Washington Natural Heritage Program Field Guide to Selected Rare Plants

Introduction Purpose Acknowledgements
Intended Audience Plans for Additions References How to use this Field Guide


In 2011 we published a printed Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Wasnington. This online guide is an adaptation of that book along with some additional, older plant descriptions. It now includes 341 vascular plants, 16 mosses and one lichen. We have also created Android and iOS versions of the field guide.

Each description includes names, status, rank, identification tips, range, habitat, and references. A distribution map, line drawing, close-up photo, and habitat photo are usually included.

Intended Audience


The individual species' treatments are designed to help in the identification of species and their habitats. The information also enables planners and managers to determine how rare the species are and identify management issues.

Plans for Additions

The WNHP hopes to expand this guide to cover additional rare vascular plant species, rare non-vascular species such as mosses and lichens, and plant communities. A mobile version is now under development, with funding provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


The printed Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Wasnington was the culmnation of a cooperative venture between the Washington State Department of Natural Resources' Natural Heritage Program (WNHP), the Spokane District of the U.S.D.I. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Washington Native Plant Society, the University of Washington Herbarium at Burke Museum, and the University of Washington Press. Funding for this online version was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The photographic images used in this guide came from numerous sources and are used with permission. A majority of the illustrations are from Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. They have been reproduced here with permission of the University of Washington Press. The photographer or illustrator is acknowledged with each image.


A majority of the references cited are included on each individual species' online fact sheet. However, there are two exceptions, both of which are general references for Washington flora. Because they are were used so frequently on each fact sheet, the full citations are provided below instead. Click here for full list of references.

Hitchcock, C. L., and A. Cronquist. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Hitchcock, C. L., A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J. W. Thompson. 1955-1969. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. 5 volumes. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

How To Use This Field Guide

This field guide is designed to serve two purposes. Its primary function is to provide an online reference, allowing users to quickly obtain specific information for a species on an as-needed basis, with minimal printing. For those requiring print references, these descriptions are presenteded as .PDF files that can be printed and stored for future reference.

Species Information

To find a species, click 'Alphabetical List' in the navigation bar at the top of the page and then select the species name from the list.

Each species treatment includes information on identification, phenology, range, habitat, ecology, state status, inventory needs, threats, and references. There are also pictures of the plant and its habitat as well as a line drawing and a distribution map.

Printing Information

Species descriptions are presented as .PDF files so you can print the page(s) for a species. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print these descriptions.

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Adapted from Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Washington
Washington Natural Heritage Program, U.S.D.I. Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service