Learning the Wildflowers of Nahanni

Willowherb, dryas, bog laurel, paintbrush and arnica. For all the grandeur of the landscapes we travel, some of the most captivating beauty to be found is often right at our feet.

Each watershed has its specific list of species but none lack in variety or volume of colour.

Early season trips on the Nahanni River show gravel bars covered in yellow dryas. A few weeks later the purple hues of willowherb take over and as we move through the high country we are treated to bright displays. A short hike from the river often presents dozens of species. Accompanied by a guide book from our library (a great resource available on all our expeditions) a keen eye can quickly spot cinque-foil, grass of parnassus and more. Prickly Rose is ubiquitous and as expedition season continues to unfold we are shown the delicate beauty of Arctic poppies and yarrow.

If you are seeking to maximize your chance to see these natural wonders speak with Guest Services and they can help you choose and plan the right expedition.

The following list of flowers is sourced from the excellent Nahanni River resource “Nahanni: The River Guide” by Peter Jowett.

Flowering Plants of the Nahanni

Scientific NameCommon NameColour – When in Flower
Allium schoenoprasumWild Onionpurple, late June to July
Smilacina stellataFalse Solomon’s Sealcream, mid-May to mid-June
Veratrum eschscholtziiFalse Heliboreyellow-green, July to August
Zygadenus elegansWhite Camascreamy green, May to August
Calypso bulbosaVenus Slipperpink, late June to August
Corallorhiza trifidaPale Coralrootyellow-green, May to June
Cypripedium calceolusYellow Lady’s Slipperyellow, mid-June to early July
Cypripedium passerinumNorthern Lady’s Slipperwhite with purple dots inside, mid-July
Habenaria hyperboreaNorthern Green Orchidyellow-green to green with yellow, late June to mid-July
Habenaria obtusataNorthern Bog Orchidgreenish white, late June to mid-July
Orchis rotundifoliaRound-leaved Orchidlook like angels in purple dotted white robes, mid-June to early July
Listera borealisNorthern Tway Bladeyellow-green, July & August
Spiranthes romanzoffinanaLady’s Tresseswhite, July & August
Chenopodium capitatumStrawberry Blightred, July to August
Claytonia IanceolataSpring Beautywhite to pale pink, late April to late June
Silene acaulisMoss Campionpink, mid-June to early August
Nuphar variegatumYellow Pond Lilyyellow, June to July
Aconitum delphinifoliumMonkshooddeep blue-purple, late June to July
Actea RubraBaneberrywhite, late May to June
Anemone drummondiiDrummond’s Anemonecreamy white, late May to late June
Aquilegia brevistylaBlue Colombineblue-mauve-purple with white trim, June to July
Delphinium glaucumTall Larkspurdeep blue-purple, mid-July to mid-August
Anemone patensPrairie Crocuspale blue to pale purple with yellow centre, late March to mid-May
Ranuculus eschscholtziiAlpine Buttercupyellow with green centre, late June to early August
Ranuculus gmeliniiYellow Water Crowfootyellow, July
Papaver keeleiPoppyyellow to orange, July & August
Drosera angelicaSundewwhite, mid-May to mid-July
Mitella nudaMitrewortyellow-green stars, late June to mid-May
Parnassia fimbriataGrass-of-Parnassuswhite, July & August
Saxifraga aizoidesYellow Mountain Saxifrageyellow, June to July
Saxifraga cernusNodding Saxifragewhite, mid-July
Saxifraga tricuspidataPrickly Saxifragewhite, late June & July
Amelanchier alnifoliaSaskatoonwhite, late May to early July
Dryas alaskensisYellow Dryadyellow, June to early July
Dryas integrifoliaWhite Dryadwhite, mid-June to early August
Dryas punctataMountain Avenswhite, mid-June to August
Frageria virginianaStrawberrywhite with yellow centre, June to July
Potentilla fruticosaShrubby Cinquefoilyellow, late June to early September
Rosa acicularisPrickly Rosepink, purple, or white, late May to early August
Rubus acaulisCloudberrywhite, mid-June
Astragalus alpinusAlpine Vetchblue, June & July
Hedysarum alpinusLiquorice Rootpale pink, late June to early August
Lupinus arcticusLupineblue to lavender, late June to early August
Epilobium angustifoliumFireweedpink, mid-July to late August
Epilobium latifoliumBroad-leaved Willowherbpink, mid-July to late August
Cornus canadensisBunchberrywhite, late June to early July
Pyrola gradifoliaArctic Wintergreenpink, July to August
Pyrola secundaOne-sided Wintergreengreenish white, mid-July to early August
Kalmia polifoliaBog Laurelpink, late June to July
Phyllodoce empetrifoliumPink Heatherpink, July & August
Rhododendron lapponicumLapland Rose Baypurple to pink, July to August
Androsace chamaejasmeRock Jasminewhite, mid-May to early July
Mertensia paniculataBluebellblue, late June to mid-July
Myosotis alpestrisForget-me-notblue, July
Castilleja miniataIndian Paintbrushred, yellow and white, June to late July
Veronica wormskjoldiiAlpine Speedwelldark blue, July
Linnaea borealisTwinflowerwhite to pale pink, late June to late July
Campanula lasiocarpaAlpine Harebellblue, July & August
Lobelia kalmiiLobeliablue to purple, mid-July to early August

Interested in learning more?

Whether you journey to experience abundant wildlife, verdant wildflowers or glacial vistas, our journeys are sure to exceed your expectations.

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