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Flowers in the Northwest

By Regina Sass ; Updated September 21, 2017
Western columbine grows in all of the Northwest.

The Northwest states of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming share a rich wildflower heritage with flowers that are available for the home gardener to create his own wildflower garden. Flowers native to the area come in all shapes, sizes and colors. At least one will be a perfect fit for an empty garden space.

Western Columbine

Western columbine (Aquilegia formosa Fisch. ex DC.) is also known as scarlet columbine and red columbine and is a member of the buttercup family. The flower grows in moist, open woods and along the banks of streams in Washington, Wyoming, Oregon, Montana and Idaho. The plant grows from 2 to 3 feet tall and features blue-green leaves and red-yellow flowers that grow at the top of the branches and bloom from May through August. Give Western columbine full sun or partial shade and a soil that is rocky and moist to dry. The plant is a favorite of hummingbirds.

Heart-leaf Leopardbane

Heart-leaf leopardbane (Arnica cordifolia Hook) grows heart-shaped leaves on long stems at the base of the plant. Single yellow flowers grow at the top of stems from 8 to 20 inches tall. This member of the aster family blooms from May through August in Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon and Wyoming. Plant heart-leaf leopardbane in partial shade and a moist soil.


Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Spreng.) grows from 1 to 3 feet tall, up to 15 feet wide and is used as a ground cover. The plant produces evergreen, paddle-shaped leaves starting out as yellow-green in the spring, becoming dark-green in the summer and finally red-purple in the winter. Small, bell-shaped, pink or white flowers grow in drooping clusters on bright-red stems from March through June. Bright-red berries follow the flowers. Kinnikinnick grows in the woods, on the dry, sandy hills and in the mountains in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington and Wyoming. Plant in full sun, partial shade or full shade and a soil that is moist to dry. Birds will come by for the fruits and hummingbirds and butterflies for the nectar.

Narrow-leaf Fireweed

Narrow-leaf fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium ssp. angustifolium (L.) Holub) is a member of the evening-primrose family. The plant grows from 3 to 5 feet tall with red stems and elongated leaves. Its rose-purple flowers are 1 inch across and grow in clusters at the tips of the stems in June, July and August. Narrow-leaf fireweed grows in dry clearing and low-lying, moist areas in Montana, Washington and Wyoming. Plant in full sun and a soil that is moist to dry and well drained. Butterflies and bees will come by for the nectar.