Native Plants

Native Plant List for New York, Pennsylvania, and Northern New Jersey

This is a "starter" list of native plants for New York, Pennsylvania, and Northern New Jersey. It is intended for residential or commercial landscapers who want to create attractive and varied native landscapes.

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New York, Pennsylvania, and Northern New Jersey Trees

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height Comments
Box Elder Acer negundo S W-D 30-50' Migrating birds eat seeds; male and female plants
Red Maple Acer rubrum F-P W-D 40-75' Brilliant orange to crimson and scarlet in the fall
Silver Maple Acer saccharinum F-P A-W 60-75' Lacy-like leaves with a white bloom on the underside
Sugar Maple Acer saccharum S A 80' Fantastic orange fall color; classic maple syrup
Black or Sweet Birch Betula lenta F-P A 60' Deciduous tree; wintergreen aroma from leaves, twigs
River Birch Betula nigra F A-W 40-70' Modest yellow color; seeds attract birds
Gray Birch Betula populifolia F-P A 30' White bark; yellow fall color
Hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana F-S A-W 20-30' Crisp, green summer foliage turns red-orange in fall
Hackberry Celtis occidentalis F-P W-D 50-75' Yellow fall color; interesting warts on trunk in winter
Eastern Redbud Cercis canadensis F D 15-25' Pea-like blooms in spring along twigs and branches
Fringetree Chionanthus virginicus F-P A 20' Show-stopping creamy white flowers in April-May
Flowering Dogwood Cornus Florida S A 25-30' Large white flowers in spring; loved by wildlife
American Beech Fagus grandifolia S A 50-75' Dark green summer foliage turns to golden
White Ash Fraxinus americana F-P A 60-80' Yellow, maroon, purple fall color; butterfly larval plant
Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica F-P A 50-60' Grows fast; tolerates salt; yellow fall color
Eastern Red Cedar Juniperus virginiana F-P D-A 30-40' Good for screening; attracts birds
Sweet Gum Liquidambar styraciflua F-S A-W 60-100' Yellow, orange, scarlet, purple in fall; fruit litter prob.
Tulip Poplar Liriodendron tulipifera F A 40-100' Attracts hummingbirds, squirrels; butterfly host plant
Sweetbay Magnolia Magnolia virginiana P-S A-W 20-30' 3" creamy white lemon-scented flowers all summer
Black Gum Nyssa sylvatica F-P A 40-60' Yellow, orange, red, purple in fall; fruit attracts birds
American Sycamore Plantanus occidentalis F-P A-W 70-100' Leaves drop all summer; white mottled bark
Eastern Cottonwood Populus deltoides F-P A-W 40-50' Short-lived; messy tree; modest fall color
Wild Plum Prunus americana F-P W-D 12-20' Nice flowers in spring; 1" red-yellow fruit; low upkeep
Black Cherry Prunus serotina F-P A-W 50-80' Prized wood; edible fruit; leaves, twigs, bark poison
White Oak Quercus alba F-P D 60-100' Brown, red, wine fall color; birds, squirrels eat acorns
Swamp White Oak Quercus bicolor P-S W 50-60' Yellow to red-purple fall color
Scarlet Oak Quercus coccinea F-P D 75' Brilliant scarlet fall color; rapid growth
Pin Oak Quercus palustris P-S A-W 60-80' Russett, bronze, red fall color
Chestnut Oak Quercus prinus P A 60-70' Useful lumber; acorns feed much wildlife
Red Oak Quercus rubra F-P D-A 60-75' Russet red to bright red fall color; grows rapidly
Black Oak Quercus velutina P-S D 50-60' Reddish brown fall color
Black Willow Salix nigra F-P A-W 50+' Host plant for butterflies
Sassafras Sassafras albidum F-P D-A 30-60' Yellow flwrs (Apr); yellow, orange, pink, scarlet in fall
Basswood Tilia americana P-S A-W 60-80' Wood used for carving; nectar makes honey; seeds attract wildlife

New York, Pennsylvania, and Northern New Jersey Shrubs

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height Comments
Speckled Alder Alnus rugosa F-P A-W 15-25' Provides wildlife habitat
Smooth Alder Alnus serrulata F-S W 15-20' Yellow and orange fall colors; fruit eaten by birds
Shadbush Serviceberry Amelanchier canadensis F D 1-20' White flowers bloom in early spring; edible fruit
Allegheny Serviceberry Amelanchier laevis F-P D-A 40' Showy white flowers (Mar-June); edible fruit (Jun-Jul)
Red Chokeberry Aronia arbutifolia F-P W-D 5-10' Bright red fruit and scarlet to pinkish-orange fall color
Black Chokeberry Aronia melanocarpa F-P D-W 3-5' Dependable showy orange, burgendy, purple fall color
Sea Myrtle Baccharis halimifolia F-P W 3-10' White flower heads; attractive fall foliage
Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis F-P W-A 3-8' Blooms attract butterflies; emergent in shallow water
Sweet Pepperbush Clethra alnifolia F-P W-A 2-4' Ivory white fragrant blooms in summer
Silky Dogwood Cornus amomum P-S A-W 6-15' Flat white flower head mid-spring -- not fragrant
Gray Dogwood Cornus racemosa F-S W-D 8-15' 2" dia. hemispherical inflorescences for 1 wk, May-Jun
Red-osier Dogwood Cornus sericea F-P W-A 3-10' White flowers in spring; twigs, berries turn red in fall
Witchhazel Hamamelis virginiana F-S A-D 8-20' Golden yellow flowers in fall
Winterberry Ilex verticillata F-P W-A 6-10' Greenish white flowers bloom in spring
Virginia Sweetspire Itea virginica F-P W-D 3-6' White blooms in early summer; red, orange in fall
Marsh Elder Iva frutescens F A-W 8' Evergreen; inconspicuous flowers
Spicebush Lindera benzoin P-S W-A 8-15' Yellow blooms in early spring
Wax Myrtle Myrica cerifera P-S D-A 15-20' Olive-green leaves, fragrant when crushed
Northern Bayberry Myrica pensylvanica F D-W 5-8' Semi-evergreen; transplants well
Common Ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius F-P A-D 6' Thicket-forming; responds to pruning; purple foliage
Beach Plum Prunus maritima F A-D 10' White spring blossoms; fruit used to make preserves
Fragrant Sumac Rhus aromatica F-P D 2-6' Showy orange to reddish-purple fall color
Dwarf-winged Sumac Rhus copalina F-P D 20-30' Red fall color; winter food for birds and wildlife
Smooth Sumac Rhus glabra F D-A 9-15' Velvety red fruit on female plants lasts into winter
Staghorn Sumac Rhus typhina F D 9-15' Vibrant red and gold autumn foliage
Swamp Rose Rosa palustris F W-A 4-6' Frag. flowers (summer); red hips (winter); fall color
Silky Willow Salix sericea F-P W-A 12' Provides good wildlife habitat
Elderberry Sambucus canadensis F-P W-A 5-10' Pinnate leaves; blooms in early summer
Arrowwood Viburnum dentatum F-P W-A 6-12' Creamy-white blooms in spring
Nannyberry Viburnum lentago F-P A-D 18' White flat-topped inflorescenses 5" diameter in May
Black Haw Viburnum prunifolium F-P A-D 8-15' Creamy-white flowers in spring
Cranberry Bush Viburnum trilobum F-P A-W 8-12' White flowers; bright red edible bird-attracting fruit

New York, Pennsylvania, and Northern New Jersey Perennials - Sun

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height Comments
Blue Star Amsonia montana F-P A 2' Light blue flowers in May
Canada Anemone Anemone canadensis F-P A 12-18" Strong growing plant produces single white blooms
Wild Columbine Aquilegia canadensis P-S A-D 1-2.5' Unique red and yellow flowers attract hummingbirds
Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa F A-D 2-3' Brilliant orange flowers; butterfly host plant
New England Aster Aster novi-angliae F A 3-7' Bright lavender flwrs with yellow ctrs late summer-fall
False Indigo Baptisia australis F A-D 3-6' Blue spikes of pea-shaped flowers (May-Jun)
Boltonia Boltonia asteroides F A-D 4' Tall plant with white or pink flowers, resemble asters
Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris F W 1-2' 1-1.5" bright yellow flowers in spring and summer
River Oats Chasmanthium latifolium F-S A 48" Grass turns copper in fall; bamboo-like appearance
White Turtlehead Chelone glabra F-P A 1-3' White to pink 1-1.5" flowers summer into fall
Pink Turtlehead Chelone lyonii F-P A-W 24-30" Showy pink flowers July through September
Tickseed Coreopsis lanceolata F-P D-A 12-36" Showy deep yellow flowers on tall stems in May, June
Pale Coneflower Echinacea pallida F-P D-A 24-36" Large daisy-like flowers with drooping purp-pink petals
Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea F A-D 3' Daisy-like flowers with rose-purple rays
Joe-Pye-Weed Eupatorium spp. F-P A 6-8' Pink, purple or white flowers
Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum F-S A 1-2' 1" lavender-purple flowers in spring and summer
Swamp Sunflower Helianthus angustifolius F A 6' Yellow flwrs in late summer, fall; more blooms in June
Alumroot Heuchera americana F-P A 1-3' Grn-purp bell-shaped flwrs on leafless stalk (spr-sum)
Swamp Rose Mallow Hibiscus moscheutos F A 4-7' 4-6" wht-pink flwrs with purp-crimson base (sum-fall)
Blue Flag Iris Iris versicolor F-P A 2-3' 3-4" blue flowers with yellow and white markings
Blazing Star Liatris spp. F-P A-D 1-3' Spike-like flowers late summer and early fall
Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica F-P A-W 1-3' Elongated cluster of pale-dark blue flwrs late sum-fall
Monarda Monarda spp. F-P A 3-4' Bloom July-August and beyond; attracts hummingbirds
Switch Grass Panicum virgatum F A 48-64" Warm season grass; sod forming; red-tinged foliage
Beardtongue Penstemon spp. F D 2-4' Attracts hummingbirds
Summer Phlox Phlox paniculata F-P A-W 24-48" Attractive fall flowers attract butterflies
Brown-eyed Susan Rudbeckia fulgida F-P A 5' Good, lasting cut flowers
Goldenrod Solidago spp. F A-D 3-7' Common yellow wildflower

New York, Pennsylvania, and Northern New Jersey Perennials - Shade

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height Comments
Maidenhair Fern Adiantum pedatum P-S A 18-36" Airy fan-shaped bl-grn fronds on delicate black stems
Wild Columbine Aquilegia canadensis P-S A-D 1-2.5' Unique red and yellow flowers attract hummingbirds
Spikenard Aralia racemosa P-S A-W 3-5' Bushy plant; sm. wht flwrs produce red berries in fall
Jack-in-the-Pulpit Arisaema triphyllum P-S A 12+" Spathe appears Mar-May; red berries late summer-fall
Goat's Beard Aruncus dioicus P-S A 4-6' 6-10" plumes of small cream-colored flowers
Wild Ginger Asarum canadensis P-S A 6" Evergreen ground cover; heart-shaped glossy leaves
Blue Wood Aster Aster cordifolius P-S A-D 1-3' Blue flowers in September-October
Green-and-Gold Chrysogonum virginianum F-P A 6-12" Yellow blooms early spring through summer
River Oats Chasmanthium latifolium F-S A 48" Grass turns copper in fall; bamboo-like appearance
Black Cohosh Cimicifuga racemosa P-S A 3-8' Long slender candle-like clusters of wht flwrs; sum-fall
Spring Beauty Claytonia virginica S-F A 3-5' Pink-white flowers Feb-May; plant dormant after
Dutchman's Breeches Dicentra cucullaria S A 1' White-yellow flowers resemble pantaloons in spring
Fringed Bleeding Heart Dicentra eximia F-P A 12-18" Attractive foliage and pink and white flowers
Shield Fern Dryopteris spp. P-S A 18-24" Varied genera of ferns, some with interesting fall color
Yellow Trout Lily Erythronium americanum P-S A 3-6" Large, six-petalled yellow flowers
Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum F-S A 1-2' 1" lavender-purple flowers in spring and summer
Alumroot Heuchera americana S D 1-3' Green-purple flwrs bloom on leafless stalks spr-sum
Cardinal flower Lobelia cardinalis F-P W 3-5' Terminal clusters of bright red flowers 1.5" long in fall
Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica P-S W 1-3' Elongated cluster of pale-dark blue flwrs late sum-fall
Virginia Bluebells Mertensia virginica P-S A-W 1-2' Nodding, trumpet-like 1" blue flwrs spring, early sum.
Cinnamon Fern Osmunda cinnamonea P-S A-W 24-48" Circ. cluster of arching fronds, reddish fertle fronds
Royal Fern Osmunda regalis P A-W 2-6' Bipannate blade; pinnae resemble locust tree leaves
Allegheny spruge Pachysandra procumbens P-S A 9-12" Spikes of pink, white flwrs (spr); dark foliage in shade
Creeping Phlox Phlox stolonifera P-S A 6" White, pink, purple-violet trumpet-shaped flwrs (spr)
Jacob's Ladder Polemonium reptans P-S A 1' Terminal clusters of light blue bell-shaped flwrs (Apr)
Bloodroot Sanguineria canadensis S A 6-10" 2" white flwrs with yellow centers; roots have red sap
Celandine Poppy Stylophorum diphyllum S A 18" 2" wide lemon-yellow flowers bloom spring, early sum
Foamflower Tiarella cordifolia P-S A 6-12" Evergreen ground cover; feathery flowers Apr-June
Trillium Trillium spp. S A 6"-1' White or pink flowers have three broad petals
Sun Exposure Soil Moisture Drought Tolerance
F = Full Sun W = Wet E = Excellent
P = Part Sun A = Average G = Good
S = Shade D = Dry M = Moderate
P = Poor

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