Flowers of the Lowland Pacific Northwest   Yellow Flowers

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Skunk Cabbage Yellow Violet Large-leaved Avens Jewelweed

Giant Mullien Common Tansy Tansy Ragwort Smooth Hawksbeard
Tarweed Nipplewort Rough Cats ear Spiny Sowthistle
St. Johnswort Wall Lettuce Pacific Silverweed  Goldenrod
 Hop Clover Stonecrop Pineapple weed Yellow Pond Lily
   
Parentucellia Yellow field mustard    

 

Skunk Cabbage  Lysichiton americanum

How to Identify it:  Unique greenish spike of flowers inside a boat shaped yellow hood. Huge leaves.

This plant pokes out of the wet places in mid January and the unique flowers appear in March. This is one of the first plants in the spring so it is able to utilize the early season sunshine before the trees leaf out. The distinctive skunky odor  attracts flies and beetles, which are the main pollinators. This plant is an indicator of mucky, wet ground, and its huge leaves dominate the area, sometimes reaching as long as 5 feet.  Large mucky craters along swampy areas are from where black bears have dug up this plant to eat the large root.  The flower hoods wither after pollination and the robust flower stalk turns to a knobby seedhead which breaks apart in the summer.  The leaves are the largest of any plant in our area, and have a waxy coating which  makes for fine containers for wrapping the days fishing catch.

 

 

 

 
Yellow violet  Viola glabella

How to Identify it: Heart-shaped leaves with a yellow flower often with maroon stripes on the lower petals. Lower petal wider than others. Low to the ground.

This early blooming flower of March or early April prefers cool, shaded environments. It hedges its reproductive bets by producing a second, tiny brown self fertilizing flower. If the early season is too cold for insect pollinators, the plant still can produce a few seeds.

 

 

 
Large leaved Avens  Geum macrophyllum

How to Identify it:  Erect flower, with broadly toothed three part leaves on the stem. The lower leaves are large and with several small random sized leaflets with the end leaflet large and oval. Flower yellow with five petals, seed head round and hairy.

This is a plant of forest edges which will follow you home. The buttercup-like flowers begin in late March and bloom through July and turn into round, bristly seedheads which stick to passing animals, including you.

 
Jewelweed  Impatiens capensis

How to Identify it:  Two lipped, orange-yellow flower with distinct spur that hangs from a delicate stem which arises amid the upper leafs. 

This is a plant which grows up to 3 feet tall in moist wetlands, stream sides and  bottoms. The orange flowers hang balanced from the stem like tiny lanterns. They bloom in late June and in the fall turn into dry narrow seeds pods which explode on touch, sending the seeds showering in all directions.  Another common name for this plant is touch me not.

Link to more pictures and descriptions

 
Mullein  Verbascum thapsus

How to Identify it:  Tall fuzzy, thick leaved plant, standing 6 feet tall, with a large spike of yellow flowers, often only a few blooming at a time.

This is a plant of European descent found along dry roadsides and fields, and its tall stout form and thick, flannel wooly leaves are distinctive. This is a late summer bloom and it is attractive to butterflies. Sometimes this plant grows in very crooked, and odd shapes, which is the plants response to being sprayed by herbicides, a common roadside practice.  Miners used to roll the leaves on sticks then dip them in tallow to make long burning torches.  The first year the plant grows a thick cluster of leaves that hug the ground, and in its second or third year of life it sends up the tall, stout flower stalk.  The numerous and long lived seeds are eaten by goldfinches.

 
Goldenrod  Solidago canadensis

How to Identify it:  Tall bunch of yellow flowers, leaves have 3 distinct veins.

This is a late summer blooming plant, showing flowers in July and August much to the delight of bees and  other insects which feast on the abundant pollen.  It grows up to 3 or more  feet tall and is found in mostly open areas, pastures and meadows and along roads.  This plant exudes a chemical from its underground roots which inhibits the growth of other plants, so in places where it grows thickly, few other plants can compete.  This was the first plant introduced to Europe from North America.

 
Common Tansy  Tanacetum  vulgare

How to Identify it:  Clusters of flat topped yellow flowers, leaves divided and aromatic when crushed.

This is a common roadside and field weed and it is a late bloomer, sending out clusters of bright yellow flowers in August and early September, and the flowers will continue into December.  It spreads from an underground root and so if you find one you usually find a bunch.  It is a favorite of many late season pollinators.  The leaves are stinky when crushed.  A similar plant found in sand dunes along riversides or near the ocean is Dune tansy, Tanacetum  camphoratum.  The Dune tansy has much finer divisions on the leaf.

 
Tansy Ragwort  Senecio jacobaea

How to Identify it:  Large cluster of yellow flowers in August, leaves deeply divided, fernlike have a strong, disagreeable odor.

This non-native, invasive weed is found in meadows and pastures. Because it is highly poisonous to livestock, war has been declared upon it by various county and state governments and in some places it is a crime to have it on your property.  The attractive yellow and black Cinnabar moth larvae feed on this plant and are used as a biological control.

 
Smooth Hawksbeard  Crepis capillaris

How to Identify it:  Cluster of smaller dandelion-like flowers from widely branches stems on the top third of the plant. Leaves on the stem, clasping, lower leaves with points.

This is one of several very similar plants with dandelion-like flowers.  It flowers in July in meadows, along roads and even on lawn edges.

 

 
Rough Cats Ear  Hypochaeris radicata

How to Identify it:  Cluster of dandelion-like flowers from long, gangly, widely branched stems. Leaves on the ground, fuzzy and toothed. No leaves on the stem, stems 6-24 inches tall. It flowers in June and July.

This and Smooth Hawksbeard are very similar, and are also much like dandelions. The stems of this plant have no leaves on them, unlike that of the Hawksbeard.

 
Spiny Sow Thistle  Sonchus asper

How to Identify it:  Cluster of dandelion-like flowers on top of a stout prickly leafed stem.  Leaves prickly at the edges, clasp stem, stem hollow with milky sap and reddish towards base. 

Like all of these weedy, dandelion flowered plants, the seeds form fluffy balls which dissolve into gossamer parachutes which carry for considerable distance in the wind.  This plant can grow up to 3 feet and have a very stout and distinctively reddish stem.  The leaves wrap half way around the stem.  There are two other Sow thistles, the Perennial Sow Thistle, Sonchus arvensis has larger flowers and smooth, dandelion-like leaves that clasp the stem. It gets up to 5 feet tall.  The Common Sow Thistle, S. oleraceus has lightly spiny leaves.  All are European weeds that are widespread.

 
Nipplewort  Lapsana communis

How to Identify it:  Cluster of dandelion-like flowers from many branched stems. Leaves on the stem, pointed, lower leaves broad at the base and broadly toothed, stems 6-36 inches tall.

Of all the weedy composite flowers Nipplewort can dominant partially shaded locations, roadsides, ditches. Flowers in June and July.

 
Wall Lettuce  Mycelis (Lactuca) muralis

How to Identify it: Large airy cluster of dozens of small, 5 rayed flowers on slender stems.  Leaves are usually deeply cleft.

This is a plant that lights up the semi-shaded areas where it is found. The bright bangles of yellow flowers seem to almost float.  The leaves are various improvisations on the cleft dandelion-like form, there is considerable variation from plant to plant.  Leaves are edible but  bitter like dandelions.

 

   
Gumweed  Grindelia integrifolia

How to Identify it:  Leaves and stem very sticky, large yellow flowers above green sticky bracts.

This is another late summer bloomer and its perhaps the most sticky plant you will find, the resinous bract under the flower and the leaves glisten with goo.  The butterflies and bees do not mind the stickiness of this plant and enjoy the rich pollen it provides. Found along salt water marshes and beach edges, it does not mind the sand but is usually out of the salt spray zone.

 
Pacific Silverweed  Argentina egedii

How to Identify it:  Jagged edged leaflets, 14-20 on a stem, yellow, buttercup-like flower, long reddish stems on ground. Coastal marshes.

The long reddish runners of this plant are distinctive, the flower blooms in May and turns to a dry oval seed which is eaten by mice.

The root of the plant is edible after boiling.

 

 
Broad leaf Stonecrop  Sedum spathulifolium

How to Identify it:  Thick, fleshy leaves that form a ground cover. Small yellow flowers on a stout stalk.

This is a groundcover plant of rocky cliff sides, often by the shore. The older leaves turn reddish, the thick juicy leaves retain water, saving it for use in the hot dry summer months. The flowers appear in May and June and sometimes they bloom so densely the cliff they are growing on appears yellow at considerable distance.

 
St. Johns-wort  Hypericum perforatum

How to Identify it:  Cluster of yellow flowers with numerous anthers on top of 2-3 foot stems. Main stems are reddish and woody at the base. Flower petals have tiny black spots on them.

This is an introduced plant from Europe which has become a weed. It is toxic to livestock, causing skin rashes and blisters.  A species of beetle, the Klamath Weed beetle, Chrysolina hyperici,  has been introduced to control this plant.  This plant is rendered as a medicine for depression.

 
Yellow Waterlily  Nuphar  polysepalum

How to Identify it:  Large heart-shaped floating leaves, often with curled edges. Flower roundish in appearance with waxy sepals.

This is an important lake and pond plant. The leaves provide shade and cover, usually it grows densely and shades out any other aquatic plant.  The leaves are buoyant enough that small birds can walk on them. The flower is complex, the large yellow waxy sepals enclose tiny reddish flowers which appear in June and turn into a stout green seedpod that contains hundreds of edible seeds.

   
Hop Clovers  Trifolium dubium, Trifolium campestre

How to Identify it: Yellow cluster of flowers atop a slender stem, plant small, usually less than a foot tall, sometimes sprawling. Egg or oval shaped leaves grouped in threes have fine teeth on the upper half of the leaf.

These two yellow field clovers are similar and both grow in lawns, roadsides and are weeds from Europe. The Small hop clover, T. dubium, is pictured at right, it has smaller flower clusters than the hop clover, T. campestre. Clovers host beneficial bacteria that convert nitrogen in the air to a form that plants can use. 

A third yellow clover-like plant is Black medic, Medicago lupulina.  It has similar leaves and form to the hop clovers only its black seed pods coil.

   
Parentucellia   Parentucellia viscosa

How to Identify it: Yellow, two lipped flower flowers on a stiff stalk. Flowers sticky to the touch.

This is another weed from Europe, this one hails from the Mediterranean and is named in honor of Thomas Parentucellia, the founder of the  botanical garden of Rome.  This is a plant that grows in moist meadows and pastures, and its bad taste keeps it from being eaten by cows, so in some pasture fields it might be the only plant more than a few inches tall.

   
Pineapple Weed  Matricaria  discoidea

How to Identify it:  Cone shaped flower, highly aromatic smelling of pineapple. Leaves finely divided.

This is a plant often in the packed gravel of parking areas. It is sometimes mistaken for Wild Chamomile, which has white flowers and is not common.  It makes a nice fragrant stuffing for sachets or as an air freshener for your car, since it often grows in parking areas.

   
Field Mustard  Brassica rapa

How to Identify it:  2-3 foot tall branched, spreading stems, plant covered with white powder, leaves with rounded tips, flower with 4 petals.

 

This is a common plant of mid-April to mid May, showing up in fields sometimes in dense yellow growths.  It is not a native but sometimes cultivated for its tuberous root.  The seeds are on long stalks and sometimes harvested for medicinal uses.