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20 Types of Wildflowers (With Pictures)

From the windswept prairies to the towering peaks of the Rockies, the United States is a treasure trove of botanical wonders. This vast and varied land is home to many different types of wildflowers, each of which contributes its own unique shades of vivid colors, captivating scents, and interesting stories to the scenery. 

This article will take you on a journey to discover and explore the beautiful wildflowers that are native to the North American countryside. 

20 Types of wildflowers

1. Windflower

Piper’s anemone flower
Piper’s anemone flower | image by Andrey Zharkikh via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Anemone piperi
  • Zone: 5 to 9

Windflowers, which are native to North America, thrive in shaded forests and have delicate white or pale pink petals. It’s only found in five northwest states and British Columbia. Windflowers got their name from their graceful movement in the breeze, which resembled a gentle dance.

2. Black-Eyed Susan

Black eyed susan flowers
The black eyed susan flowers | image by John Wisniewski via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Rudbeckia hirta
  • Zone: 3 to 9 

Black-Eyed Susans are another flower you can find in America that grows well in fields and along roadsides that receive plenty of sunlight. This species is commonly found throughout the United States, with the exception of Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, and Nevada. These beautiful flowers have golden-yellow petals surrounding a dark brown center cone and can tolerate drought. 

3. Cardinal Flower

Cardinal flower
A cardinal flower | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Lobelia cardinalis
  • Zone: 3 to 9

Cardinal Flowers prefer moist habitats like streambanks and wetlands, and are commonly found in the eastern and central regions. This wildflower has a stunning display of bright red tubular blossoms and grows tall spikes with clustered flowers and lance-shaped leaves. These attractive plants are important sources of nectar for hummingbirds, which help in crucial pollination processes.

4. Butterflyweed

Butterflyweed flowers
The butterflyweed flowers | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Asclepias tuberosa
  • Zone: 3 to 9

Butterflyweed is a type of drought-tolerant perennial that has bright orange clusters of flowers. You may see these wildflowers in the eastern and central regions of the United States and it grows well in dry, open environments such as prairies and open woodlands.

The plant has narrow, lance-shaped leaves and is an important food source for Monarch caterpillars. Its nectar also attracts different pollinators, which helps to support biodiversity. 

5. Common Self-Heal

Heal-all flowers
Heal-all flowers | image by Andrew Cannizzaro via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Prunella vulgaris
  • Zone: 4 to 8

Common Self-Heal is widespread across the US with temperate climates, and grows in diverse habitats such as grasslands, meadows, and woodland edges. The wildflower has dense spikes of tubular flowers that are either bluish or violet in color, giving it a charming appearance. In addition to being used for ornamental purposes, it’s also recognized as a traditional herbal medicine. 

6. Common Yarrow

Common yarrow flowers
The common yarrow flowers | image by Shiva Shenoy via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium
  • Zone: 3 to 9

Common yarrow is a stunning flower that you’ll find growing in a range of environments, including meadows and by the sides of roads. You might recognize this plant by its delicate, feather-like leaves and clusters of small, white or pastel-colored flowers.

However, it was also historically valued for its medicinal benefits, particularly in aiding with digestive issues. This tough plant can be found all over the United States and helps to enhance the natural beauty of the surrounding environment.

7. Carolina Crane’s-bill

Carolina crane’s bill-flowers
The carolina crane’s bill-flowers | image by sonnia hill via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Geranium carolinianum
  • Zone: 8 to 10

Carolina Crane’s-bill gets its name from the shape of its fruit capsules, which resemble the beak of a crane. It creates a charming display by displaying petals that are either pink or lavender and have patterns of veins on them. They tend to prefer living in dry open woodland areas, particularly those that have gravelly, sandy, or hardpan clay soil. 

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8. Yellow Monkeyflower

Yellow monkeyflower
A yellow monkeyflower | image by brewbooks via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Mimulus guttatus
  • Zone: 6 to 9

Yellow Monkeyflower is a charming wildflower that captivates with its cheerful, bright yellow, trumpet-shaped blooms that resemble a grinning monkey. This plant has oval-shaped leaves and is commonly found thriving along streambanks, wet meadows, and damp woodlands in the western region of North America. This delightful wildflower is also a type of annual herb that’s native to California

9. Rose Vervain

Rose vervain flowers
Rose vervain flowers | image by Carl Lewis via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Glandularia canadensis
  • Zone: 5 to 9

One of the wildflowers you can find in the US is called rose vervain, and it can be recognized by its clusters of tubular, pink to purple flowers and slender, toothed leaves. You may find this plant in different states, spanning from Illinois to central Texas, and from Colorado to Virginia and Florida. It thrives in open woodlands, meadows, and prairies, adding to the beauty of each region’s flora.

10. Autumn Sneezeweed

Autumn sneezeweed flowers
The autumn sneezeweed flowers | image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Helenium autumnale
  • Zone: 3 to 8

Autumn Sneezeweed got its name from its historical use as snuff, which was known to cause sneezing. These flowers have a daisy-like appearance with a raised central disk and are bright yellow in color. It can survive in zones 3 to 8, and it thrives in wetlands, meadows, and along waterways all over the US.

11. Common sunflower

Common sunflowers
Common sunflowers | image by San Bernardino Nat’l Forest via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus
  • Zone: 2 to 11

The Common Sunflower is a well-known wildflower that you may see throughout the United States. It’s often associated with happiness and warmth and has a captivating presence due to the large, radiant yellow petals that surround a dark brown central disk.

This plant can be found thriving in open fields, roadsides, and prairies throughout the US. It’s also drought-tolerant and also serves as a valuable food source for wildlife by providing seeds.

12. Fireweed

Fireweed flowers
The fireweed flowers | image by Zeynel Cebeci via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Scientific Name: Chamerion angustifolium
  • Zone: 3 to 7

Fireweed is renowned for its amazing capacity to colonize and restore areas destroyed by wildfires. This stunning plant showcases tall, spike-like racemes adorned with vibrant pink to rose-purple flowers and lance-shaped leaves, creating a vivid and eye-catching display.

Fireweed is a plant that can be found in meadows and forests throughout North America. It helps pollinators and is a food source for some types of caterpillars. 

13. Bachelor’s buttons

Cornflower or bachelor’s buttons
Cornflower or bachelor’s buttons | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Centaurea cyanus
  • Zone: 2 to 11

If you come across some wildflowers with fringed petals in shades of blue, pink, or white, along with slender, lance-shaped leaves, it’s likely that you’ve stumbled upon a bachelor’s buttons flower. You can see this plant throughout the United States, and it tends to do well in dry, disturbed areas like roadsides and fields. These flowers were named after an old custom in which men wore these flowers in their suit buttonholes.

14. Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflowers
Purple coneflowers | image by Jakub T. Jankiewicz via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Echinacea purpurea
  • Zone: 3 to 9

One of the flowers that thrive in eastern and central North America’s moist prairies, meadows, and open woods is the purple coneflower. It’s well known for its herbal benefits for treating inflammatory and respiratory conditions. This hardy perennial flower has pink-hued petals that encircle centers that are distinctively shaped like spiny cones. 

15. Late Goldenrod

Late goldenrod flowers
Late goldenrod flowers | image by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Solidago altissima
  • Zone: 2 to 8
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The Late Goldenrod is a flower that blooms mid to late August and typically stays around until early October. It has dense, golden-yellow flower clusters that grow on arching stems and it thrives in open fields, meadows, along railroads, and woodland edges throughout the US. Native Americans called this resilient perennial plant the “Sun Medicine” due to its vibrant hue and healing properties. 

16. Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke flowers
Jerusalem artichoke flowers | image by xulescu_g via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Helianthus tuberosus
  • Zone: 3 to 8

The Jerusalem Artichoke is appreciated not only for its beautiful flowers but also for its nutritional value as a root vegetable. This flower has cheerful, bright yellow, daisy-like flowers and large, rough leaves that add a pop of color to the natural landscapes. Their tubers are also edible and contain high amounts of iron, potassium, and vitamin B1, which help support muscles and nerves.  

17. Joe-Pye Weed

Joe-pye weed
Joe-pye weed | image by Wendell Smith via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Eutrochium fistulosum
  • Zone: 4 to 8

The Joe-Pye Weed is a type of wildflower that was named after a Native American healer who is said to have used it for medicinal purposes. These plants were commonly used to treat fevers and kidney stones.

They can be recognized by their small tubular flowers that are either purple or have purple spots. The plant also features sturdy stems and leaves that may grow up to a foot in length.

18. Virginia bluebells

Virginia bluebell flowers
A virginia bluebell flowers | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Mertensia virginica
  • Zone: 3 to 8

Virginia Bluebells, known for their delicate, trumpet-shaped blooms in blue shades, are among the wildflowers that you can find in native landscapes. These charming perennials, with their oval, gray-green leaves, thrive in moist woodlands and along riverbanks, producing a captivating springtime display. This plant blooms in the middle of spring and has a pleasant scent. 

19. Common milkweed

Common milkweed flowers
Common milkweed flowers | image by Lydia Fravel via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Asclepias syriaca
  • Zone: 4 to 9

The Common Milkweed is an important wildflower that plays a crucial role in the life cycle of Monarch butterflies. This resilient perennial flourishes in fields, meadows, and by the sides of roads.

It has clusters of fragrant pinkish or lavender flowers as well as large, oval leaves. Depending on the environment, this perennial can reach heights of 2 to 6 feet. 

20. Indian Paintbrush

Indian paintbrush flower
Indian paintbrush flower | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Castilleja coccinea
  • Zone: 6 to 11

The Indian Paintbrush gets its name from its bright clusters of red or orange flowers that resemble a paintbrush dipped in color, just like an artist’s brush. It thrives in various habitats throughout the US, such as meadows, grasslands, and open woodlands, usually in areas with sandy and slightly alkaline to subacid soils. The flower is also recognized as a symbol of Wyoming and has been designated as the official state flower.