Friday, August 11

Do you recognize these wildflowers in bloom?

Do you recognize these wildflowers in bloom? Hero thumbnail
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Aug 11, 2023

Do you recognize these wildflowers in bloom?

This early August 2023, the Banff Sunshine Meadows are currently painted with over 50 different species of blooming wildflowers covering untouched fields of Rocky Mountain beauty.  


Over the years, the wildflowers have adapted to the altering climate and soil conditions up at the Sunshine Meadows. Wildflowers are low maintenance, and create a colorful oasis across Alberta’s natural terrain. 


Banff Sunshine’s maintained and monitored trails are designed to give nature the space to grow, so the wildflowers can continue to thrive in their natural habitat for years to come. Wildflowers bloom in low-disturbed environments. Some wildflowers, given the right temperature, sunlight and water intake for the season, can blossom between 2-6 feet tall. 


Banff National Park is home to three major vegetation zones: 

- The Montane Zone, low elevation. 

- The Subalpine Zone, receives more precipitation than Montane zones.  

- The Alpine Zone, wildflowers can grow above the tree line! 


The wildflowers of the Banff Sunshine Meadows grow in the Subalpine zones, and bloom from late June to early September. All wildflowers have different lifespans, and the abundance of flora creates a different landscape setting every time you explore the meadows.


As of today, there are over 50 different wildflowers currently in bloom and some of the names might even make you chuckle, do you recognize any of the names? 

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Shrubby Cinquefoil’s are sure to make you smile. Traditionally, Shrubby Cinquefoil was used to make teas to treat internal bleeding, congestion, and tuberculosis. These smiley yellow wildflowers are useful to the ecosystem for erosion control and soil stabilization. Did you know the color yellow represents happiness? These happy wildflowers can be found on the Twin Cairns to Monarch Viewpoint trail and from the Standish Viewing deck to Rock Isle Lake Junction. 



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Next time you're up at the Sunshine Meadows, be sure to say, “hello,” to the Cow Parsnip. The average Cow Parsnip is about 1-3 feet tall in the Canadian Rockies. In fact, the Cow Parsnip is edible, but we can't guarantee it is tasty! The Cow Parsnip, also known as Heracleum Maximum, thrives in damp soil and can be found on three out of our six trails. 



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The Mountain Death Camas can be... well, deadly. Hence the name, this wildflower contains toxic chemicals if congested. The Mountain Death Camas require part shade and moist soil to grown. The Mountain Death Camas is currently in bloom on the Twins Cairns trail to the Monarch Viewpoint trail. 





The classic and most recognizable wildflower, the Fireweed takes over the Banff Sunshine Meadows with lush tones of purple and deep pink. In the rare occasion, this pink/purple beauty can grow up to 9 feet tall and is called Fireweed because it’s the first to bloom after a wildfire. The Fireweed adds a pop of color to your day of exploring the Sunshine Meadows and thrives in the open fields along every trail at the Banff Sunshine Meadows. 



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Fringed Grass of Parnassus is our favorite! The saucer-shaped, off-white/cream color pedals make us feel like we’re walking in a fairytale story. The Fringed Grass of Parnassus is currently in bloom on four of our six trails. 


Click here to identify the names of all the wildflowers in bloom! 


As soon as you walk onto our 22-minute long sightseeing gondola, you enter a world blossoming wildflowers painting our Canadian Rocky valleys with vibrant summer colors.  


Join us this summer in exploring the Banff Sunshine Meadows, for your chance to see our wildflowers in full bloom, open daily until September 10th! 


Did you know, with the purchase of your 2023/2024 winter season’s pass, you get access to the Banff Sunshine Meadows all summer long? Buy your winter season’s pass and become the ultimate wildflower expert this summer.