Native Plant Library


Beach Grass/Marram Grass Ammophila breviligulata

An important dune stabilizer that thrives in shifting and burying sands. It survives burial by sending up new growth from underground stems that can grow over six feet horizontally in a year.

Little Bluestems Schizachyrium scoparium

A characteristic prairie species but can be found in various dry conditions. Gets its name from the bluish color of its stem base in spring but is most striking in the fall when plants turn reddish-tan.

Wool Grass Scirpus cyperinus

Grows in wet meadows and thickets, bogs, lakeshores, streams, ditches, and openings in swamps. Name comes from the woolly appearance of mature fruit. Our most common species of Scirpus.

Tape/Wild/Eel Grass Vallisneria americana

An important species for wildlife, providing food and shelter for waterfowl, shore birds, fish, and muskrats. Grows submersed in deep water lakes, ponds, and rivers.

Southern Wild Rice Zizania aquatica

Grows best in shallow, gently moving water and a muddy, mucky, or silty bottom. It is state threatened. Was an important food source for Native Americans.


Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis

Grows well in flood conditions. Excellent source of nectar and pollen for hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other insects. During the fall, several species of birds eat the fruit and seeds.

Red Osier Dogwood Cornus sericea

A common shrub in wetlands that remains attractive throughout the year. Spreads readily from underground stems and forms bird-friendly thickets.

Whorled/Swamp Loosestrife Decodon verticillatus

Related to the invasive purple loosestrife but is a desirable native species. Stems arc and re-root at the tip. Grows in high-quality swamps, bogs, and shorelines.

Sandbar Willow Salix exigua

Establishes very easily and forms dense, clonal colonies. Its long, remotely toothed leaves make this species one of our most distinctive willows.


Red Maple Acer rubrum

A common, ubiquitous tree species found in almost every habitat. Named for its red flowers, young fruit, and autumn foliage. This and silver maple are among the first plants to flower in spring.

Silver Maple Acer saccharinum

A common, ubiquitous tree species found in almost every habitat. Named for its red flowers, young fruit, and autumn foliage. This and silver maple are among the first plants to flower in spring.

Swamp White Oak Quercus bicolor

Grows in swamps and other poorly drained sites. The underside of the leaf is softly hairy and considerably lighter than the top.

Pin Oak Quercus palustris

Characteristic of periodically flooded ground. Can be distinguished from the similar red oak by its wet habitat, deep “cuts” in its leaves, and small acorns.


Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata

An important food source for the monarch butterfly, both as a caterpillar and as an adult. Our only milkweed species that likes its feet wet.

Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa

An important nectar source for both the monarch and the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. Unlike other milkweeds, this species lacks milky-sapped stems and leaves. Grows in dry, prairie-like conditions.

Sand Coreopsis Coreopsis lanceolata

A member of the sunflower family that grows on sand dunes and in other sandy, dry conditions. Does well in gardens and spreads readily.

Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea

A common native species planted in gardens. Genus name of Echinacea comes from the Greek word echinos meaning hedgehog or sea-urchin in reference to the spiny center of the flower.

Sawtooth Sunflower Helianthus grosseserratus

An attractive, native sunflower that can grow up to 12 feet tall. Closely resembles tall sunflower (H. giganteus) but has a hairless stem and stalked leaves.

Swamp/Rose Mallow Hibiscus moscheutos

More common in the salt marshes of the Atlantic coast, but is locally frequent in the marshes, swamps, and floodplains of southern Michigan. Individual flowers can grow up to 6 inches across.

Spotted Touch-Me-Not/Jewelweed Impatiens capensis

The name touch-me-not is in reference to this species’ unusual fruit – as seeds ripen, the fruit walls increase tension until the slightest touch will cause them to rupture and scatter seeds everywhere.

Southern Blue Flag Iris virginica

Grows in ponds, lake shores, marshes, and other wet habitats. Resembles wild blue flag (I. versicolor), but the center spot is generally yellower in I. virginica. Genus named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

Marsh Blazing Star Liatris spicata

Grows in moist, sandy plains and shores. Attractive to many insect species and considered deer resistant.

Wild Bergamot/Bee Balm Monarda fistulosa

Grows in dry, open, sandy, gravelly conditions. Genus named after 16th century physician and botanist, Nicolas Bautista Monardes.

Sweet Scented Waterlily Nymphaea odorata

Named for its showy, fragrant flower. Grows in ponds and sheltered areas of lakes and rivers but can sometimes be found amid sphagnum moss in bog mats where bogs have engulfed inland lakes.

Water Smartweed Persicaria amphibia

We have two common varieties of this species in Michigan: var. stipulacea grows in water, has stems that grow horizontally, and produces floating leaves. Var. emersa never produces floating leaves and has stems that only grow vertically.

Arrow Arum/Tuckahoe Peltandra virginica

Like many other members of the arum family, its unusual flowers are pollinated by flies. Fruits are eaten by wood duck, mallard, and king rail.

Pickerel Weed Pontederia cordata

Seeds are edible and can be eaten raw or dried. An attractive, emergent perennial that is beneficial to various kinds of wildlife.

Yellow Coneflower Ratibida pinnata

Native to southern Michigan and prairie remnants. Can grow 3-5 feet tall and has a long blooming period making it a great choice for gardens.

Black-Eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta

A reliable native plant for moderately to well-drained gardens. Will often bloom during the first year from seed.

Common Arrowhead/ Wapato/Duck Potato Sagittaria latifolia

When plants grow in mud, they produce starchy tubers which are eaten by ducks and muskrats. Was also an important source of food for Native Americans.

Softstem Bulrush Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani

A reliable indicator of wet conditions that can be found throughout much of the world. Can grow 4-8 feet tall and spreads readily in wetlands.

Rosin Weed Silphium integrifolium

Michigan is at the northeastern edge of this plant’s range. It is state threatened. Named rosin weed after the gummy sap that exudes from cut or broken stems.

Showy Goldenrod Solidago speciosa

Grows in dry, sandy conditions. Named after its showy clubs of bright yellow flowers that bloom mid to late summer. Goldenrods have been wrongly accused of being the cause of fall allergies, but the true culprits are wind-pollinated species such as ragweed.

Common Bur-Reed Sparganium eurycarpum

An unusual wetland species that can resemble its relative, cattail, when not flowering. Seeds are readily consumed by waterfowl and leaves are sometimes browsed by white-tail deer.

New England Aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Grows in open, moist ground. Petal color can range from blue to purple and is occasionally pink. A stunning aster that blooms late summer through fall.

Common Bladderwort Utricularia vulgaris

A lesser-known carnivorous plant of ponds, interdunal swales, lakes, marshes, rivers, and streams. Captures prey in bladder-traps that grow on leaves.