Throughout the state of Colorado near steams, in the mountains, by the foothills and in the forest, you will find an abundance of Colorado native plants growing in the wild. There are cacti, edible plants and wildflowers that add color to the abundance of green vegetation growing in the state of Colorado.
Prickly Pear Cactus
The prickly pear is native to Colorado and will grow at elevations to 8000 feet. The cacti can grow to 12 inches and spread out over 36 inches of ground. The prickly pear cactus grows in the full sun of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with flowers blooming in spring and summer. The yellow bowl shaped flower last only one to two days. After the flower is ripened, it produces red fruit in the fall that is edible.
The monardo fistulosa grows in Colorado on the dryer hillsides in elevations up to 8000 feet. The plant smells like citrus oregano, but is in the mint family. The plant has small purple flowers with oval shaped petals forming a point at the tip. The plant grows wild and can be used as a spice or in teas.
The dog rose grows in the Colorado foothills and along streams where there is a lot of moisture. The plant gives off a rosy smell. The green leaves surround a center flower that is pinkish in color shaped like a teacup. The petals are used to make wines, teas and can be eaten when cooked or raw. The dog rose flowers provide more vitamin C than what a single orange provides.
The yellow salsify is a perennial that blossoms from Mat to August. The plant grows to 4 inches tall. The flowers are yellow and resemble a daisy flower or a dandelion. The flower can be found along the road in sunny spots or in the aspen forest, meadows and fields. The roots, leaves and shoots of the yellow salsify can be eaten.
Western Blue Flax
The tiny blue flowers of the western blue flax have four petals. The flower grows right out of the ground with no leaves. The seeds are used for medical purposes to treat skin aliments. Although the plant is edible, injecting large quantities can be toxic.