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.

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