Josh Morrisey

Wildflower Spotting in Spokane

Josh Morrisey, City of Spokane Parks & Recreation, Marketing Assistant, 509.625.6236

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 at 4:32 p.m.

Wildflower Spotting in Spokane

Wildflower Spotting in Spokane

The saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” and sure enough, we’re awash with a myriad of wildflowers here in Spokane. If you’ve visited our natural areas consistently, you’ve likely noticed a new kind of wildflower popping up just about every week! Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking to sharpen your botanical knowledge, or you’re looking for something fun to get you and/or your kids outside, wildflower spotting is a fantastic way to bring adventure and discovery into your life. Below are some simple ways to get started.

Step one: Find your nearest conservation area/natural area!

We’ve got a handy map of City of Spokane parks where you can filter which type of park you’re looking at on the sidebar (hint: you’ll want to select conservation areas in this case). Spokane County has some amazing conservation areas as well that you can view on their website. Of course, Riverside State Park is an obvious solid choice also!

Step two: Find your weapon of choice for wildflower identification.

There are many great wildflower books out there. A few examples being:

  • Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner & Phyllis Gustafson
  • Wayside Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Dee Strickler
  • Washington State Trees & Wildflowers by James Kavanagh
  • Wildflowers of Washington by C. P. Lyons

You can find these online, but I’d give your favorite local bookstore a jingle first!

You can also use your phone to wield the power of the internets (if you get reception). There are some great online resources for flower identification and even a few apps. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of websites and apps that may be helpful for your wildflower spotting adventure:



Step three: Prepare ahead of time.

Before you leave the house, make sure that you have water, hand sanitizer, sunscreen (if it’s sunny), snacks if you’ll be out for a while, and, of course, your wildflower book or wildflower website/app at the ready on your smartphone. Many natural areas don’t have restrooms so make sure to go before you go. Lastly: pack it in, pack it out — many natural areas don’t have trash cans, so make sure you have the means to take any trash you generate back with you. If you’re feeling altruistic, bring a bag and some gloves with you on your trip and pick up litter if you spot any — it’s good karma!

Step four: Get hiking!

It’s always advisable to stay on established trails when visiting any natural area. If you can, try and explore sunny areas, shady areas, wetter areas, and dryer areas — this is because these different environments can yield different kinds of wildflowers and you don’t want to miss any!

Step five: Don’t pick ‘em!

You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but please don’t pick wildflowers unless you’re on private property where you have owner permission. Remember, every wildflower you pick is one less for someone else to enjoy, so take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints!

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