Wildflower Bounty This Summer in Cypress Hills

Wildflowers, Cypress Hills, SK
Wildflowers, Cypress Hills, SK
Wildflowers carpet a hillside meadow in the Centre Block of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

If you have been thinking about a trip to the Cypress Hills to catch the wildflower displays, this is shaping up to be a banner summer thanks to ample spring moisture  We just got back from a visit to the Centre Block and the West Block of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, and we were amazed at how prolific the wildflowers were already – and it’s still quite early in the season. All of the flowers shown on this posting are ones we saw in the past few days.

Three-flowered avens, Cypress Hills, SK
Three-flowered avens with their nodding pink heads are especially showy this year, often appearing in large clumps on the open prairie.

What Makes the Cypress Hills so Special for Wildflowers

While there are many places to go in Saskatchewan to see wildflowers, Cypress Hills ranks as the best of the best. It’s the diversity of the climates, landscapes, and habitats that make this area unique in the southern prairies. There is everything from lodgepole pine and spruce forest to open mixed grasslands, wetlands, aspen bluffs, wide valleys, and higher altitudes.

Mixed wildflowers, Cypress Hills
Wildflowers growing at the base of the conglomerate cliffs in the West Block.
Road through Cypress Hills Park, SK
Colourful roadside through a section of the Centre Block of the park.

This diversity brings a dazzling mix of flowers adapted to these different habitats, with species found in grasslands, boreal forest, and higher alpine regions. Showy flowers abound such as mountain shooting star, pinkish-purple sticky geranium (which were just starting to bloom during our recent visit), lavender-coloured spikes of larkspur, wild bergamot, shubby cinquefoil, and yellow blossoms of golden beans.

Low larkspur, Cypress Hills Park, SK
Purplish-blue flowers of perennial low larkspur bloom in the grassy meadows.
Golden beans, Cypress Hills Park SK
Golden beans can be found along roadsides, and mixed with many other wildflowers in the meadows.
Field chickweed, Cypress Hills, SK
Field chickweed provides a thick ground cover and seems to grow in grassy and rocky habitats.
Sticky geranium wildflower, Cypress Hills, SK
The brightly colored flowers of purple sticky geranium were just starting to emerge. This showy plant is common in prairie meadows of the park.

Wildflowers Appear at Different Times

The hills are also home to many rare plants such as pine drops, with creamy bell-shaped flowers along a tall red leafless stem. For wild orchid lovers, there is no better place in the Prairies. At least 18 species occur here, some quite rare. Striped coral-root orchid, round-leaved orchid, and the flashy calypso orchid stand out as some of the top finds. Around mid to late-June is often a prime time for many orchids. Flowers bloom at different times, so the displays vary throughout the season.

Broomweed, Cypress Hills Park, SK
Broomweed likes prairie roadsides and dry areas. Many stems often emerge from the centre crown.
Mountain shooting star, Cypress Hills, SK
Mountain shooting star with its showy magenta flowers on a long stalk are often found amongst other wildflowers in meadows in June..
Wild licorice, Cypress Hills Park, SK
Wild licorice with its greenish white flowers on clustered spikes favours moister woodlands.

While wildflowers are everywhere in the hills, the best concentrations we saw in past few days were close to the core area in the Centre Block of Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, especially along the road to the Lookout Point and Bald Butte. This may change as the season unfolds.

Smooth blue beardtongue, Cypress Hills, SK
Smooth blue beardtongue is common in the park. It grows well on dry prairie hillsides, and even amongst the rocks at the base of the Conglomerate Cliifs in the West Block of the park.
Smooth blue beardtongue, Cypress Hills, SK
Smooth blue beardtongue, Cypress Hills, SK

Help Identifying Saskatchewan Wildflowers

For detailed descriptions and photographs of these and over 600 wildlflowers in the province, have a look at the website Saskatchewan Wildflowers. You can search by colour, common name, or Latin name. Native orchids and native carnivorous plants are also profiled on the site.

More Information on the Region

Our go-to source for the latest happenings in the area is Cypress Hills-Grasslands Destination Area. Also see the listing for the park on Tourism Saskatchewan’s website, and on SaskParks website.

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