Native Plants

Native Plant List for Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia

This is a "starter" list of native plants for Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. It is intended for residential or commercial landscapers who want to create attractive and varied native landscapes.

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Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia Trees

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Soil Moisture Heights Region     Comments
Red Maple Acer rubrum F A-W 40-60' M,P,C Excellent fall color, red buds and twigs late winter
Sugar Maple Acer saccharum F-P A 50-75' M,P Excellent fall color, beautiful large shade tree
Yellow Birch Betula alleghaniensis F-P A 60-75' M Does best in cool soils, beautiful bark
Black Birch Betula lenta F-P A 40-55' M,P Golden yellow fall color
River Birch Betula nigra F A-W 40-70' M,P,C Modest yellow fall color; seeds attract birds
Pignut Hickory Carya glabra P-S D 50-60' M,P,C Golden yellow fall color; rapid growth rate
Shagbark Hickory Carya ovata F-P A 70-90' M,P,C Yellow to gold-brown fall color; squirrels eat nuts
Atlantic White Cedar Chamaecyparis thyoides P-S A-W 40-50' C Green to bluish-green needle-like foliage
Persimmon Diospyros virginiana F-S D-A 30-50' M,P,C Yellow/orange/mauve fall color; butterfly larval plant
American Beech Fagus grandifolia F-S A 50-80' M,P,C Golden brown fall color; nuts attract birds & squirrels
White Ash Fraxinus americana F-P A 60-80' M,P,C Yellow/maroon/purple fall color; butterfly larval plant
Green Ash Fraxinus pensylvanica F-P A 50-60' M,P,C Grows fast, tolerates salt; yellow fall color
Red Cedar (Eastern) Juniperus virginiana F-P D-A 30-40' M,P,C Good for screening; attracts birds
Sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua F-S A-W 60-95' M,P,C Brilliant ylw/orng/scarlet/prpl fall color; fruit litters lawn
Tulip-tree Liriodendron tulipifera F A 40-95' M,P,C Attracts hummingbirds/birds/squirrels; butterfly host
Black Gum Nyssa sylvatica F-P A 40-60' M,P,C Yellow/orange/red/purple fall color; fruit attracts birds
Shortleaf Pine Pinus echinata F-P D 70-90' M,P,C Dark blue-green needles; seeds eaten by birds
Loblolly Pine Pinus taeda F D-W 50-90' P,C Dark green needles; rapid growth; seeds for brids
Virginia Pine Pinus virginiana F D 15-40' M,P,C Foliage useful for Christmas decor., seeds for birds
Sycamore Platanus occidentalis F-P A-W 70-95' M,P,C Leaves drop all summer; white mottled bark
Wild Black Cherry Prunus serotina F-P D 50-80' M,P,C Messy; small, edible berries in summer; attracts birds
White Oak Quercus alba F-P D 60-90' M,P,C Brown/red/wine fall color; acorns for birds/squirrels
Swamp White Oak Quercus bicolor P-S W 50-60' M,P,C Yellow to red/purple fall color
Scarlet Oak Quercus coccinea F-P D 75' M,P,C Brilliant scarlet fall color; rapid growth
Southern Red Oak Quercus falcata P-S D-A 70-90' M,P,C Brown fall color; drought tolerant
Pin Oak Quercus palustris P-S A-W 60-80' M,P,C Russett/bronze/red fall color
Willow Oak Quercus phellos F-P A-W 60-80' P,C Yellow to yellow-brown fall color; less mesy oak variety
Northern Red Oak Quercus rubra F-P D-A 60-75' M,P,C Russett red to bright red fall color; grows rapidly
Post Oak Quercus stellata F D 40-50' M,P,C Variable fall color; non-showy to golden brown
Black Oak Quercus velutina P-S D 50-60' M,P,C Reddish brown fall color
Sassafras Sassafras albidum F-P D-A 30-60' M,P,C Yllw flowers (April) clear yllw/orng/pink/scarlet fall color
Canada Serviceberry Amelanchier canadensis F A-W 25' M,P,C Showy, white flowers (Mar-Jun); edible fruit (Jun-July)
Smooth Serviceberry Amelanchier laevis F-P D-A 40' M Showy, white flowers (Mar-Jun); edible fruit (Jun-July)
Paw Paw Asimina triloba P-S A 40' M,P,C Unique fruit resembles & tastes like banana
Redbud (Eastern) Cercis canadensis P-S A 20-30' M,P,C Rosy, pink flowers in early spring
Fringetree Chionanthus virginicus F-P A 12-20' M,P,C Wispy, creamy, white fragrant flowers in May
Silky Dogwood Cornus amomum P-S A-W 6-15' M,P,C Flat, white flower head mid-spring- not fragrant
Flowering Dogwood Cornus florida P-S D-A 25-30' M,P,C White flowers (spring); berries attract birds (fall)
Sweetbay Magnolia Magnolia viginiana P-S A-W 20-30' P,C 3" creamy, white lemon-scented flowers all summer
Smooth Sumac Rhus glabra F D-A 9-15' M,P,C Velvety red fruit on female plants;persist into winter
Black Willow Salix nigra F-P A-W 50+' M,P,C Host plant for butterflies

Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia Shrubs

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Soil Moisture Heights Region     Comments
Common Alder Alnus serrulata F-S W 15-20' M,P,C Yellow & orange fall color; fruit eaten by birds
Red Chokeberry Aronia arbutifolia P-S A-W 6-10' M,P,C Red berries load shrub; eaten by mamals & birds
Black Chokeberry Aronia melanocarpa F-P D-W 3-5' M,P,C Dependable showy orange/burgandy/purple fall color
Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis F-P W 6-12' M,P,C Creamy, white somewhat fragrant flowers (Jun-Aug)
Sweet Pepper-bush Clethra alnifolia P-S A-W 5-8' C Small white fragrant flowers(Jul-Aug); yellow leaves fall
Silky Dogwood Cornus amomum P-S A-W 6-10' M,P,C Creamy white flowers (May-Jun); no fall color
Black Huckleberry Gaylussacia baccata P-S D-A 1-3' M,P,C Edible fruit- ancestor of blueberries
Witch Hazel Hamamelis virginiana P-S D-A 15-30' M,P,C Fragrant creamy to bright yellow flowers in fall
Inkberry Ilex glabra P-S D-A 4-8' C Evergreen shrub; forms suckering colonies
Winterberry Ilex verticillata F-P A-W 6-15' M,P,C Bright-red berries into winter; attracts birds
Virginia Willow Itea virginica P-S W 3-6' C Spectacular & long-lasting yllw/orng/crimson fall color
Marsh Elder Iva fruitescens F A-W 8' C No fall color; inconspicuous flowers; evergreen
Mountain Laurel Kalmia latifolia P-S A 5-12' M,P,C Evergreen foliage; pink-white showy flowers (May-Jun)
Spicebush Lindera benzoin S A 6-12' M,P,C Yllw, spicily-fragrant flowers (late winter);red fruit in fall
Southern Wax Murtle Myrica cerifera P-S D-A 15-20' C Leaves are fragrant when crushed; olive green in color
Northern Bayberry Myrica pensylvanica F D-W 5-8' C Semi-evergreen; transplants well
Pinxter Flower Rhodo. periclymenoides P-S A-W 4-6' M,P,C Pale, pink flowers in late May
Swamp Azalea Rhododendron viscosum F-P A-W 2-8' M,P,C Very fragrant, sticky, white flowers in early summer
Fragrant Sumac Rhus aromatica F-P D 2-6' M,P Showy orange to reddish-purple fall color
Pasture Rose Rosa carolina F-P D-A 1-3' M,P,C 1" pink flowers (Jun-July)
Common Elderberry Sambucus canadensis F A-W 5-12' M,P,C Showy white flowers (July); edible fruit (Sep)
Lowbush Blueberry Vaccinium angustifolium F D 6"-2' M Twiggy shrub, wht flowers (May); red/bronze fall color
Highbush Blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum F-S D-W 6-12' M,P,C Excellent fall color; fruit edible for humans/wildlife
Arrowwood Viburnum Viburnum dentatum F-P D-A 5-9' M,P,C Flowers (May-June); small blue-black berries in fall
Possum-haw Viburnum Viburnum nudum P-S W 5-20' M,P,C Clusters of small, white flowers (May-July)
Black-haw Viburnum Viburnum prunifolium F-P A 12-15' M,P,C White flowers (spring); fruit attracts birds; edible

Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia Flowering Perennials

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Soil Moisture Heights Region     Comments
Heart-leaved Aster Aster cordifolius F-P M 1-4' M,P,C Blue-purple flowers (Aug-Nov)
Whte Wood Aster Aster divaricatus F-P D-A 1-3' M,P Clusters of white flowers late summer into fall
New England Aster Aster novae-angliae F-P D-A 3-7' M Bright lavender flowers with yellow centers late sum-fall
New York Aster Aster novi-belgii F-P A 3-4' C Flowers purple with yellow centers; bloom early fall
Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris F-P W 1-2' M,C 1-1.5" bright yellow flowers in spring and summer
White Turtlehead Chelone glabra P-S W 1-3' M,P,C White to pink 1-1.5" flowers summer into fall
Black Cohosh Cimicifuga racemosa P-S A 3-8' M,P,C Long slender clusters of white flowers in summer, fall
Dutchman's Breeches Dicentra cucullaria S A 5-12" M,P White and yellow pantaloon-like flowers in spring
Shooting Star Dodecatheon meadia F-P D 1-2' M 1" flower with 5 lilac, pink, white petals facing backwards
Mistflower Eupatorium coelestinum F-S A 1' M,P,C Attractive lavender flowers bloom in August
Common Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum F-P A-W 2-4' M,P,C Flat-top clusters of small white flowers in the fall
Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum F-S A 1-2' M,P 1" lavender-purple flowers in spring and summer
Sharp-lobed Hepatica Hepatica acutiloba S D-A 4-9" M White, pink, blue, or purple solitary flowers in spring
Round-lobed Hepatica Hepatica americana S D-A 4-6" M,P,C White, pink, blue, or purple solitary flowers in spring
Alumroot Heuchera americana S D 1-3' M,P,C Grn-purple bell-shped flwrs on leaflss stalk in spring
Eastern Rosemallow Hibisicus moscheutos F W 4-7' M,P,C 4-6" white-pink flowers, purplish-crimson base sum, fall
Dwarf Crested Iris Iris cristata P-S A 4-8" M,P Pale lavender-blue crested flowers Apr-May
Virginia Blue Flag Iris virginica F-P W 1-2' P,C Blue sepals curve down; yellow base blooms late spring
Cardinal Flower Lobelia cardinalis F-P W 3-5' M,P,C Terminal cluster of bright-red flowers 1.5" long in fall
Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica P-S W 1-3' M,P,C Elongated cluster of pale drk- blue flwrs summer/fall
Lupine Lupinus perennis F-P D 2-3' M,P,C Spikes of lavender flowers in early summer
Virginia Bluebells Mertensia virginica P-S A-W 1-2' M,P Nodding, trumpet-like 1" lt. blue flwrs spring/summer
Monkeyflower Mimulus ringens F W 2-5' M,P,C 1" violet flowers in summer and fall
Arrow Alum Peltandra virginica F-P D 1-2' P,C Spathe in May to July
Moss Phlox Phlox subulata F D 4-6" M,P Trumpet-shaped red, purple, violet, pink, white flwrs
Mayapple Podophyllum peltatum P-S A 1-1.5' M,P,C 1" sol. white bloom at fork of 2 leaf stalks in spring
Solomon's Seal Polygonatum biflorum P-S D-A 2-3' M,P,C .5" bell-shaped green-white flwrs hang from leaf axils
Pickerel Weed Pontederia cordata F W 3-6" P,C Spikes of bright lavender or blue flowers summer - fall
Bowman's Root Porteranthus trifoliatus P-S A 2-3' M,P Narrow white-pink scraggly 5-petal flwrs in early summer
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta F-P D-A 2-3' M,P,C 2-4" flwr head with 10-20 bright yellow petals, sum-fall
Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis S A 6-12" M,P,C 2" white flowers with yellow centers
Lizard's Tail Saururus cernuus F-P W 1-3' M,P,C Slender raceme of small shite flowers that droops at tip
Early Saxifrage Saxifraga virginiensis F-S D-A 4-10" M,P,C 5-petaled white flowers with 10 bright yellow stamen
Wild Stonecrop Sedum ternatum P-S A 4-5" M,P,C Flowers have 4-5 white petals with sharp points in spring
Fire Pink Silene virginica F-P D-A 1-1.5' M,P 1" red flowers with 5 spreading petals, 2-pronged at tip
Roughstem Goldenrod Solidago rugosa F-P A 2-5' M,P,C Tiny flowers like strings of yellow beads (Aug-Oct)
Seaside Goldenrod Solidago sempervirens F-P A 1-8' C 3" clusters bright yellow flwrs from clusters, sum-fall
Clumping Foamflower Tiarella cordifolia S A 6-12" M,P Narrow cluster of small white flowers
White Trillium Trillium grandiflorum S A .5-2' M,P 2-2.5" white-pink flwr on eraect stalk with broad petals
Blue Vervain Verbena hastata F-P A-W 5' M,P Small flowers crowded on terminal spikes (Jun-Oct)
New York Ironweed Vernonia noveboracensis F-P W 4-6' M,P,C Purple flowers attract butterflies in summer
Marsh Blue Violet Viola cucullata F-P W 6-12" M,P,C Violet flowers with spurred lower tip blooms spring-summer

Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia Ferns and Vines

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Soil Moisture Heights Region     Comments
Maidenhair Fern Adiantum pedatum S M 18-36" M,P,C Tiny fan-shaped fronds held on delicate black stems
Sensitive Fern Onoclea sensibilis F-P A-W 12-24" M,P,C Deeply pinnate leaves; poisonous to livestock
Cinnamon Fern Osmunda cinnamomea F-P A-W 24-48" M,P,C Circular cluster of arching fronds; cinnamon fronds
Royal Fern Osmunda regalis P A-W 2-6' M,P,C Tiny fan-shaped fronds held on delicate black stems
Christmas Fern Polystich. acrostichoides S A 12-36" M,P,C Deeply pinnate leaves; poisonous to livestock
Virginia Creeper Parthenoc. quinquefolia F-P A 30-50' M,P,C Excellent red fall color; attracts birds; salt tolerant
Wisteria frutescens Wisteria frutescens F-P A-W 30' C Scented mauve flowers spotted with yellow

Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia Grasses

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Soil Moisture Heights Region     Comments
Big Bluestem Andropogon gerardii F-P D-A 4-7' M,P Warm-season;grn/bl-grn leaves;orange/red in fall
Broomsedge Andropogon verginicus F-P D-W 4' M,P,C Grn leaves & stem turn dark red/purple/orange in fall
Bluejoint Reedgrass Calamagro. canadensis F-P A-W 2-4' M Cool season grass; sod-forming
Long Hair Sedge Carex crinita F-P A-W 2-5' M,P,C Seeds are eaten by waterfowl
Sallow Sedge Carex lurida F-P A-W 1-3' M,P,C Green sedge; low maintenance
Pennsylvania Sedge Carex pensylvanica F-S D-A 1' M,P,C Greens early in spring; fine-leaved clumping perennial
Tussock Sedge Carex stricta F-P A-W 2-3' M,P,C Evergreen; blue flowers; best color in full sun
Poverty Oatgrass Danthonia spicata F-S D-A 30" M,P,C Short-leaved, light green, tufted perennial
Virginia Wildrye Elymus virginicus P-S D-A 3' M,P,C Distinguished by relatively stiff, erect spikes
Canada Rush Juncus canadensis F-P A-W 3' P,C Rapid growth; green foliaged flower
Soft Rush Juncus effusus F-P A-W 3' M,P,C Bright green cylindrical stems have no nodes or leaves
Rice Cutgrass Leersia oryzoides F-P A-W 5' M,P,C Saw-toothed leaf edges can readily tear the flesh
Coastal Panic Grass Panicum amarum F D 1-2' C Clumping grass; grws well in sand good for beachfront
Switch Grass Panicum virgatum F-P D-W 4-6' M,P,C Bluish cast in summer; reddish fall color
Little Bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium F-P D-A 2-4' M,P,C Brt. grn-light blue leaves turn tan/copper/orange/red
Woolgrass Bulrush Scirpus cyperinus F-P A-W 6' M,P,C Inflorescense wooly-looking when mature
Indian Grass Sorghastrum nutans F-P D-A 1-2' M,P,C Late sum. silky-golden flowering plumes above foliage
American Burreed Sparganium americanum F-P W 2' M,P,C Leaf blades thick, strap-like; spherical bur-like flowers
Gama Grass Tripsacum dactyloides F-P A-W 5' M,P,C Rich green foliage; distinctive flowers in spring
Broad-leaved Cattail Typha latifolia F A-W 6-10' M,P,C Cylindrical flower mid-late sum.; fresh/dried arrangements

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