Colorado Flowers


Left:     Fairy Slipper and May snow. First place winner in Continental Divide Land Trust photo contest, Oct. 2014.
Right:   Orange Wallflower. Near Mt. Goliath Natural Area, Mt. Evans Road. An unusual and striking color.

The flowers in the Colorado mountains are spectacular. At the links below is a large selection, with some of my favorites shown below on this page. I am grateful to Jane Hendrix, Patricia Taylor, and Marty Richardson for their help in identification. Jane Hendrix's web page has a quite complete collection of photos of flowers in Summit County. Another good resource is Wildflowers West.

White Flowers        Yellow Flowers        Red Flowers        Purple Flowers        Blue Flowers        Brown Flowers        Bristlecone Pines
Mushrooms (Boletus rubriceps, Amanita muscaria, Pholiota squarrosa, Gyromitra esculenta, Cantharellus cibarius, and some others)

Some of these appear to me to be rare or at least unusual in the Colorado mountains, as they are seldom seen. In such a list I would place the following, in order of rarity as far as my observations go. Some are truly rare (e.g., Kluane poppies, white elephant heads, white monkshood, white and orange wallflowers, scree penstemon, whiplash saxifrage), others have been rare only for me.

White elephant heads (seen only once, near Loveland Pass)
White violets, with white spur or blue spur (seen once near Hoosier Pass)
White Forget-Me-Nots (seen on Mt. Evans)
Wallflower, orange color variation (seen on Mt. Evans)
Wallflower, purple color variation (seen on Casco Peak and Mt. Evans)
Wallflower, white color variation (seen once on Casco Peak)
Wallflower, orange-pink color variation (seen once on Casco Peak)
Whiplash saxifrage (yellow, Loveland Pass, west side, high near the first bump, not far from road; north side of Independence Pass, 800 ft up; has been called rare)
Kluane poppy (yellow; seen only twice: Hoosier Ridge and near North Mount Massive)
Spreading dogbane (pink; seen only once, on Mesa Cortina Trail)
Spotted coralroot (white orchid, no chlorophyll, lives off mycelium of Russula mushrooms, seen only once)
Scree penstemon (purple; seen only at one place, but in quantity there: below Argentine Pass, east side, on the old trail)
Purple avens (seen only once)
Rock clematis (purple; seen only once: my wife Joan Hutchinson spotted it on Lily Pad Lake trail)
Alpine dusty maiden (white; seen only once, Loveland Pass area)
Clustered lady slippers (brown; seen only twice)
Sugar bowl (purple)
White fairy slippers
Bashful ragwort (yellow, seen once)


Kluane poppies


Glacier lilies, by Michael Rogers


Western wallflower, purple color variation.


Western wallflower, rare pink color variation.


Western wallflower, rare orange color variation (Mt Evans)


Calypso, rare white variation


Prairie smoke


Whiplash saxifrage

Mushroom hunting in Colorado is a great sport. I include here my favorite fungal portraits. In 2010-2011 I curated an exhibit of mushroom paintings by the Russian artist Alexander (Sasha) Viazmensky at Macalester College. Check out his beautiful work at

Mushrooms (Boletus rubriceps, Amanita muscaria, Pholiota squarrosa, Gyromitra esculenta, Cantharellus cibarius, others)


Created with the Wolfram Language