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.

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