6 Beautiful Wildflowers You’ll Find in Utah

Sego Lily - Official State Flower of Utah
© RPeterson/Shutterstock.com

Written by Katie Melynn Wood

Updated: March 5, 2024

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If you’re planning a visit to the Beehive State during peak wildflower blooms, you’re sure to be treated to some truly spectacular views of the landscape. Whether it’s on a hiking trail or just in your own backyard, these wildflowers you’ll find in Utah are some of the most beautiful blooms in the state.

The Best Time of Year to See Wildflowers

You can see wildflowers begin to bloom as early as March in Utah, although they won’t appear in the areas at higher elevations until May or even June. Most species bloom throughout the summer and into the early fall. Even at the end of August, there are plenty of colorful blossoms in many parts of Utah. By September, however, most wildflowers have already peaked and begin to go dormant as they get ready for the colder winter months. This occurs earlier in the higher elevation regions. If you want to see wildflowers later in the season, stick to spots like Beaver Dam Wash in southwestern Utah, the lowest point in the state.

Identification Tips for Wildflowers in Utah

Start by looking at the blooms of the flower. These are some of the most recognizable and distinctive features of plants. Note size, color, shape, and other defining features. A useful guidebook can help you identify lesser-known species in the wild. Some of the most common wildflowers are also some of the most recognizable because they are so plentiful throughout the state. As you learn to identify wildflowers, you’ll be much more likely to notice them when you are out and about.

It’s important to follow the Leave No Trace principles when interacting with the landscape of Utah and any other state. This helps preserve the flora and fauna as well as ensures a diverse and healthy ecosystem. Interfering with wildlife by picking flowers or leaving trash can have negative impacts. It’s best to leave the area just as you found it.

#1 Sego Lily

Single Sego Lily Calochortus nuttallii blossom in the canyon

Sego lilies are the state flower of Utah.

©Kris Wiktor/Shutterstock.com

This plant has delicate white, yellow, or even lilac flowers. White is the most common color associated with sego lilies. They have three main petals and three narrow sepals at the base. The center is yellow. They are the state flower of Utah because they played an important role in the state’s history. When Mormon settlers first arrived, the Native American tribes that lived in Utah taught them to use the bulbs of sebo lilies as a source of food.

#2 Elephant’s Head

Elephant’s Head flowers look like elephant faces with long trunks and two ears.

©Jim Morefield from Nevada, USA/ CC BY-SA 2.0 – Original

Elephant’s Head tends to grow at higher elevations in the state. They can be pink or purple with large clusters of flowers. They grow upright and can get up to 18 inches of flowers on a long stalk. These flowers are given the name Elephant’s Head because they resemble elephants. The petals look like a trunk and the side lobes stick out like two ears. Look for the distinctive side lobs to identify this wildflower in Utah.

#3 Indian Paintbrush

Single stalk of bright red Indian Paintbrush

Indian Paintbrush wildflowers look like paintbrushes dipped in paint.

©Nancy Strohm/iStock via Getty Images

Another brightly colored wildflower, Indian Paintbrush adds red and orange to the landscape. They have petals clustered closely together like a paintbrush dipped in paint. In addition to red or orange, the Indian Paintbrush can also be white, yellow, or pink. They tend to grow in higher elevations, in the mountains, prairies, woods, and deserts of Utah. If you want to make a space attractive for bees and other pollinators, let Indian Paintbrushes grow and you’re sure to have beneficial wildlife in the area in no time.

#4 Yarrow

Multiple common yarrow in bloom close-up with selective focus

For centuries Yarrow plants have been used for medicinal purposes, such as stanching the flow of blood in wounds.

©iStock.com/Silviu Carol Cenusa

These delicate wildflowers grow with a lot of smaller blossoms in clusters. The flowers are white and the plant has a strong, distinctive smell. The stems grow up to 3 feet tall, although the actual flower clusters are small at the top of the long stem with bushy green fern-like leaves. Some more colorful versions of yarrow are cultivated for landscaping, although the wildflower varieties tend to be yellow or pink.

#4 Silvery Lupine

Use the distinct flowers of the Silvery Lupine to identify this wildflower in Utah.

©Matt Lavin / CC BY-SA 2.0 – Original / License

Another tall flower with a striking flower on the top, Silvery Lupine is actually white or purple and not silver. The flowers can range from light purple or deep violet and make a bold, colorful statement in the mountain landscape of Utah. They can grow at elevations up to 12,000 feet, making them some of the most distinct and plentiful wildflowers in these parts of Utah. Silvery Lupine grows in both shade and sun.

#5 Utah Columbine

Columbine flowers grow in many states in the United States, including Utah.

©brewbooks from near Seattle, USA/ CC BY-SA 2.0 – Original

These wildflowers have a lot of petals and sepals, giving them an appearance somewhat similar to daffodils. They come in many colors as well. White and yellow are common but they can also be red or blue. Utah Columbine grows better in cooler areas with plenty of humidity. You’ll find them more in the rocky, mountainous areas, damp forests, or meadows rather than in dry, arid regions of Utah’s deserts. In wildflower gardens, columbine flowers are popular because they grow well from seeds and are a beautiful and beneficial addition to the landscape.

#6 Mountain Bluebell

Mountain Bluebell in a Quaint Meadow Closeup

Mountain Bluebells have bell-shaped flowers.

©Alisa L/Shutterstock.com

As their name suggests, Mountain Bluebells are plentiful in the higher elevations parts of Utah. They grow well in moist regions with damp soil and plenty of shade. This is why they are common near creeks and streams as well as meadows with damp soil. The flowers are shaped like bells and blue in color. They tend to grow downward from stems with long leaves.

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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