Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, & Utah

Welcome to my website for the identification and appreciation of mountain and desert flora.

 Please feel free to email me your comments and questions. Al Schneider


Website Contents     Recent Additions

Wildflower app for all mobile devices: Identify wildflowers on your hikes by using my wildflower app,
CLICK for details.

Datura icon

Fern Button Tree Button

CLICK     AN    ICON    ABOVE    TO     BROWSE      FLOWERS           FERNS           TREES



Indicate how you want your results displayed:
Scientific species name
Common species name
Scientific family name

1) If you would like to look at species
that you already know

or if you would like to browse all species,
click     now.

Click the thumbnail results to see enlarged photos and plant descriptions.

2) If you would like TO IDENTIFY A PLANT
or if you would like to look at plants
with special characteristics,
see the "Select Plant Characteristics" key below.

Refresh your page or click     to start a new search.

3) Click here to SEARCH THIS WEBSITE
by trail, plant part, location, or any word.


1) If you would like to identify a plant, select its characteristics in the table below and click "Submit".
NOTE: If you have unsuccessfully tried to identify a white flower, skip the "Flower Color", because a number of flowers have rare white versions, and although such flowers may be in this key, they won't be under "white flowers".
Also, when trying to identify a light blue, light pink, or white flower, search each of those three colors.
2) If you would like to browse plants with particular characteristics, select the characteristics below and click "Submit". For example, to see species that are wildflowers, yellow, flowering in July, growing in the alpine, and found in rocky areas, select each characteristic and click "Submit". You will get a list of all the species on this website that fit the characteristics you selected.

Plant Type
Shrub: woody,
     shorter than tree,
     several stems
Fern & related:
     has spores, no flowers,
     no seeds
Cactus: has spines,
     no leaves, succulent
Skip category
Flower Color
Red, Pink
Blue, Purple
Green, Brown
Skip category

Flowering Month
Skip category

Vegetation Zone
Skip category

Woodlands, dry or moist
Shrublands or grasslands
Meadows or openings or      tundra
Rocky areas or scree
Wetlands or seeps or springs
Streamsides or streams
Disturbed areas or roadsides
Skip category


or continue choosing characteristics below.

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

Skip category

Leaf Type

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

                Simple       Simple      Simple



Compound: The leaf blade is divided into separate leaflets. The first, second, and last photos below show several leaves divided into leaflets. The other photos show just one leaf divided into leaflets.

                Compound pinnate    Compound pinnate    Compound pinnate

                Compound pinnate   Compound palmate   Compound


Skip category


or continue choosing characteristics below.

Leaf Blade Margin

Margin entire: not toothed, lobed, or divided. 

Entire margin  Entire

Entire   Entire  , wavy-edged is considered entire

Margin toothed, lobed, or divided.

Margin not entire  Margin not entire 1

Simple  Compound pinnate

Skip category

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 divided into leaflets. The overall shape of each whole leaf is round.

Round  Round  Round

Round  Compound Round

Skip category


or continue choosing characteristics below.

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 (aka Umbelliferae) (Parsley Family)

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


Asteraceae (aka Compositae) (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 growth 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 growth 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.

Flower heads have ray and disk flowers. The outer circle consists of ray flowers, each with one elongated ray (the flattened yellow or lavender appendage shown below) and an inner disk of tightly packed tubular flowers that do not have rays.

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

Flower heads have only ray flowers.

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

      Flower heads have 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 (aka Cruciferae) (Mustard Family)

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


Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

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


Fabaceae (aka Leguminosae) (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)


up bar

Another Way to Search This Site

The search box below allows you to search this site for any word or phrase, such as,
a trail or park name, location, botanist's name, plant part, or alternate common name.

If your search has more than one word, for example, "Lake Hope Trail", enclose the words in quotation marks. Otherwise you will retrieve entries for each word as well as for the phrase.

NOTE: To search by plant name, flower color, month of flowering, habitat, vegetation zone, etc., you will find it faster and easier to use the search tool at the top of the page.

search engine by freefind




Photographs, written material, design, and all other aspects of this website are
© Al Schneider.
No aspect of this website 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 website.

up bar


 RMBL Logo

This website is given free space on the servers of the
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory of Gothic, Colorado.

I deeply appreciate this assistance from RMBL and their further assistance
in making sure that swcoloradowildflowers.com
stays on-line for many years into the future, even when I, Al Schneider,
the creator, continuing developer, and owner of this website, am no longer around.

If you are so inclined, please send a donation to RMBL
and indicate that it is for the perpetuation of this website.

The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory advances the scientific understanding of nature
that promotes informed stewardship of the Earth.
Founded in 1928 as an independent field station with no institutional affiliation,
the Lab hosts one of the largest gatherings of field biologists from institutions across the world.
Internationally recognized research has been carried out at all levels of organization from gene to ecosystem,
and Lab scientists have produced over several thousand publications.
Paul Ehrlich considers RMBL, "the finest biological research station in the world".
Click for a video about RMBL.

My thanks also to Michelle and Jeff Fink who generously hosted this website for ten years.


And thanks to Steve Sullivan, patient paragon programmer who created
the plant identification searchable database near the top of this page. Click for Steve's great botanical website

The American Rock Garden Society granted this website the 2021 Edgar T. Wherry Award,
which the Society indicates, "was established in 1973... [and] is given from time to time to a person
who has made an outstanding contribution in the dissemination of botanical and/or horticultural information about native North American plants.
The works must be scientifically sound, but may be written for popular readership and do not have to be specifically about rock garden plants.
Generally, the award recognizes a body of work or a lifetime of literary effort rather than a single work".

This website is updated almost every day.
The site has been visited about 3 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.

up bar  UP BAR