A beginners guide to Teton wildflowers

JACKSON, WY – From Snow King to Death Canyon to the top of the Tram, a few minutes on the trail will expose any hiker to a wide variety of wildflowers. In early spring and into mid-summer (especially this year) nearly every hillside and sagebrush flat in the Valley is covered in a rainbow of flowers. Pink, purple, white, blue, and bursts of red make each outing feel like a surprise party, complete with all-natural confetti. Here is a list of ten of the most common flowers spotted over the past two weeks on trails in and around Jackson Hole. All of these flowers were found below 10,000 feet and some found only 20 minutes from downtown Jackson.

 

Sticky Geranium

Also known as Cranesbill. Sticky Geranium is found in open woods or meadows and lasts from June until August.

 

One-flowered Little Sunflowers (Helianthella uniflora)

This little flower can easily get confused with a common sunflower or Balsamroot. In fact, the Helianthella uniflora is in the same family as the common sunflower (producer of seeds and oil) but is much smaller.

 

Silvery Lupine

There are nearly 600 species of Lupine in North America. These flowers grow in colorful clumps everywhere from sagebrush flats to lodgepole forests. A ubiquitous flower in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

 

Columbia Monkshood

These beautiful little flowers resemble monks’ robes – hence the name. The stems are tall, ranging from two to five feet. You will find these flowers in wet, shady areas up to 9,000 ft in most of the canyons in the Range.

 

Cow Parsnip

Usually found in similar locales as Monkshood, Cow Parsnip loves moist meadows and ravines where there is enough water to satisfy its large leaves.

 

Colorado Columbine

These elegant, graceful flowers can be found throughout the Rocky Mountains. Though the Columbine is the state flower of Colorado, they are common in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, up to 9,000 ft. Typically blue in Colorado, the sepals ( ) fade to white as one moves northward.

 

Showy Green Gentian

The Green Gentians are particularly ginormous this season, perhaps due to a wet winter. Find these plants reaching heights of five to seven feet tall! These giant flowers live for up to 40 years.

 

Silky Phacelia

Like little fireworks, Silky Phacelia is a beautiful flower. Colors can range from magenta to deep purple.

 

Paintbrush

There are 10 to 12 different species of Castilleja (Paintbrush) in the park. It takes a botanist to parse out the details that separate them.

 

Balsamroot

Balsamroot are in their prime for only a short period – filling the sagebrush flats with yellow flowers. As July comes to a close, their large green leaves will turn crispy.

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