Purple Flowers (8)


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

  • Other Names: None
  • Family: Pea family (Fabaceae)
  • Season: May-July
  • Color: Purple
  • Habitat: Disturbed areas
  • Status: Non-native

Alfalfa is a common fodder crop that sometimes escapes from cultivated fields. The plant has purple clusters of bilaterally-symmetrical flowers and stems with three ovate leaflets. It is found in Camel’s Back Park, Hulls Gulch, and Military Reserve.


Ballhead Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum capitatum)

  • Other Names: None
  • Family: Waterleaf family (Hydrophyllaceae)
  • Season: April-June
  • Color: Light purple to white
  • Habitat: Thickets; moist slopes
  • Status: Native

Ballhead waterleaf grows low to the ground and is often overlooked. The plant has dense, ball-like clusters of pale purple or whiteish flowers. The flowers grow near the base of the plant and may be hidden beneath leaves. The stamens extend beyond the petals; this gives the flowers a bristly look. The leaves are hairy with deeply-divided lobes. The plant is 4-16 inches tall. It is found in Hulls Gulch.


Climbing Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)

  • Other Names: Bittersweet
  • Family: Nightshade (Solanaceae)
  • Season: May-August
  • Color: Purple
  • Habitat: Woods; cleared lands
  • Status: Non-native

Climbing nightshade is a flowering vine with star-shaped flowers of deep purple. Each flower has five petals and a fused yellow anther. The three-inch leaves are shaped like spades. The shiny red berries are poisonous. Climbing nightshade can be upwards of 10 feet tall. It is found in Camel’s Back Park.


Fleabane (Erigeron)

  • Other Names: Daisy
  • Family: Aster (Asteraceae)
  • Season: April-June
  • Color: Purple or white
  • Habitat: Well-drained soils
  • Status: Native

Fleabane has many ray flowers with purple to white petals and a bright yellow disk in the center. The plant has dense, stiff hairs making it a grayish color. The leaves are wavy and linear. The plant is closely related to the daisy. At least six species of fleabane grow in Idaho; shaggy fleabane and longleaf fleabane are two of the most common. It is 6-12 inches tall. It is found in Camel’s Back Park, Hulls Gulch, and Military Reserve.


Longspur Lupine (Lupinus arbustus)

lupine of the flowy ocean
  • Other Names: None
  • Family: Pea family (Fabaceae)
  • Season: May-June
  • Color: Yellow and purple
  • Habitat: Sagebrush
  • Status: Native

Longspur lupine is one our most attractive wildflowers. It has elongated clusters of pea-like, bilaterally-symmetrical flowers in both yellow and purple. The flowers have a heady fragrance. It sometimes grows in large numbers. The leaves are palmate, often with as many as a dozen leaflets. It can be upwards of 2 feet tall. It is found in Military Reserve.


Nevada Pea (Lathyrus lanszwertii)

  • Other Names: Nevada sweet pea, peavine, thick-leafed pea
  • Family: Pea family (Fabaceae)
  • Season: May-July
  • Color: Lavender or white
  • Habitat: High foothills; forests
  • Status: Native

Nevada pea is a rambling, perennial vine with small clusters of bilaterally-symmetrical flowers in lavender or white. The flowers turn yellow as they age. The seed pods contain inedible peas. There is some variation in the leaves. Some plants have leaves that are an inch long and ovate. Other plants will have 3-inch, linear, grass-like leaves, as shown above. It is found in Hulls Gulch.


Sagebrush Mariposa Lily (Calochortus macrocarpus)

  • Other Names: Green-banded mariposa lily
  • Family: Lily family (Liliaceae)
  • Season: May-July
  • Color: Light purple
  • Habitat: Sagebrush; dry soil
  • Status: Native

Sagebrush mariposa lily has showy, bell-like flowers of pale purple. Each flower has three petals and three sepals of identical color. The thin sepals are longer than the petals. The leaves are narrow and grass-like. There is sometimes a green stripe running up the back of each petal. It is 8-20 inches tall. It is found in Camel’s Back Park, Hulls Gulch, and Military Reserve.


Threadleaf Phacelia (Phacelia linearis)

  • Other Names: None
  • Family: Waterleaf family (Hydrophyllaceae)
  • Season: April-June
  • Color: Light purple
  • Habitat: Open areas; sandy soils
  • Status: Native

Threadleaf phacelia has loose clusters of saucer-shaped, light purple flowers. Each flower has five rounded and fused petals and five stamens. The plant has narrow, hairy, lance-like leaves. Large plants have more flowers than small ones. The plant is between 4-20 inches high. It is found in Camel’s Back Park, Hulls Gulch, and Military Reserve.


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