Varieties of Indigenous Flowers in Idaho
Idaho is known for its mountains and meadows that are covered with
beautiful flowers such as the buttercups and violets. The state’s
forest grows different varieties of numerous orchids as well.
Varieties of indigenous flowers Idaho range from water-loving types
and plants that are extremely drought tolerant. This existence of
such indigenous flowering plants is due to Idaho’s widely varied
The Philadelphus lewisii or Syringa which is also for its other name
as the Mock Orange is the state flower of Idaho. This particular
indigenous flower was designated by a legislature made in the year
1931. Syringa is a branching shrub plant with blossoms that are
quite similar to those of the Mock Orange flowers. This similarity
of features between the two plants earned Syringa to be known by the
name of Mock Orange as well.
Syringa scientifically recognized as the Philadelphus lewisii is
made up of four petals that are usually in shades of cream.
Indigenous flowers of Syringa plants grow at the tip of its short
leafy branches. This deciduous flowering shrub gives best result and
grows abundantly in well-drained soil, making Syringa Idaho’s
moderately drought-tolerant type of plant.
Aside from Syringa, there are other indigenous flowers found in
Idaho. Among them is the indigenous Munro globemallow, a
salmon-colored flower with five petals that grows best on moderate
water under the full sun.
Other moderately drought tolerant plants found in Idaho are the
Prairie smoke, Serviceberry and the Long-plumed avens. Prairie smoke
is an indigenous mountain meadow plant that bears red-colored
flowers that blooms during the summer. Serviceberry is a native
plant shrub that blooms white-colored flowers during the spring.
This particular plant bears edible blue-colored berries in the
summer. Another mountain meadow plant is the Long-plumed avens.
Similar to the Prairie smoke, Long-plumed avens bears reddish blooms
during the summer season as well.
An example of extremely drought tolerant flowering plant found in
Idaho is the Rabbitbrush. This indigenous plant belongs to the
Chrysothamnus species under nauseosus variety. It is a nondescript
perennial plant that grows in late summer. Rabbitbrush provides
display of flowers in shades of yellow attracting butterflies and
passerby that comes along its way.
Another plant that belongs to the range of extremely drought
tolerant plants is the Bitterbrush. Like the Rabbitbrush, it also
bears yellow-colored flowers that provide sweet-smelling scents.
Bitterbrush blossoms are flowers of five petals that bloom early in
Sulfur buckwheat, a deep-yellow flowering perennial plant with
blossoms that bloom in the early summer days are indigenous in the
dry areas of Idaho that requires full sun and well-drained ground
soil. Other known indigenous plants that are considered extremely
drought tolerant types are the Indian ricegrass, Arrowleaf
balsamroot, Firewood, Sand lilies, Lupines, Goldenrods and the Blue,
Hotrock, and Shrubby penstemon.
Water-loving plants of Idaho are found in areas that are provided
with ample irrigation. These types of indigenous flower plants are
usually found growing along the springs and mountain streams in
Idaho. Some of these water-loving plants are known by the name of
Skunk cabbage, Water plantain, Lilies and the purplish-red colored
tubular blossoms of the Lewis monkeyflower plant
Idaho grows many types of flowers. Numerous orchid varieties grow
in its forests, and other flowers such as the violets and buttercups
cover its mountain meadows.
Idaho’s climate varies widely. Similarly varied in their
climate preferences, Idaho’s indigenous flowers range in their
drought tolerance – from the extremely drought tolerant plants to
the water-loving types.
The rabbit brush, for one, is an extremely drought tolerant
plant, and grows in Idaho’s southern desert areas. Its yellow
flowers come out during late summer or early fall. Similarly
extremely drought tolerant is the Bitterbrush. It bears
sweet-smelling yellow flowers with five petals during the early part
of May. Another plant which is drought tolerant is the Indian
ricegrass, a native perennial bunchgrass. Its flower stalks are
attractive, but the plant is relatively short-lived. The arrowleaf
balsamroot is also a drought tolerant indigenous perennial. It is
long-lived, but does not flower until its 4th to 7th year. Its
flowers, which emerge in May, are sunflower-like. The blue
penstemon, another indigenous flower of Idaho is also drought
tolerant. It has large, deep purple tubular flowers that come out
in May and June when planted in full sun. The hotrock penstemon is
also drought tolerant plant indigenous to Idaho. It produces white
tubular flowers from May to June. Another kind of penstemon is the
shrubby penstemon which is longer lived than other penstemons, but
requires a well-drained soil. Its flowers are large and may be blue
or lavender. The blooms come out in June and July and is native to
the Idaho mountains, in rocky areas.
The Sulfur buckwheat is also drought tolerant and produces
deep yellow flowers in early summer. However, they require good
soil drainage and full sun. Other common flowering plants in
Idaho’s dry areas are the fireweed, goldenrod, lupines, sand lilies,
and sego lilies.
Idaho is also home to some flowering shrubs that are
moderately drought tolerant. These include the Serviceberry, a
native shrub that blooms with white flowers in spring and bears
edible blue fruits in the summer. There are also those that require
only moderate amounts of water like the prairie smoke. This is a
mountain meadow native which bears reddish flowers from early to
middle summer. The long-plumed avens is another mountain meadow
requiring moderate amounts of water. It also bears reddish flowers
during the summer.
Other flowers indigenous to Idaho include the Syringa, Idaho’s
state flower, a deciduous shrub with cream colored 4-petaled
flowers. This plant grows best in well-drained soils. Another is
the munro globemallow, which has salmon-colored five-petaled
flowers, best planted in full sun and with moderate watering.
Areas with ample irrigation have the water loving plants such
as the water plantain, skunk cabbage, and lilies, abundantly.
Another moisture-loving plant is the Lewis monkeyflower which has
large, purplish-red tubular flowers. They also grow along mountain
streams and springs. The Oregon checkermallow is also not drought
tolerant, although it grows best when planted in full sun. It
produces pale lavender spikes of flowers reaching up to three feet.
A non-profit organization dedicated to promoting interest in native
plant communities of the state. Includes list of plants of
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Pahove Chapter's 2007 Native Plant Sale
Pahove Chapter's 2007 Native Plant Sale:
Saturday, April 21 - 10am-2pm
MK Nature Center, Boise, Idaho
Arrive early to get the best selection, they sell out quickly!
Guide to the wildflowers that grow in the mountains of Idaho,
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