Southern Utah is home to stunning rock formations and incredible desert landscapes. When most people think of plants in the desert, sagebrush, and cacti come to mind. But, the Southern Utah desert is home to hundreds of unique and beautiful plants. Bryce Canyon National Park combines Utah’s impressive rock formations with colorful plant life. Here is a list of 12 wildflowers to keep an eye out for next time you are in the park:
We had to start this list off with Utah’s State flower. You can identify the sego lily by its three white bell-shaped petals. While its petals are usually white, sometimes you can find a sego lily with lilac or blue petals. Fun fact, in the 1800s early settlers ate the bulb of the sego lily when a plague of crop devouring crickets hit.
Where to find it: You can find the sego lily in the drier areas below the brim of Bryce Canyon.
The columbine is a member of the buttercup family. The flower usually has five petals but can come in a variety of shapes and colors. In Bryce Canyon National Park the columbines are blue, a beautiful contrast against the bright red rock.
Where to find it: Columbines thrive in shady moist areas. You will have the best luck finding a columbine flower in the meadows of the park.
Bryce Canyon Paintbrush
This plant is special because it can only be found in Bryce National Park and the surrounding region. It is a small plant and doesn’t grow more than six inches tall. These colorful plants are actually semi-parasitic meaning that they use their roots to siphon off nutrients from the water and other plants.
Where to find it: You can usually find the Bryce Canyon Paintbrush along the Fairyland, Queen’s Garden, and Peekaboo Trails.
Prickly Pear Cactus
The prickly pear is one of the most common cacti which makes it easy to identify. This cactus usually blooms in the early summer and can produce flowers that are yellow, magenta, or pink. But be careful, the paddle-shaped pads are covered in spines, so look but don’t touch!
Where to find it: You’ll find these beauties in the drier areas of Bryce Canyon National Park.
The larkspur is a smaller flower that doesn’t get much bigger than one inch across. Like the columbine flower, the larkspur is also a part of the buttercup family. These flowers boast gorgeous blue, violet, or white petals.
Where to find it: You will be able to find these flowers in the drier areas of Bryce Canyon National Park.
The showy stoneseed is hard to miss with its bright yellow trumpet-shaped petals. What makes it unique is that the edges of its petals are frilly. This plant is technically an herb and was once used to make medicinal tea.
Where to find it: You can find the stoneseed in disturbed areas, along walking paths and roadsides in the park.
The blue fax is a striking and delicate flower. The flower consists of five petals that follow an alternating pattern of narrow and short. Its petals can be white to deep blue in color.
Where to find it: The blue fax can be found in open fields, trails, and around shrubs.
The Markagunt Penstemon boasts beautiful tubular flowers. The flowers are usually blue or violet, but can sometimes give off a pinkish hue. It also has red-violet veins that spread throughout its petals. This flower is a part of a tall-growing species, which makes it easier to spot.
Where to find it: The location of this flower is in its name! The Markagunt Penstemon can be found in the Markagunt Range of Bryce Canyon.
The western iris is a gorgeous flower, with long blue to purple petals and a yellow center. But be aware that the western iris is a deadly flower.
Where to find it: This flower can be found in moist areas, usually found in the meadows of the park. Again, this flower should be admired from a distance and not touched or ingested.
The Many-Flowered Stoneseed belongs to the same family as the showy stoneseed. This flower also has bright yellow petals but the flower tends to droop down towards the ground. Fun fact, Native Americans used the roots of the flower to make a purple dye. This dye was used on clothing and feathers.
Where to find it: This flower can be found almost anywhere in the park.
Red Canyon Penstemon
The Red Canyon Penstemon features multiple flowers shaped like a tube. Unlike its name implies, the red canyon penstemon flower is usually blue to blue-violet. The flowers sit on top of stems covered with leaves. These flowers are rare. Over the years they have been destroyed by hikers who wander off the trail system. If you see a Red Canyon Penstemon off the trail, admire it from afar.
Where to find it: You can find this flower towards the top of the Peekaboo trail.
The western wallflower is a common wildflower that can be found at various elevations throughout Utah. You will be able to spot it by its bright yellow color and its four neatly arranged petals. Fun fact, the wallflower got its name from growing on old walls in Europe.
Where to find it: You can see the western wallflower at viewpoints along the main road in Bryce Canyon.
Next time you are at Bryce Canyon National Park looking up at the incredible rock formations, don’t forget to look for these beautiful flowers! These flowers add to the beauty of the park. Please don’t take away that beauty by picking the flowers, leave them for everyone to enjoy! To better enjoy your trip to Bryce Canyon, book your stay with Bryce Valley Lodging. Learn more about what Bryce Canyon National Park has to offer by reading our other blogs.