Native Plants

Native Plant List – Utah and Western Colorado

This is a "starter" list of native plants for Utah and Western Colorado. It is intended for residential or commercial landscapers who want to create attractive and varied native landscapes.

Utah and Western Colorado - Trees

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Drought Tolerance Height     Comments
White Fir Abies concolor P M 70' Beautiful in mass or alone
Subalpine Fir Abies lasiocarpa S P 80' Cover for birds; food for squirrels; for small spaces
Catclaw Acacia Acacia greggii F E 20' Nectar for bees, butterflies; forms thorny thicket
Big Tooth Maple Acer grandidentatum F G 30' Food, cover for birds, mammals, deer; fall color
Thinleaf Alder Ainus incana P P 30' Seed, cover for birds; spring "cones;" winter bark
Water Birch Betula occidentalis F G 5-20' Seed, cover for birds; nice winter form, branch color
Desert Willow Chilopsis linearis F G 25' Nectar for hummingbirds; profuse pink flowers
River Hawthorne Crataegus douglasii F P 5-25' Nesting cover, fruit for birds; nice blossoms and fruit
Singleleaf Ash Fraxinus anomalus F G 20' Seeds for birds, mammals; start from seed, cutting
Velvet Ash Fraxinus velutina F G 40' Provides seed for birds; velvety leaves
Utah Juniper Jun. osteosperma F E 30' Food, cover for birds, mammals; nice bark, form
Blue Spruce Picea pungens P P 70' Cover for birds, mammals; blue-green foliage
Singleleaf Pinyon Pinus edulis F E 20' Pine nuts for birds, mammals; slow-growth; graceful
Pinyon Pine Pinus monophylla F E 20' Pine nuts for birds, mammals; pictureque evergreen
Narrowleaf Cottonwood Populus angustifolia F M 40' Soft wood for nest cavities; medium-size shade tree
Fremont Cottonwood Populus fremontii F G 55' Soft wood for nest cavities; fem. produces cotton
Fremont Popular Populus frenentii F M 60' Soft wood for nest cavities; fem. produces cotton
Velvet Mesquite Populus glandulosa F E 30' Bee nectar; bird food; green foliage; 3-6" seedpods
Douglas Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii P M 80' Year-round bird cover, pretty screen, windbreak
Gambel Oak Quercus gambelii F G 30' Acorns; winter cover; not hardy N of Ogden
New Mexico Locust Robinia neomexicana F G 25' Bee nectar; seeds for quail, squirrels; lav. flowers
Dwarf Mountain Ash Sorbus scopulina P P 13' Fruit for birds, white flowers in spring; berries in fall

Utah and Western Colorado - Shrubs

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Drought Tolerance Height     Comments
Utah Serviceberry Amelanchier utahensis F G 6-15' Spring flowers, purple berries, muted fall colors
Silver Sagebrush Artemesia cana F E 2-5' Silvery, aromatic foliage; seeds,cover for animals
Fringed Sage Artemesia frigida F E 1-2' Delicate silvery gray foliage; seeds for birds
Big Sagebrush Artemesia tridentata F E 2-5' Silvery, aromatic foliage; seeds,cover for animals
Sand Sage Artemisin filifolia F E 4' Lovely, feathery foliage; seeds for birds
Four-wing Saltbush Atriplex canescens F E 4-6' Rose-hued fruits on female plants; great bird seed
Snowbrush Ceanothus Ceanothus velutinus F M 1-3' Glossy leaves and spring flowers; nectar plant
Winterfat Ceratoides lanata F E 1-3' Profuse fruits in fall; winter food for birds
Curl-leaf Mtn Mohogany Cercocarpus ledifolius F E 8-12' Ornamental spiralled seeds; winter deer food
Birchleaf Mtn Mohogany Cercocarpus montanus F E 4-9' Ornamental seed heads and fall color
Fernbrush Chamaebatiaria millefol. F E 6-8' Long-lasting mid-summer flowers; fernlike leaves
Rubber Rabbitbrush Chrysothamnus nauseo. F E 2-6' Yellow fall cover; seeds and cover for birds
Red-osier Dogwood Cornus sericea P P 10-15' Spring flowers; fall white berries; winter red twigs
Indigo Bush Dalea fremontii F E 3' Profuse fragrant purple flowers; nectar plant
Mormon Tea Ephedra nevadensis F E 2-4' Interesting shrub accent; seeds attract quail
Apache Plume Fallugia paradoxa F G 3-6' White flowers in spring; seed heads fall and winter
Creosotebush Larrea tridentata F E 4-10' Screen or wind break; nectar plant; cover for birds
Utah Honeysuckle Lonicera utahensis S G 2-5' Yellow flowers late spring; fruit for birds
Purple Sage Poliomintha incana S E 3' Blue/purple flowers all summer; nectar plant
Chokecherry Prunus virginiana P G 15-20' Spring flowers; dark purple fruit; red-orange color
Cliffrose Purshia mexiciana F E 6' Fragrant yellow summer flowers; fall seed plumes
Bitterbrush Purshia tridentata F E 2-6' Spring yellow flowers; winter browse for deer
Shrub Live Oak Quercus turbinella F E 4-8 Attractive evergreen shrub; food and cover for birds
Wavyleaf Oak Quercus undulata F G 4-8' Attractive evergreen shrub; quail, chipmunk food
Squawbush Sumac Rhus trilobata F E 2-6' Red fall color; red fall fruit; food and cover for birds
Golden Currant Ribes aureum P M 4-6' Yellow spring berries; red fall color; fruit for birds
Woods Rose Rosa woodsii F G 2-6' Spring pink flowers; fall red hips; winter animal food
Sandbar Willow Salix exigua F P 5-15' Great branch color in fall; dense cover for wildlife
Blue Elderberry Sambucus caerulea F P 6-12' White spring flowers; showy dark blue fruit
Greaswood Sarcobatus vermiculatus F E 2-6' Light green foliage; year-round cover small animals
Roundleaf Buffaloberry Shepherdia rotundifolia F E 3-4' Reflective, silvery leaves; quail, chipmunk food.
Snowberry Symphoricarpas species P G 3 White berries in fall and winter; fruit for birds
Canyon Wild Grape Vitis arizonica F G vine Colorful fruit for birds; bark for nests
Soap Tree Yucca Yucca elata F E 6' Creamy white blossoms; nectar for moths
Yucca Yucca harrimaniae F E 2-3' Creamy flowers on tall stalks; nectar for moths

Utah and Western Colorado - Flowering Perennials

Common Name Scientific Name Color Bloom Height     Comments
Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa Orange Su 36" Attracts butterflies
Desert Marigold Baileya multiradiata Yellow All Su 18-24" Very drought tolerant and showy
Arrowleaf Balsamroot Balsamorhiza sagittate Yellow Sp 16-30" Early season color; large plant
Indian Paintbrush Castilleja linariaefolia Red Su 12-40" Difficult to establish; attracts hummingbirds
Skyrocket Gilia Cilia aggregate Orange Su 12-18" Attracts hummingbirds
Rock Mountain Beeplant Cleome serrulata Pink/Purple Sp-Su 36" Attracts bees
Aspen Daisy Erigeron speciosus Purple Su 12-24" Showy, aster-like flowers
Sulpher Buckwheat Eriogonum umbellatum Wht/Yellow Su 6-12" Attracts bees, seeds in F/W, matted ground cover
Wild Geranium Geranium viscosissimum Pink Su-F 12-36" Long blooming season
Sunflower Helianthus annuus Yellow LSu 72" Provides bird seed for fall and winter
Western Sunflower Helianthus anomalus Yellow LSu 72" Provides bird seed in fall
Blue Flax Linum lewisii Blue Su 24" Prolific bloomer; spreads rapidly-use in large area
Silvery Lupine Lupinus argenteus Blue Su 12-24" Attracts butterflies
Prairie Aster Machaeranth tanacetifo. Purple Su-F 12-18" Blooms late into season
Four O'Clock Mirabilis multipflora Purple All Su 24" Stunning ornamental; attracts hummingbirds
Bee Balm Monarda species Purple All Su 24" Attracts bees and butterflies
Evening Primrose Oenothera caespitose Wht/Pink ESu 8" Very drought-tolerant/tough/fragrant/attracts moths
Wasatch Penstemon Penstemon cyananthus Blue Su 18-36" Showy ornamental
Firecracker Penstemon Penstemon eatoni Red Sp-ESu 24" Attracts hummingbirds
Palmer Penstemon Penstemon palmeri Cream/Pink ESu 36-48" Very fragrant, tubular summer flowers
Rocky Mt. Penstemon Penstemon strictus Blue/Purple ESu 24" Hardy; easy to grow
Scarlet Globemallow Sphaeralcea coccinea Orange Sp-F 6-12" Flowers resemble small hollyhocks
Globemallow Sphaeralcea grossulariaefolia Red/Orange Sp-F 24-36" Very hardy; blooms all summer

Utah and Western Colorado - Grasses

Common Name Scientific Name Cool/Warm Season Drought Tolerance Height
Side-oats Grama Bouteloua curtipendula W E 12-24"
Blue Grama Bouteloua gracilis W E 12-18"
Saltgrass Distichlis spicata W E 6-20"
Great Basin Wildrye Elymus cinereus C E 24-36"
Western Wheatgrass Elymus smithii C E 12-24"
Bluebunch Wheatgrass Elymus spicatus C G 12-24"
Slender Wheatgrass Elymus trachycaulus C M 12-24"
Sheep Fescue Festuca ovina C M 12-24"
Galleta Hilaria jamesii W E 6-12"
Prairie Junegrass Koeleria macrantha C G 12-24"
Sandberg Bluegrass Poa secunda C E 12-24"
Alakali Sacaton Sporobolus airoides W E 12-24"
Sand Dropseed Sporobolus cryptandrus W E 12-24"
Needle and Thread Stipa comate C E 24-36"
Indian Ricegrass Stipa hymenoides C E 12-24"
Desert Needlegrass Stipa speciosa C G 12-24"

Sun Exposure Soil Moisture Drought Tolerance
F = Full Sun W = Wet E = Excellent
P = Part Sun A = Average G = Good
S = Shade D = Dry M = Moderate
P = Poor