Summer Wildflowers Guide

Jun 22, 2018
Summer has officially arrived! Explore Whychus Canyon Preserve and see if you can find all of these summer wildflowers!

By Jana Hemphill

It’s officially summer! After the first wave of spring wildflowers, now there are an abundant number of summer wildflowers appearing. Here are 10 wildflowers to look for at Whychus Canyon Preserve:

 

Common Larkspur. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Common Larkspur. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Common Larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum

Distinctive purple flowers ¾-1 ¼” across with 5 sepals that look like petals. The uppermost petal has a long hollow spur that holds nectar. Cluster of 3-12 purple wildflowers on a slender stem 6-16” tall. Leaves are on the lowest part of the stem.

Blooms: Early Summer

 

 

 

Large-leaved Lupine. Photo: Land Trust.
Large-leaved Lupine. Photo: Land Trust.
Large-leaved Lupine, Lupinus polyphyllus

Blue, valender, pink, or white flowers with a white patch that often turns reddish with age. Bright green basal leaves with 5-11 leaflets 2-3” long. This lupine’s name comes from its many leaflets: poly means “many” and phyllus means “leaf.”

Blooms: Late Spring – Early Summer

 

 

 

Common Yarrow. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Common Yarrow. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Common Yarrow, Achillea millefolium

Flat-topped cluster of many flower heads, usually 5 rays each. Flowers can be same color or contrasting white, pink, and purple. Leaves are fernlike with a stem that is 1-2’ tall.

Blooms: All Summer

 

 

 

 

Arrowleaf Balsamroot. Photo: Tim Cotter.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot. Photo: Tim Cotter.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Balsamorhiza sagittata

One of our showiest wildflowers, lighting up hillsides with sunny, disk-like faces. Grows in clumps with large widely triangular leaves that have heart-shaped bases. Yellow flowers are 2 ½-4” wide on 1-3’ stems.

Blooms: All Summer

 

 

 

Fireweed. Photo: Malcolm Lowery.
Fireweed. Photo: Malcolm Lowery.
Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium

Dense spike of flowers facing outward. Deep pink to magenta petals are ¾-1” wide on 2-5’ stems. Stems are usually reddish with stiff hairs on the upper section. Grows in open and disturbed areas, especially recently burned lands.

Blooms: All Summer

 

 

 

Western Wallflower. Photo: M.A. Willson
Western Wallflower. Photo: M.A. Willson
Western Wallflower, Erysimum capitatum

Orange to yellow flowers are clustered at the top of 2-4’ stem. Petals are spoon-shaped and narrow where attached. Flowers are often fragrant. Develops seedpods below flowers.

Blooms: All Summer

 

 

 

 

Desert Paintbrush. Photo: Gary Miller.
Desert Paintbrush. Photo: Gary Miller.
Desert Paintbrush, Castilleja chromosa

Clump of erect stems with bristly gray-green to purple-red leaves. Tubuluar flowers are bright red to orange-red and usually fuzzy with a thin coat of white hairs. Also has three-lobed brightly colored bracts (modified leaves) that surround the “real” flowers.

Blooms: Midsummer

 

 

 

Seep Monkeyflower. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Seep Monkeyflower. Photo: Kris Kristovich.
Seep Monkeyflower, Erythranthe guttata

Flower stalks ¼-3” long, usually with 5 or more yellow flowers near the top. Lower flower lobes have red dots in throat area with smaller upper lobes. Grows in wet places. The flower species is currently being heavily studied to understand evolution and ecology.

Blooms: All Summer

 

 

 

Scarlet Gillia. Photo: Toni Morris.
Scarlet Gillia. Photo: Toni Morris.
Scarlet Gilia, Ipomopsis aggregate

Trumpet-shaped, bright red flowers on stems up to 3’ tall. Flower color may vary from scarlet speckled with white, to pale pink speckled with red. Grows in dry soil in woodland openings and meadows.

Blooms: Midsummer

 

 

 

 

Sagebrush Mariposa Lily. Photo: Land Trust.
Sagebrush Mariposa Lily. Photo: Land Trust.
Sagebrush Mariposa Lily, Calochortus macrocarpus

A sagebrush jewel that blooms intensely lavender on tall 8-23” stems. Mariposa is ‘butterfly’ in Spanish, and kalo and chortos are Greek for ‘beautiful’ and ‘grass.’

Blooms: Late Summer

 

 

 

 

*Please note that bloom times are approximate and related to weather conditions more than calendar dates.*

 

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