West Virginia Native Plants with Good Landscape Potential

Assembled by William N. Grafton
WVU Extension Service
Wildlife Specialist
 

Common Name

Generic Name

Description

Golden Aster

Heterotheca mariana

Perennial of dry openings; 1' tall; showy 1" wide, golden-yellow flowers in autumn; single stems

Stiff Aster

Aster linariifolius

Perennial of dry open woods and moist, sandy riverbanks; 1' tall; showy 2" flowers that are violet or white in autumn; grows in clumps of 5-20 stems

Rocktwist

Draba ramosissima

Perennial of rock outcrops and open barren soil; 6-8" tall; small clusters of white flowers; leaves with interesting jagged margins and seed pods strongly twisted

Goat's Rue

Tephrosia virginiana

Perennial legume of dry open soils; 1' tall; plants covered with long white hairs; flowers yellowish-white and marked with purple, about 1" across, very showy, bloom during summer; bean-like pods in showy whorls

Wild Liveforever

Sedum telephioides

Tufted perennials of barren dry soils or rock outcrops; fleshy, purplish leaves; evergreen; flowers pinkish and not especially showy

Fern-leaved Yellow Foxglove

Gerardia pedicularia

Perennial clumps of 3-6 stems; 2-4' tall; dry soil; shade to open sunlight; bright yellow flowers are about 1" wide and bloom during autumn; leavers with delicate fern-like pattern

Downy Yellow Foxglove

Gerardia virginica

Perennial clumps of 3-6 stems; 2-4' tall; dry soil; shade to open; large 1-2" wide bright yellow flowers bloom for 1-2 months in autumn

Mosspink

Phlox subulata

Low matted perennial of dry, poor openings and banks; frequently planted but is a native plant; can provide spectacular splashes of pink, purple or white flowers

Shale Bindweed

Convolvulus purshianus

Perennial of dry, open soils that spreads from deep rootstocks to form colonies; 1-2' tall, light green hairy leaves; large, showy white "morning glory" type flowers

Orange Puccoon

Lithospermum canescens

Perennial 1' tall in dry open soils; orange flowers in mid-spring

Galax

Galax aphylla

Perennial evergreen plant about 1' tall; dark green, heart-shaped leathery leaves frequently turn reddish in late winter; 2-5" spike of small white flowers appears in summer to provide a nice splash of color; dry to moist soils, shade

Box Huckleberry

Gaylussacia brachycera

Perennial, evergreen woody shrub 1-2 feet tall; dry soils, shade to partial sunlight; shiny dark green leaves make this an excellent medium sized ground cover for small mammals and songbirds

Shale Evening-Primrose

Oenothera argillicola

Scraggly perennial 2-3' tall of very poor and dry soils; large bright yellow flower that blooms during autumn more than make up for a shabby looking plant

Birdfoot Violet

Viola pedata

Perennial from rootstock; dry soils; leaves deeply cut into 3-7 sections; showy flowers usually with 2 upper petals being dark violet and 3 lower a lighter blue color; blooms in early to mid-spring

Crossvine

Bignonia capreolata

Woody vine climbing 10-40' up in trees by tendrils; rich soil; shade or open; interesting leaves in pairs; orange or reddish showy tubular flowers, 1-2" long, in spring; semi-evergreen

Virginia Creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Woody vine climbing by tendrils to 40-60' height in trees; seeds eaten by songbirds and wildlife; fall foliage often a spectacular red in autumn

Climbing Bittersweet

Celastrus scandens

Woody vine climbing 20-40' up in trees by twining which can eventually choke and kill the host; yellow and orange capsules split to reveal showy scarlet seeds in autumn

Great Blue Lobelia

Lobelia siphilitica

Perennial of streambanks and wet soils; 1-2' tall; spike of bright blue or bluish-white flowers at top of stem; blooms late-summer and fall

Cardinal-flower

Lobelia cardinalis

Perennial of streambanks and wet soils; 1-3' tall; spike of brilliant, bright scarlet flowers at top; blooms in late-summer and fall

Purple-stem Aster

Aster puniceus

Tall perennial aster of saturated soils; red or purple stem, showy white to lilac flowers on 3-6' tall stem during autumn

Swamp Milkweed

Asclepias incarnata

Perennial of wet saturated soils; 3-4' tall; attractive to butterflies; numerous bunches of small pink or purple flowers in late summer

Blue Vervain

Verbena hastata

Perennial with square stem, 3-5' tall, wet or moist soils; 10-20 spikes of small blue flowers that bloom in the autumn season; blooms over a period of 1-2 months

Marsh Marigold

Caltha palustris

Perennial clumps to 15" tall; bright yellow flowers spring; wet saturated soils

Burnet

Sanguisorba canadensis

Perennial of wet meadows and low ground, 2-4' tall, dense showy 3-6" long spikes of white flowers in late summer and autumn; large compound leaves with toothed margins

Swamp Rose Mallow

Hibiscus moscheutos

Perennial of set areas and shallow water or streambanks; to 7' tall; very large (4-6" wide) white or creamy flowers in autumn, flowers in bloom for several weeks

Swamp Candles or Bulbous Loosestrife

Lysimachia terrestris

Perennial of wet openings and swamps; to 2' tall; 2-6" spike of light yellow flowers at top of plant

Giant Sunflower

Helianthus giganteus

Tall perennial (5-10' tall); wet openings; yellow flowers, 1-2" wide, bloom in autumn, numerous flowers per plant

Duck Potato

Sagittaria latifolia

Perennial from a bulb; prefers mud or shallow water; large shiny triangular leaf, dark green; 1" wide showy white flowers on a separate stalk from leaves, bloom late summer; food source (bulbs) for waterfowl and wetland wildlife

Christmas Fern

Polystichum acrostichoides

Evergreen perennial; prefers moist soils, open or shade; to 2' tall, 10-20 leaves per clump

Royal Fern

Osmunda regalis

Perennial clump, to 4' tall; moist to wet soils, open sunlight best, usually 5-8 leaves per clump; spores green-brown at top of leaf; beautiful fern with numerous small leaflets

Cinnamon Fern

Osmunda cinnamomea

Perennial clump, up to 3' tall; moist to wet soils; shade or open; usually 6-10 leaves per clump; spore stalk separate from leaves; stalks covered with cinnamon hairs in spring

Interrupted Fern

Osmunda claytoniana

Perennial clump to 3' tall; moist to wet soils; shade or open; usually 6-10 leaves in a clump, spores are a green-brown interruption of green leaf

Ostrich Fern

Matteuccia pensylvanica

Perennial clump, up to 4' tall; moist soils; usually 6-15 tall green leaves and a spore stalk per clump; very attractive

Black-eyed Susan

Rudbeckia hirta

Biennial (lives 2 years), to 2 or 3 feet tall; large orange or yellow flowers with dark purple center, 2-3 inches wide that blooms throughout autumn; moist and dry soils in full sunlight.

Rose Pink

Sabatia angularis

Annual; 1-1.5 feet tall - with many colorful pink flowers in July and August, needs open sunlight, readily reseeds itself where competition from other plants is light.

Plumelily, False Solomon's Seal

Smilacina racemosa

Perennial 10-20 inches tall, normally grows in a long arch; large plume of small white flowers at tip in May and June; berries are showy and are greenish-yellow with showy flecks of red in autumn; prefers open areas and rich, moist soils; nice ornamental.

Fireweed

Epilobium angustifolium

Perennial 3-6 feet tall; 4-6 inch strap-shaped leaves; very showy purplish-pink flowers in a long spike at top; blooms over a 2-4 week period in July and August; needs open sunlight.

Great Solomon's Seal

Polygonatum canaliculatum

Perennial from long tuberous roots, 2-3 feet tall; grows in a long arch, showy leaves are whitish-green; many round blue fruits hang underneath the arching stem in late summer and fall; partial shade to full sunlight; interesting ornamental.

Wake Robin

Trillium erectum

Perennial 8-15 inches tall with a dark red flower atop 3 large leaves; blooms in early spring, can grow in shady or partial shade areas of moist rich soil; nice ornamental.

Indian Cucumber-root

Medeola virginiana

Delicate perennial from a long white root that tastes like cucumber, (it is edible); flowers are small greenish-yellow; young plants have a circle of 6-8 leaves 6 inches above the ground; older plants will have a second set of 3 leaves above the first, which will have scarlet tips as the autumn colors appear (very showy); grows in rich soil and shady areas.

American Lily-of-the-valley

Convallaria montana

Perennial from a long root; 2 basal upright leaves 4-8 inches long that remain through the growing season; a stalk of white flowers blooms in May and June; partial to full sunlight, in moist to dry soils; eventually forms a nice ground cover.

Spring Iris

Iris verna

Perennial from creeping roots that will partially cover an area; 4-8 inches tall with large showy flowers of fragrant blue flowers with yellow-orange bases that bloom in April and May; moist to dry soils in partial to full sunlight.

Crested Dwarf Iris

Iris cristata

Perennial from creeping roots that eventually cover the area; 6 inches tall with large flowers of blue petals with orange-yellow bases; very showy; moist soils in partial shade or full sunlight; colorful ornamental in April and May.

Wild Ginger

Asarum canadense

Perennial from "ginger flavored" roots; large dark-green, heart-shaped leaves will form a dense ground cover in partial or complete shade; moist, rich soils; the brownish-purple flowers can be found at ground level or under old leaves in early spring.

Coltsfoot Ginger

Asarum virginicum

Perennial from 'ginger flavored' roots, evergreen leathery leaves grow in partial to full shade; moist, rich soils; the brownish-purple flowers can be found at ground level or under old leaves in early spring.

Twinleaf

Jeffersonia diphylla

Perennial wildflower 8-12 inches tall; grows with a clump of whitish-green, 2-lobed leaves on long stems; showy white flowers 1 inch across that last about 2 weeks; grow in rich, moist soil in partial shade, blooms in April and May.

Bloodroot

Sanguinaria canadensis

Low perennial from a large red root that provides red juice for an excellent dye and for medicine; large 2-inch white flowers bloom in late March and April; leaves are 2-5 inches across, 4-8 inches tall, light green with many "U" shaped lobes; grows in moist, rich soil in partial to complete shade.

Mayapple

Podophyllum peltatum

Perennial from long roots that will form colonies; plant 1 foot tall; young plants (up to 5-7 years old) have a single umbrella-like leaf; older mature plants fork and have two "half umbrella" leaves; showy white, 1-inch flower forms in the base of the fork and may grow into a 1-inch yellowish edible fruit; moist, rich soil in partial to full shade; blooms in May.

Dwarf Larkspur

Delphinium tricorne

Perennial 6-12 inches tall, large spike of showy blue, violet or whitish flowers with an unusual hood-shaped top; moist, rich soil in partial to full shade; showy ornamental wildflower in early spring.

Leatherflower

Clematis viorna

Perennial vine usually 10-15 feet long; vine dies back to ground each year; showy dull purple 1-inch flowers; moist soil in full sunlight; excellent places for songbird nests and shelter.

Goatsbeard

Aruncus dioicus

Tall perennial 2-3 feet tall; very large (12-18 inch long) spike of many small white flowers in June and July; moist to wet soils in partial to full sunlight; attracts many nectar insects.

Dwarf Cornel, Bunchberry

Cornus canadensis

Perennial woody shrub 6-12 inches tall; large 1-2 inch white flower; leaves turn bright red in autumn and have red berries widely eaten by birds and animals; moist soils in partial to dense shade; will make a nice ground cover after several years.

Greek Valerian

Polemonium reptans

Perennial wildflower 8-12 inches tall; dark green leaves that are semi-evergreen, numerous light blue, bell-shaped flowers in April-June; moist, rich soil in partial to dense shade.

Bluebells

Mertensia virginica

Perennial wildflower 1-2 feet tall with bluish-green leaves (almost purplish when first sprouting); many showy flowers that are first pink, then turn blue; entire plant dies to ground level by mid-summer; prefers moist, rich soils in partial shade to light sun; blooms in April and May.

Meehania

Meehania cordata

Low perennial that creeps along the ground; showy light blue flowers in June and July; prefers rich, moist soils in partial to full shade.

Blue-eyed Mary

Collinsia verna

Annual wildflower 8-20 inches tall; weak stem so plants often partially fall over; attractive flowers with 2 white upper petals and 3 blue lower petals; moist, rich soil in partial shade to light sun; blooms April-June.

Butterfly-weed

Asclepias tuberosa

Perennial from a deep taproot, up to 30 inches tall; attractive orange "milkweed" flowers in June-August; moist or dry soils in full sunlight; very attractive to butterflies.

Gay Feathers, Blazing Star

Liatris spicata

Tall, erect perennial 20-40 inches tall; numerous long, narrow leaves along the stem; long (6-18 inch spike of fuzzy pinkish flowers that are very showy; moist to dry soils in full sunlight; blooms in August-September.

Joe Pye Weed, Queen-of-the-Meadow

Eupatorium fistulosum

Very tall perennial, 6-12 feet tall; leaves in attractive circles of 4-10 around the hollow stem; flowers in large showy rounded clumps at the top, pink, fuzzy, blooms August to September; wet to moist soil in full sunlight.

Showy Goldenrod

Solidago speciosa

Perennial 2-4 feet tall; large spike of bright yellow flowers at top of plant, blooms September and October; moist open sunlight.

Early Goldenrod

Solidago juncea

Perennial 2-3 feet tall that arches or reclines; large 6-10 inch long head of bright yellow flowers that blooms July to October; moist to dry soil in full sunlight.

Bigleaf Aster

Aster macrophyllis

Perennial with underground roots that form colonies, 10-20 inches tall; numerous large heart-shaped leaves; violet or blue flowers in showy heads; blooms August and September; moist to dry soil in partial to full sunlight.

Three-lobed Coneflower

Rudbeckia triloba

Perennial 2-4 feet tall; numerous attractive, 1-inch wide, bright yellow flowers with purple center; rich, moist soils along margins or in open sunlight; seeds eaten by birds and small mammals.

Jerusalem-artichoke

Helianthus tuberosus

Perennial 6-9 feet tall, usually in large clumps that originate from underground roots; rough hairy stems and leaves that are gray-green; golden-yellow flowers are 2-3 inches wide, numerous and blooms from September through October; tubers are edible; seeds eaten by mammals and birds; excellent nest sites and shelter.

Pearly Everlasting

Anaphalis margaritacea

Perennial herb covered with whitish, wooly hairs, 15-20 inches tall; pearly white flowers with brownish-yellow center, blooms August-September; moist to dry soil in full sunlight.

Wahoo, Burning Bush

Euonymus atropurpureus

Woody shrub 10-15 feet tall; rich soils; open or partial shade; flowers in early summer are a deep purple; smooth orange capsule splits to reveal bright red seeds; dark green leaves turn scarlet in fall.

Smooth Arrowwood

Viburnum recognitum

Woody shrub, 6-12 feet tall; white clusters of flowers from May to June; fruits a small cherry-like, bluish-black in late autumn and eaten by many mammals and birds; wet to moist soils in partial shade to full sunlight.

Rose Azalea, Mountain Rosebay

Rhododendron roseum

Woody shrub 6-15 feet tall, deciduous leaves are whitish underneath; colorful tubular bright pink flower clusters; wet to moist acid soils in full sunlight; blooms May and June.

Mountain Fetterbush

Pieris floribunda

Woody shrub 5-10 feet tall, evergreen leathery green, 2-4 inch leaves, showy white flowers in 3-5 inch spikes at end of branches, blooms in May; moist and dry soil in partial shade to full sun.

Mountain Laurel

Kalmia latifolia

Woody shrub 6-12 feet tall; evergreen with bright green, 2-4 inch leaves; showy flower clusters of pink and white; blooms May to July; moist to dry acid soil in light partial shade or full sunlight.

Wild Oats

Uniola latifolia

Perennial grass, 2-3 feet tall; leaves 1 inch wide and 6-8 inches long; seeds in flat heads resembling fish; excellent ornamental in moist, light shady areas.

Fraser's Sedge

Carex fraseri

Perennial grass-like plant; large attractive dark-green leaves that are evergreen (1-2 inches wide and 10-15 inches long); leaves with slight arch and tips flat on ground; showy white tufted flowers bloom in April and May; rich, moist and shady habitats.

Yellow Fawn Lily, Trout Lily

Erythronium americanum

Perennial lily with bright yellow bell-shaped flowers; blooms March-May; 2 leaves mottled with purplish-brown streaks; moist shady areas; excellent ornamental.

Turk's Cap Lily

Lilium superbum

Perennial; 5-8 feet tall with numerous large yellow or orange flowers with long recurved petals; very showy; excellent ornamental for wet openings; blooms in July and August.

Shooting Star

Dodecatheon meadia

Perennial wildflower; 8-12 inches tall, showy lilac, pink or white flowers on a single stalk in May and June, flowers with backwardly swept petals (similar to a shooting star); partial shade to open sunlight.

Black Haw

Vibrunum prunifolium

Woody shrub or small tree, 10-20 feet tall; white clusters of flowers from April to June; fruits are small plum-like, attractive and readily eaten by wildlife, green at first, then whitish, and finally bluish-black; moist to dry soils in full sunlight.

For additional information about native plants of West Virginia, contact the West Virginia Native Plant Society at P.O. Box 75403, Charleston, WV 25373-0403.