Colorado Native Plants
Colorado, characterized by its varied ecosystems from plains and foothills to high mountains and alpine tundras, hosts a diverse array of native plants adapted to these unique conditions.
- In the plains and foothills, native grasses like Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) and Buffalo Grass (Bouteloua dactyloides) thrive, along with wildflowers such as the vibrant Rocky Mountain Columbine (Aquilegia caerulea), Colorado’s state flower.
- In the montane and subalpine zones, you’ll find Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) and Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta), along with Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides), and Blue Spruce (Picea pungens), Colorado’s state tree. Understory plants include the Cliff Fendlerbush (Fendlera rupicola) and Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).
- At higher elevations in the alpine tundra, where conditions are harsh, plant life is characterized by cushion plants and rosettes like Alpine Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis alpestris) and Moss Campion (Silene acaulis), adapted to the severe wind and cold.
- Riparian areas alongside rivers and streams host different species, such as the Narrowleaf Cottonwood (Populus angustifolia) and Red-Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea), both providing crucial erosion control.
These native plants contribute significantly to Colorado’s ecosystems, offering habitat and food for local wildlife, sustaining soil health, and adding to the state’s natural beauty. By choosing these native species for your garden, you can support biodiversity, conserve water, and create a landscape attuned to Colorado’s unique climates and conditions.