slender branched stems, overall about 12-28 inches (30-70 cm) tall, with loose clusters of five-petaled, yellow flowers. Leaves basal, with some clasping leaves along stem, and deeply lobed.

Last updated: January 27, 2021

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