13 Yellow Wildflowers in Montana (W/Pics!)

Did you find a YELLOW wildflower in Montana?

Types of yellow wildflowers in Montana

If so, I’m sure you’re wondering what type of wildflower you found! Luckily, you can use this guide to help you identify it. ūüôā

 

Please be aware that today I’m ONLY listing and focusing on the most COMMON plants. There are so many species, varieties, and subspecies that it would be impossible to name them all. But if you want to dive deeper into all the yellow wildflowers in Montana, check out this field guide!

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Here are 13 different YELLOW wildflowers in Montana.

 


#1. Yellow Wood Sorrel

  • Oxalis stricta

Also known as: Common Yellow Oxalis, Toad Sorrel, Sourgrass, Lemon Clover

Yellow wildflowers in Montana

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-9a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial or Annual
  • Approximate Mature Size: 6-15 in (15-38 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Mid-Spring to Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Sun

 

In addition to small, bright yellow flowers, Yellow Wood Sorrel has leaves that may remind you of clover. Native to North America, this yellow wildflower grows aggressively in Montana.

 

You can find Wood Sorrel growing in woodlands, meadows, disturbed areas, and roadsides. However, you may want to remove it if it grows near your property because it’s toxic to pets and livestock.

 


#2. Birds-foot Trefoil

  • Lotus corniculatus

Also known as: Birdfoot Deervetch, Bloomfell, Cat’s Clover, Crowtoes

Montana yellow wildflowers

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 2-8 in (5-20 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to Early Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

The Birds-foot Trefoil has yellow, orange, and sometimes red-streaked flowers atop long stalks. As beautiful as the blooms are, this yellow wildflower is considered invasive in many areas of Montana. It tends to choke out native plants and overtake entire gardens and fields.

 

It’s especially aggressive in sandy soil, fields, parks, and roadsides. However, Birds-foot Trefoil also has its uses as long as you can control its growth. Its flowers are an important food source for many pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and moths.

 


#3. St. John’s Wort

  • Hypericum perforatum

Also known as: Klamath Weed, Tipton Weed, Goat Weed

Types of yellow wildflowers in Montana

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 11-35 in (28-90 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Sun

 

St. John’s Wort has flat-top clusters of showy yellow flowers. It grows abundantly in prairies, pastures, disturbed fields, and sandy soils.

 

Unfortunately, this plant is an invasive species in North America. Not only does St. John’s Wort outcompete other plants, but it can also be fatal to horses, sheep, and other livestock.

 

Although some bees, butterflies, and beetles feed on the pollen of St. John’s Wort, you shouldn’t allow this plant to spread in landscapes. It can do more harm than good in ecosystems.

 


#4. Gumweed

  • Grindelia squarrosa

Also known as: Rosinweed, Tarweed

Yellow wildflowers in Montana

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-7
  • Life Cycle: Biennial or short-lived Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 12-40 in (30-102 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Spring to Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

Gumweed has aromatic, daisy-like flower clusters in shades of yellow. It grows in dry prairies, abandoned croplands, and disturbed roadsides.

 

It is a pollen source for native bees, but it’s mostly ignored by wildlife because of its bitter taste. Despite its showy colors, Gumweed isn’t commonly cultivated as an ornamental flower because it already grows in abundance.

 


#5. Dandelion

  • Taraxacum officinale

Also known as: Common Dandelion, Lion’s Tooth, Blowball

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-10
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 6-12 in (15-30 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Spring to Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

The bright yellow flowers that turn into balls of silver-tufted seed heads make Dandelions easy to recognize. Look for these yellow wildflowers in Montana in meadows, fields, river shores, lakes, and disturbed habitats. Honeybees and other beneficial insects are attracted to Dandelions.

 

Dandelions tend to grow like weeds on lawns and roadsides. This species is native to Europe and Asia but has spread worldwide because of how resilient it is in most soil conditions.

 

You can eat the leaves, roots, and flowers of the Dandelion! They taste like honey when fresh but turn bitter as the plant ages. Use them to make jam, salad, wine, or tea.

 


#6. Sneezeweed

  • Helenium autumnale

Also known as: False Sunflower, Bitterweed

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 24-60 in (65-152 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer to Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Sun

 

To identify this yellow wildflower in Montana, look for pretty daisy-like flowers blooming in the fall. You can find Sneezeweed along streams, ponds, swamps, and wetlands. Some cultivars are popularly grown in gardens and have more showy flowers than ones in the wild.

 

Despite the name Sneezeweed, the pollen from this plant isn’t likely to cause allergic reactions. Its name comes from an old medicinal practice of drying and crushing its leaves to make snuff, a powder that causes sneezing. This practice was thought to remove evil spirits from the body!

 

Native bees, honey bees, wasps, butterflies, and beetles are attracted to the Sneezeweed. It will grow in most soil conditions and is resistant to common diseases.

 


#7. Green-headed Coneflower

  • Rudbeckia laciniata

Also known as: Wild Goldenglow, Cutleaf Coneflower, Thimbleweed

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 36-108 in (91-272 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer to Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Sun

 

You’re likely to find Green-headed Coneflower growing near woods, stream banks, swamps, and roadside ditches. The large, tall, and bright yellow flowers are difficult to miss.

 

You can grow this yellow wildflower in Montana in prairies and meadows to attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Then, in the fall, leave some flowerheads for songbirds like goldfinches that like to eat the seeds.

 

Keep in mind that the rhizomes of the Green-headed Coneflower will spread quickly underground, so this wildflower needs space to grow. The tall blooms are better suited for larger landscapes.

 


#8. Yellow Lady’s Slipper

  • Cypripedium parviflorum

Also known as: Moccasin Flower

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 8-30 in (20-76 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Spring to Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade

 

You can easily identify Yellow Lady’s Slipper for its purple-striped petals and sepals surrounding a bright yellow pouch. The blossoms look like delicate shoes, where they got their name.

 

Yellow Lady’s Slipper grows naturally in forests, river and lake shores, shrublands, and thickets. It attracts a wide variety of insect pollinators, particularly bees. As a result, this yellow wildflower is widespread across Montana.

 

Yellow Lady’s Slipper is one of the easiest and most common orchids you can grow in your garden. Plant it in well-drained soils and partial shade to enjoy the unique blooms.

 


#7. Wild Parsnip

  • Pastinaca sativa

Also known as: Common Parsnip

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Life Cycle: Biennial or Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 48-59 in (122-150 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Early Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Sun

 

You might be familiar with parsnip as a delicious root vegetable, but its relative that grows in the wild is dangerous to your health! Wild Parsnips smell and taste like cultivated parsnips, except their leaves and stems cause severe blisters and burns. (see below!)

To identify this yellow wildflower in Montana, look for its grooved stems and flat-topped flower clusters of yellow blooms.

 

Wild Parsnip is an invasive species in North America. It spreads rapidly, threatening to choke native plants and poisoning livestock that eats it. You can spot its vivid yellow blooms in ditches, roadsides, and abandoned fields in early spring.

 


#8. Wintercress

  • Barbarea vulgaris

Also known as: Yellow Rocket, Herb Barbara

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Life Cycle: Biennial or Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 12-24 in (30-61 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade

 

Wintercress is a resilient wildflower that decorates fields with yellow blooms in spring. Its tall, upright stalks and dark green leaves will help you recognize this plant.

 

Native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, this yellow wildflower is considered a weed throughout Montana. You’re most likely to find it in croplands, construction sites, roadsides, railroads, and waste areas.

 

Despite being invasive, Wintercress does support wildlife. It’s an early source of nectar and pollen for butterflies and bees in the spring. Doves and grosbeaks also like to eat the seeds.

 


#9. Goldenrod

  • Solidago

Also known as: Flat Topped Goldenrod, Canada Goldenrod, Tall Goldenrod

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 36-60 in (91-152 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Late Summer to Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

There are over 120 species of Goldenrod native to North America!

 

The blooms of Goldenrod may be tiny, but they make up for their small size with their vibrant color in the summer and fall. They grow in clusters on top of branched stems with stiff leaves.

 

Although Goldenrod is often blamed for hay fever, pollen grains from similar-looking plants like ragweed are likely the culprit. Enjoying the uniquely-shaped blooms is perfectly safe, but this wildflower can spread aggressively in gardens. You can contain its growth by planting it in pots and pruning it regularly.

 

A wide variety of specialized bees, butterflies, and beetles rely on this native yellow wildflower in Montana.

 


#10. Common Sunflower

  • Helianthus annuus

Also known as: Wild Sunflower, Comb Flower, St. Bartholomew’s Star

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-11
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate Mature Size: 36-120 in (91-305 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

The Common Sunflower is one of the most popular flowers all over the world, and rightfully so. The impressively large yellow petals and attractive dark centers are a classic sight in the late summer and early fall.

 

In the wild, look for sunflowers in prairies, grasslands, old fields, roadsides, and forest edges. But, of course, you will also find sunflowers in gardens where they’re enjoyed by people and animals alike.

 

Aside from their aesthetic value, Common Sunflowers also feed populations of bees, butterflies, and insect pollinators. Birds and mammals enjoy the seeds, and the best part is that you can eat them too for a tasty snack!

 


#11. Common Mullein

  • Verbascum thapsus

Also known as: Flannel Plant, Big Taper, Velvet Dock

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Life Cycle: Annual or Biennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 24-84 in (61-213 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

Common Mullein is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa, but this yellow wildflower is now considered a naturalized species in Montana. It grows so well that it can take over roadsides, meadows, and pasture lands.

 

You can recognize this wildflower by its small yellow blooms densely grouped on a tall stem and the velvety, dense leaves at the base of the plant. As the stems shoot upwards from a base of large leaves, the overall appearance of this plant might remind you of corn.

 

Common Mullein is a valuable medicinal plant. In ancient times, it was used to treat pulmonary diseases, inflammations, and various ailments. Today, you can find its dried leaves, flowers, and oil extracts in health stores.

 


#12. Buttercups

  • Ranunculus

Also known as: Spearworts, Water Crowfoots

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-10
  • Life Cycle: Annual or Biennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 8-18 in (20-46 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Early Spring to Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Sun

 

You may be familiar with the well-loved Buttercup, but you might not know that it is a genus of flowers with 600 unique species worldwide. Perhaps the most popular one is the Persian Buttercup, prized for its brilliant ruffled petals and tall stems.

 

Buttercups are most commonly known for their yellow flowers, but they also come in beautiful shades of orange, pink, red, purple, and cream. You can cut the flowers for arrangements and grow them in gardens to attract pollinators.

 

In Montana, look for this yellow wildflower growing in moist habitats, fields, meadows, and roadsides. They usually bloom in the spring and summer.

 


#13. Spiny Sow-thistle

  • Sonchus asper

Also known as: Rough Milk Thistle

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 6b-9a
  • Life Cycle: Annual or Biennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 11-43 in (28-110 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Spring to Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

Spiny Sow-thistle is an invasive yellow wildflower that grows throughout Montana. It can be found in pastures, roadsides, vacant lots, construction sites, grasslands, and waste areas. It’s native to Europe, North Africa, and Asia.

 

Don’t let Spiny Sow-thistle spread if you see it growing near your yard. It can overwhelm native plants and host diseases and pests that affect garden plants and crops. To identify Spiny Sow-thistle, look for spiky leaves and dandelion-like yellow flowers on tall stems.

 


Do you want to learn about other wildflowers in Montana? Check out this field guide!

 


Which of these yellow wildflowers have you seen before in Montana?

 

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