Scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata)

A group of strikingly red flowers in the sunlight with the Tetons blurred in the background

Scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata)

First documented in the early 1800s, Lewis and Clark discovered scarlet gilia in the mountains of Idaho (USFS). Their northern range reaches throughout parts of British Columbia and they are found as far south as Texas. These trumpet shaped flowers are also found throughout Grand Teton National Park in sagebrush flats and forests.

Scarlet gilia has several other common names including “skyrocket”, “fairy trumpet”, and a less appealing “skunk flower” due to its less attractive smell. Scarlet gilia does have different color variants, but the red variant is more common in the park. These flowers can be found on the Blacktail Butte trail and are easily distinguished by their foliage. Their leaves are feathery-like and grow at the base of the stem (USDA). Like other long tube-shaped flowers, hummingbirds, moths, and long-tongued insects are popular pollinators of this plant.

Written by Anna Cressman
PC: Anna Cressman