Though the peninsula occupies only 9 percent of the Washington State, it harbors 27 percent of the plants listed as rare." by Washington Natural Heritage Program.*

Endemic Plants

The Olympics as Biological Refuge

Though the Olympic Peninsula shares most of its plant species with other areas of western Washington, it lacks some species, such as noble fir, that are common elsewhere in the state. The peninsula also hosts a surprising number of endemic plant taxa (8 species and 3 subspecies), plants that occur here and nowhere else. There are eleven of these Olympic Peninsula endemics; another six occur only here and on Vancouver Island to the north, and three more are found only here and on Saddle Mountain on the Oregon coast.*

Endemic Plants of the Olympic Peninsula

Olympic Mountain milkvetch
Astragalus cottonii
Olympic Mountain milkvetch
Photographed by Willi Smothers.

Campanula piperi
Piper’s bellflower
Photographed by Willi Smothers.
Spotted coral-root
Corallorhiza maculata var ozettensis

Spotted coral-root
Photographed by Willi Smothers.
Erigeron flettii
Fleet’s fleabane
Erigeron peregrinus ssp. peregrinus var. thompsonii
Thompson’s wandering fleabane
Erythronium quinaultensis
Quinault fawn lilly

Petrophytum hendersonii
Olympic rockmat
Photographed by Willi Smothers.
Senecio neowebsteri
Olympic Mountain groundsel

Synthyris pinnatifida var. lanuginosa
Olympic cut-leaf synthyris
Photographed by Willi Smothers.
Taraxacum olympicum
Olympic Mountain dandelion

Viola flettii
Flett’s violet
Photographed by Willi Smothers.

*From Olympic National Park, A Natural History, Revised addition by Tim McNulty University of Washington Press, 2009.