A. C. Mahony
Wildflower species and varieties vary throughout the world. When growing wildflowers for seed, it is vital to select the species and varieties that will grow best in a given geographic location while taking into account local soils, water availability, and market available for the given seed. Benefits of growing native plants are abundant, including maintaining plant biodiversity and better overall ecosystem health.
One way to categorize wildflower species is by longevity of their life cycles. Wildflowers can be annuals (having a single-year life cycle), biennials (having a two-year life cycle), and perennials (having a life cycle longer than two years). In the Intermountain West, there are vast numbers of wildflower species. Some annual species grown in the Intermountain West are yellow spiderflower (Cleome lutea), common wooly sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum), and coyote tobacco (Nicotiana attenuata). Biennial species native to the broader Pacific Northwest are scarlet globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea) and hoary tansyaster (Machaeranthera canescens). Popular perennials native to the Intermountain West are camas (Camassia), arrow-leaf balsam root (Balsamorhiza sagittata), hotrock penstemon (Penstemon deustus), mules ears (Wyethia amplexicaulis), sulphur-flowered buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum), basalt milk vetch (Astragalus filipes), Gray’s biscuitroot (Lomatium grayi), and biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum). Other forbs grown specifically in the Intermountain West are sharpleaf biscuitroot (Penstemon acuminatus), showy penstemon (Penstemon spectabilis), and silverleaf phacelia (Phacelia hastata).
For more information on forbs grown near you, please see this search engine: Advanced Search Plant Database. For a comprehensive look at international forb varieties, please see: Forb Plants by Family, Ecoregion, Introduced, Location, Scientific Name.