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Wildflowers in the Teton Region


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With only 60 to 70 frost free days a year, wildflowers take advantage of every summer moment. The lower elevations witnessed flora fauna blossom with vibrant color. As the weeks go by and the snow line continues to recede, vegetation will rise through the canyons and up mountain sides reaching all the way to the Teton crest.


Habitat Zones

Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding region can be separated into three distinct vegetation zones: the sagebrush valley, the forest floor, and the alpine zone.


The Sagebrush Valley

Skyrocket gilia, larkspur, and indian paintbrush bloom in the valley as temperatures rise. Porous valley soils support plants that are stubborn enough to tolerate hot and dry conditions. Visible throughout the region, these flowers paint the countryside with color.


Jackson Hole Wild Flowers Grand Teton National Park The Mountain Pulse

Skyrocket gilia: It has characteristic red, trumpet-shaped flowers and basal leaves stemming from a single erect stem. There are many subspecies. It is also called honeysuckle, owing to the shape of the flower and the droplet of nectar that can be enjoyed by picking off the flower and sucking it out of the basal end.


Jackson Hole Wild Flowers The Mountain Pulse Grand Teton

Larkspur: The leaves are deeply lobed with 3-7 toothed, pointed lobes in a palmate shape. The main flowering stem is erect, and varies greatly in size between the species, from 10 centimeters in some alpine species, up to 2 meters tall in the larger meadowland species; it is topped with a raceme of many flowers, varying in color from purple and blue to red, yellow or white.


Jackson Hole Wild Flowers The Mountain Pulse Grand Teton

Indian Paintbrush is the state flower of Wyoming. The flowers of Indian paintbrush are edible and sweet, and were consumed in moderation by various Native American tribes as a condiment with other fresh greens. Indian paintbrush has similar health benefits to consuming garlic if only the flowers are eaten in small amounts and in moderation.


The Forest Floor

Flowers like fireweed, columbine, monkshood, and the rare calypso orchid enjoy the moist environments found in forests. As elevation increases, wildflowers spread across the the slopes of mountains trees become stunted and eventually shrublike.


Fireweed Grand Teton Jackson Hole The Mountain Pulse

Fireweed: This herb is often abundant in open fields, pastures, and particularly burned-over lands; the name Fireweed derives from the species’ abundance as a coloniser on burnt sites after forest fires. Its tendency to quickly colonize open areas with little competition makes it a clear example of a pioneer species.


Columbine Wildflower Jackson Hole Grand Teton The Mountain Pulse

Columbine is a wildflower native to mountain meadows, open woods, and alpine slopes of the Rocky Mountains from Utah north to British Columbia and Alberta.
The plant grows to up to 3 feet in height. While the most common flower color is yellow, portions of the flowers can also be blue, yellow-pink, raspberry pink, white, and cream.


Wildflowers Jackson Hole Grand Teton National Park The Mountain Pulse

Monkshood: These perennial plants are chiefly natives of the mountainous parts of the northern hemisphere, growing in moisture retentive but well draining soils on mountain meadows.They are distinguishable by having one of the five petaloid sepals (the posterior one), called the galea, in the form of a cylindrical helmet; hence the English name monkshood.


The Alpine Zone

The flowers of the alpine zone grow close to the ground and the flowers are very small. The extremely short season, and extreme conditions make these plants very delicate. Examples include moss campion, alpine forget-me-not, and sky pilot.


Wildflowers Jackson Hole Grand Teton The Mountain Pulse

Moss Campion is a small mountain-dwelling wildflower that is common all over the high arctic and the higher mountains of North America. It is densely tufted, forming domed cushions composed of long shoots with four or five small green leaves at their apex and many remnants of old leaves below.


Grand Teton National Park The Mountain Pulse Jackson Hole

Alpine forget-me-not is Alaska’s state flower. In Wyoming, the wild Alpine forget-me-not grows well in open, rocky places high in the mountains. You will see the diminutive alpine forget-me-not in midsummer. Alpine Forget-me-nots belong to one of the few plant families that display true blue flowers.


Flower descriptions were provided in part by Wikipedia. Enjoy the wildflower season in Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding National Forests this summer!


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