From Boise

Boise wildflowers & where to find them

publishedabout 1 month ago
4 min read

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Hey friends! Look at this lovely spring day! You know what they say about April showers... I think we are in for quite the wildflower show over the next few months. Here's some of my fave wildflowers and where to see them in & around Boise:

Boise wildflowers

Aase’s Onion

Aase’s Onion is a rare and endangered plant that only grows in the Boise foothills and a few other places in Southwest Idaho. It has not been found in any other part of the world! Aase's Onion has small pink flowers that grow low to the ground and long green, grass-like leaves. It is edible, but please don't pick it. These little guys are endangered and need all the growing room they can get.

Look for Aase's Onion on sandy, south-facing hills in the Camel’s Back area, Hull’s Gulch area, Hillside to Hollow Reserve, Buena Vista trail, and Polecat Loop area. It typically blooms March to April, but with the cold and wet spring we may see it a bit longer this year.

Arrowleaf balsamroot

A member of the sunflower family, Arrowleaf balsamroot brighten up the foothills & our days. Their big, bright yellow flowers turn entire meadows gold. The flowers grow on leafless stems and the arrow-shaped leaves grow from the base of the plant on separate stems.

You'll find Arrowleaf balsamroot blooming all around Boise in open hills and meadows, and amongst sagebrush like in Camel’s Back Park, Hulls Gulch area, Military Reserve, around Lucky Peak and throughout Boise National Forest. It typically blooms April to June.


Lupine is a showy wildflower and another one of my favorites. It smells lovely, looks beautiful, and the bees & butterflies love it. Lupine flowers grow in elongated clusters of pea-shaped blooms and it often grows in large numbers, covering entire hillsides in the foothills. There's several different varieties/colors of lupine - blue, purple, pink, yellow, and white.

You can find lupine in late spring in the Military Reserve, Hulls Gulch and around Corrals trail, off Bogus Basin Road. Lupine doesn't withstand heat well, so sometimes it's there & gone in a blink.


Rabbitbrush is a perennial shrub that can be found all over southern Idaho. We have two species around Boise: rubber rabbitbrush (aka gray rabbitbrush) and yellow rabbitbrush (aka green rabbitbrush).

Rubber rabbitbrush is taller and has whitish green stems, felt-like matted hairs, and narrow, grayish leaves. Its flower heads are small, yellow, tubular blooms in a cluster. Rubber rabbitbrush can grow up to seven feet tall. Yellow rabbitbrush is very similar in appearance and biology, but a bit shorter. Wild rabbits love these shrubs, hence the name.

You can find rabbitbrush blooming later in the summer, typically August to October, all over the foothills and surrounding mountains. It likes dry open spaces.


Fleabane is in the daisy family and produces small white to purple flowers that attract butterflies. It's a shorter plant, growing 6 to 18 inches tall. This is a great wildflower to grow in your yard!

Fleabane blooms in the late spring to early summer. You can find it throughout Camel's Back, Military Reserve, Hulls Gulch and up into the mountains.

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Where to find wildflowers in Boise (& beyond)

Some great trails to go on a wildflower walk:

And if you want to take a lil roadtrip:

  • Idaho City
  • Ponderosa State Park in McCall
  • Mountains around McCall and Cascade
  • Sun Valley
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
  • Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh

If you want more info on local wildflowers, Hannah Rodabaugh, a local writer, artist and nature lover, has an incredible Boise Wildflower Field Guide Introduction. I've references her website so many times and it's super helpful! I also recommend the mobile app PictureThis. It's a plant identification app that I use often for both indoor and wild plants.

And if you wanna learn more about nature in and around Boise, we did a flora & fauna of Boise series last year. Read The flora of Boise, The birds of Boise, and The invaders of Boise, all written by Amanda Patchin.

Ok that's all I got for ya. I'll leave you with this poem by my favorite, Mary Oliver:

β€œI had a dog
who loved flowers.
Briskly she went
through the fields,
yet paused
for the honeysuckle
or the rose,
her dark head
and her wet nose
the face
of every one
with its petals
of silk
with its fragrance
into the air
where the bees,
their bodies
heavy with pollen
hovered -
and easily
she adored
every blossom
not in the serious
careful way
that we choose
this blossom or that blossom
the way we praise or don't praise -
the way we love
or don't love -
but the way
we long to be -
that happy
in the heaven of earth -
that wild, that loving.”
-Mary Oliver

Thanks for reading & happy wildflower hunting!

With love from Boise,


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From Boise

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