5 Western Wildflowers

For our 2011 roadtrip Sarah and I bought a couple of Audubon Pocket Guides so we could learn more about the native trees and flowers. Somehow these survived several moves and we fished them out for this trip. These are five wildflowers we were delighted to ‘discover’ on our travels.

1. Blazing Star

Blazing Star
Blazing Star

We caught this ornate beauty in full bloom early in the morning, growing on black lava rock at Craters of the Moon National Park in Idaho. When the day heats up it folds gently away to await the evening cool.

2. Fringed Gentian

Fringed Gentian
Fringed Gentian

This is the official park flower of Yellowstone which is, appropriately, where we encountered it, while hiking near Old Faithful geyser.

3. Sulphur Flower

Sulphur Flower
Sulphur Flower

Actually a wild species of buckwheat, sulphur flower grows profusely on arid terrain. This photo was taken at Craters of the Moon.

4. Showy Fleabane

Showy Fleabane
Showy Fleabane

This relative of the daisy is ubiquitous in the west. I snapped this cluster at Yellowstone Lake. The name – which I love – derives from its ancient use as an insect repellant. According to an alchemy website this means it can also “be used magically to ward off evil spirits.” If you try, let me know how it goes!

5. Yarrow

Yarrow
Yarrow

These sturdy little plants have delicate, fern-shaped leaves and if you crush the stems they give off a delicious spearmint scent.