Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, & Utah

Welcome to my web site for the identification and appreciation of mountain and desert flora.
Please feel free to email me your comments and questions.      Al Schneider 

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CLICK         A         BUTTON         TO         BROWSE         FLOWERS            FERNS            TREES   

Are you trying to identify a plant?
Choose plant characteristics below. Skip those characteristics you are not sure about.

Do you want to find plants with certain characteristics?
Scroll down to the characteristics list below.
Examples: If you want to see all Cactus, click "Plant Type" = "Cactus" and submit.
If you want to see all Asteraceae (Sunflowers), click "Flower Shape" = "Asteraceae" and submit.
If you want to see all yellow flowering alpine plants, click "Flower Color" = "Yellow".   "Vegetation Zone" = "Alpine" and submit.

  1) How do you want your search results displayed?

Scientific name
Common name
Scientific family name

2) Choose plant characteristics below.


4) to start a new search.



Plant Type (Habit)
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Flower Color
Red, Pink
Blue, Purple
Green, Brown
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Flowering Month
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Vegetation Zone
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Shrublands, grasslands
Meadows, openings, tundra
Rocky areas, scree
Wetlands, seeps, springs
Streamsides, streams
Disturbed areas, roadsides
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Leaf Position

Alternate Alternate

Opposite  Opposite

Basal      Basal, horizontal

Whorled Whorled

Spiraled Spiraled

Bundled Bundled

Plant does not produce leaves or the leaves are miniscule

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Leaf Type

Simple: The leaf blade is not divided into separate leaflets.

         Simple       Simple      Simple


Compound: The leaf blade is divided into separate leaflets. 

     Compound pinnate    Compound pinnate    Compound pinnate

     Compound pinnate   Compound palmate   Compound


              Skip category

Leaf Blade Margin

Margin entire: not toothed, lobed, or divided. 

Entire margin  Entire

Entire   Entire

Margin toothed, lobed, or divided.

Margin not entire  Margin not entire 1

Simple  Compound pinnate

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Leaf Blade Shape

Leaf blade longer than wide. Various shapes in outline.

Long   Long    Long   Long   


Leaf blade about as long as wide. Blade close to round in outline. Each photograph in the second row below shows just one leaf, one compound leaf, i.e., a leaf cut into leaflets. The overall shape of each whole leaf is round.

Round  Round  Round

Round  Compound Round

Skip category

Flower Shapes by Family       Skip this "Flower Shape" category.

                                                I do not see my flower shape below. Show me all others.

                                                     Click the family name for a description.


Apiaceae (Parsley Family)

 Conioselinum scopulorum (Hemlock Parsley)  Cymopterus lemmonii (Mountain Parsley)


Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Asteraceae has the greatest number of species of any family in our area (and in many parts of the world), so to get you closer to identifying your mystery species in this family, I have added two further characteristics choices just for Asteraceae.

1) What is the form of your Asteraceae species?
Plants grow with many stems emanating from a single point. Shrub-like, either woody or not woody.

Asteraceae form, Senecio spartioides Asteraceae form cluster Gutierrezia sarothrae

Plants grow with a loose or tight mass of basal leaves; flower stems arise from different locations in the mass.

Asteraceae form mat 1 Keying images/Asteraceae-form-mat-2.jpg

Plants grow singly, although there may be dozens of individual plants near each other.

ASteraceae form single Erigeron-bellidiastrum Asteraceae form Pyrrocoma crocea

Skip the above Asteraceae form category.

2) What is the flower head type of your Asteraceae species?
Asteraceae flowers are actually groupings of tiny flowers into one flower head, and the flower heads come in three flavors.

A flower head with ray and disk flowers. The outer circle consists of ray flowers, each with one elongated petal (the yellow or lavender petals below) and an inner disk of tightly packed tubular flowers that do not have ray petals.

       Heliomeris multiflora (Showy Goldeneye)  Erigeron speciosus (Showy Daisy) 

A flower head with only ray flowers.

       Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion)  Hieracium fendleri (Fendler's Hawkweed)

      A flower head with only disk flowers.

       Antennaria rosea (Red Pussytoes)  Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle)

      Skip the above Asteraceae flower head category.


Boraginaceae (Forget-Me-Not Family)

Cryptantha minima (Little Cat's Eye)  Mertensia franciscana (Franciscan Bluebells)  Phacelia howelliana (Howell's Phacelia)

Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)

Dimorphocarpa wislizenii (Spectacle Pod)  Descurainia incana (Mountain Tansy Mustard)


Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Cerastium arvense (Mouse-ear Chickweed)  Silene acaulis (Moss Campion)


Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Astragalus flava (White Milk Vetch)  Trifolium parryi (Parry's Trifolium)


Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family) 

Oenothera coronopifolia (Cut-leaf Evening Primrose  Epilobium ciliatum (Fringed Willowherb)


Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Orobanche fasciculata (Bundled Broomrape)  Pedicularis parryi (Parry's Alpine Lousewort)  Casilleja linariifolia (Wyoming Paintbrush)


Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)

Penstemon cyanocaulis (Blue-stemmed Penstemon)  Bessya alpina (Alpine Kitten Tails)


Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Ipomopsis aggregata (Scarlet Gilia)  Phlox condensata (Alpine Phlox)

Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Eriogonum cernuum (Nodding Buckwheat)  Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur Flower)  Persicaria amphibia (Water Smartweed)

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)  

Ranunculus glaberrimus (Sagebrush Buttercup)  Aquilegia micrantha (Alcove Columbine)  Delephinium barbeyi (Barbey's Delphinium)

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Potentilla rubricaulis (Red-stemmed Cinquefoil)  Cratageus sp (Hawthorn)

Before you click the submit button immediately below, indicate how you would like your results listed.

        Scientific name
        Common name
        Scientific family name

Another Way to Search This Site

The search box below allows you to search this site for anything: trail, date, name of botanist, species name, plant part, habitat, vegetation zone, etc.

If your search has more than one word, for instance, "Lake Hope Trail", be sure to enclose the words in quotation marks. Otherwise you will retrieve every entry for each word.

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Photographs, written material, design, and all other aspects of this web site are
© Al Schneider.
No aspect of this web site may be used for any purpose  -- 
personal, not-for-profit, governmental, or commercial  --
without the permission of Al Schneider. 
Email Al
  or phone (970-882-4647) for permission and commercial prices.

Proceeds from the sale of Al's photographs pay for this web site.

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This web site is hosted by the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory of Gothic, Colorado.
I deeply appreciate RMBL's assistance in making sure that swcoloradowildflowers.com
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Founded in 1928 as an independent field station with no institutional affiliation,
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Internationally recognized research has been carried out at all levels of organization from gene to ecosystem,
and Lab scientists have produced over 1,300 publications.
Paul Ehrlich considers RMBL, "the finest biological research station in the world".
Click for a video about RMBL.


My thanks to Michelle and Jeff Fink of Cedar Networks;
they generously hosted this web site for ten years. 
Click for digital services for businesses and homes or dial toll free,
(877) 652-3327.


And thanks to Steve Sullivan, patient paragon programmer who set up
the search mechanism near the top of this page. Click for Steve's great botanical web site.


This web site is updated almost every day.
The site has been visited several million times since its inception in February, 2001.

I hope you enjoy your visit with the plants of the Four Corners states.
Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions.