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14 Common Wildflowers in Alabama (Pictures)

There are literally hundreds of different types of wildflowers in Alabama, and they all develop and bloom at different times of the year. This might lead you to think about what kinds of wildflowers you could find in the state. 

From the colorful blooms of the cardinal flower to the delicate petals of the butterfly weed, let’s take a look at some of the magnificent flora found in the state and learn some facts to help identify them. 

14 Wildflowers in Alabama

Alabama’s state wildflower is the Oak-leaf Hydrangea, a stunning plant chosen for its showy clusters of white flowers and bold leaves that resemble oak leaves. This native shrub blooms from late spring into summer and is often found in the woods throughout Alabama.

Apart from the Oak-leaf Hydrangea, Alabama is home to a beautiful array of other wildflowers. In the spring, the landscapes are sprinkled with Sweet William and Trumpet Creepers. The summer brings along the vibrant Butterfly Weed and Mountain Mint.

With the fall season comes the golden glow of the Yellow Wingstem. Each season adds a new layer of color and charm to the already picturesque scenery of Alabama.

1. Atamasco Lily

Atamasco lily
Atamasco lily | image by Homer Edward Price via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Zephyranthes atamasco
  • Zone: 7 – 10
  • Where to see: Central to South Alabama
  • Season: Early Spring to summer

The Atamasco Lily is a native perennial plant you can find in central to southern Alabama. It thrives in moist forests, along streams, and in pastures and has linear, shiny green leaves and fragrant white funnel-shaped flowers that may have a pink tinge. 

The species is often called the Easter Lily and is used for decorations in rural churches. If you plan to grow Atamasco lily in your garden, you can transplant it or grow it from seed, with flowers appearing in approximately three years. 

2. Common Dandelion

Dandelion flower
Dandelion flower | image by Benjamin Esham via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale
  • Zone: 5 – 9 
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state except in West Central
  • Season: Spring to Fall

Dandelions are a type of perennial plant that was introduced to Alabama that you can see thriving in disturbed areas such as lawns, pastures, and roadsides. This flora has leaves with lobes arranged in a circular pattern at the base, and it produces single flower heads that have only ray flowers. People use these dandelions for medicine, and they eat their leaves in salads.

3. Bloodroot

Bloodroot flowers
Bloodroot flowers | image by Jason Hollinger via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Sanguinaria canadensis
  • Zone: 3 – 8
  • Where to see: Statewide 
  • Season: Spring to Summer

Bloodroot is a perennial herb with a single leaf and a stalked bloom that grows throughout Alabama in woodlands, ravines, and beside streams. This plant has round leaves with lobes, and its flowers have white or pink petals and yellow anthers. It produces red sap in its rhizome, which is toxic, and the seeds have an elaiosome that attracts ants for dispersal. 

4. Grassleaf Blazing Star

Grassleaf blazing star
Grassleaf blazing star | image by Lydia Fravel via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Liatris elegantula
  • Zone: 3 – 9
  • Where to see: Mostly from East Central to Southeast
  • Season: Summer to Fall

One of the wildflowers you may find throughout Alabama is the grassleaf blazing star. This species produces flower heads that are grouped in racemes and have purple disc flowers but no ray flowers at all. This can be cultivated from seeds and can flourish in sunny areas with well-draining soil, so you can even plant it in your garden.

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5. Woodland Black Eyed Susan

  • Scientific Name: Rudbeckia hirta L. var. hirta
  • Zone: 4 – 9
  • Where to see: Statewide
  • Season: Summer to Fall

Woodland Black-Eyed Susan, a native plant in Alabama, is an annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial that thrives in open woods, clearings, roadsides, and disturbed areas. It produces flower heads in clusters that are either flat-topped or branching with yellow-orange petals on the outside and purple petals on the inside. 

You can simply cultivate this species from seed because it adapts to different soil types and enjoys full to partial sun, and you may enjoy its blossoms throughout the summer. 

6. Bitterweed

Bitterweed | image by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Helenium amarum
  • Zone: 3 – 8
  • Where to see: Statewide 
  • Season: Summer to Fall

You may have seen bitterweed if you noticed yellow flowers in Alabama. You can find it growing naturally in the state, particularly in disturbed areas such as roadsides and fields. This plant has upright, branching stems and linear leaves, emitting a foul odor when damaged. You can grow them easily because they do well in poor soil and draw butterflies and other pollinators

7. Bird Foot Violet

Bird foot violet
Bird foot violet | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Viola pedata
  • Zone: 4 – 8
  • Where to see: Statewide but less in southern regions
  • Season: mid- to late-spring

Bird’s Foot Violet is among the flora you may discover in dry pine and hardwood forests. It grows in a rosette of dark green, evergreen leaves that are deeply divided into narrow lobes, with flowers that are solitary, large, and typically purple, but can be bi-colored or white. Bird’s Foot Violet grows well in dry, poor soils and is good for steep banks or rock gardens.

8. Common Morning Glory

Common morning glory
Common morning glory | image by candiru via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Ipomoea purpurea
  • Zone: 2 – 11
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state
  • Season: Summer to Fall

The Common Morning Glory is an annual vine that can be found throughout Alabama. It climbs by twining, and you can see them thriving in disturbed habitats such as roadsides and fields.

The leaves of this plant are broadly ovate, and its funnel-shaped blooms, which open in the morning, come in a variety of hues. You can easily find Common Morning Glory seeds, but it’s considered harmful weed and can spread aggressively in certain regions.

9. Cardinal Flower

Cardinal flower
Cardinal flower | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Lobelia cardinalis
  • Zone: 3-9
  • Where to see: Statewide 
  • Season: Summer to Fall

You can find the cardinal flower all over the state, especially in wet areas like swamps and along streams. They’re named after their bright red flowers, which have the same color as the vestments worn by Roman Catholic cardinals. Cardinal Flower is a beautiful plant that you can easily find at nurseries, and you can grow it from seed or by division. 

10. Butterflyweed

Butterflyweed flowers
Butterflyweed flowers | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Asclepias tuberosa
  • Zone: 3 – 9 
  • Where to see: Statewide
  • Season: Spring to Summer

Butterfly Weed is a well-known species of wildflowers that serves as a magnet for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. They can be found growing in soil that’s dry and in direct sunlight, however, it’s important to exercise caution when transplanting them. This plant is native to Alabama and may flourish in various settings across the state. 

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11. White Bushy Aster

  • Scientific Name: Symphyotrichum dumosum
  • Zone: 4 – 8 
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state
  • Season: Summer to Fall

The white bushy aster is a perennial blooming plant that can reach a height of 1 meter (3 feet 3 inches) and blooms from late summer to fall. It has tiny flower heads clustered in branching clusters. You’ll see them along wetland or non-wetland habitats because this flora has the ability to adapt to these environments.

12. Fire Pink

Fire pink flowers
Fire pink flowers | image by DM via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Silene virginica
  • Zone: 4 – 9 
  • Where to see: Statewide but less in southern regions
  • Season: Spring to Summer

The Fire pink belongs to the carnation family and is easily noticeable due to its bright scarlet or crimson flowers. In Alabama, it grows up to 24 inches tall and blooms from spring to summer. The plant has sticky-hairy glandular stems and leaves that act as flypaper to capture insects, and it can be found in lush woods, rocky slopes, and dry open woodlands. 

13. Common Evening Primrose

common evening primrose
Common evening primrose | image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Oenothera biennis 
  • Zone: 4 – 9 
  • Where to see: Statewide 
  • Season: Summer to Fall

Another flowering plant you can encounter in disturbed areas is the common evening primrose, which grows as a basal rosette the first year and elongates to bloom the following year. The flowers are grouped in a terminal spike-like inflorescence with green sepals, yellow petals, and many stamens. It’s pollinated by sphinx moths and provides Evening primrose oil, which is used to treat various skin ailments.

14. Oakleaf Hydrangea

oakleaf hydrangeas
Oakleaf hydrangea | image by aurora aura via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Hydrangea quercifolia
  • Zone: 5 – 9
  • Where to see: Statewide
  • Season: Late Spring to Summer

Oakleaf Hydrangea, Alabama’s state wildflower, is a showstopper with its clusters of bright white flowers and bold leaves that resemble oak leaves. This shrub is native to the state and is commonly found in woodlands.

During its bloom period from late spring to summer, the plant puts on a spectacular display, making it a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The Oakleaf Hydrangea isn’t just about aesthetics, though.

Its flowers are a rich source of nectar for butterflies and other pollinators, making it a crucial component of Alabama’s ecosystem.

Where to see wildflowers in Alabama

Alabama offers an abundance of locations for nature enthusiasts and wildflower lovers alike to immerse themselves in the state’s vibrant flora. From dense forests to serene parks, the opportunities to appreciate the colorful display are plentiful.

State Parks

One ideal place to enjoy Alabama’s wildflowers is the state’s park system. Oak Mountain State Park, for example, hosts a variety of wildflowers, including the state wildflower, Oak-leaf Hydrangea. As Alabama’s largest state park, it offers an impressive display throughout the year.

Similarly, the Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville is renowned for its spring wildflower bloom. Wander the park’s numerous trails to enjoy the spectacle of colors.

Botanical Gardens

For those who prefer a more curated experience, botanical gardens can provide a close-up look at Alabama’s diverse flora. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens, the state’s largest living museum, is home to numerous gardens dedicated to different types of plants, including local wildflowers.

  • Oak-leaf Hydrangea
  • Butterfly Weed
  • Mountain Mint
  • Yellow Wingstem
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Whether you’re an avid botanist or just enjoy the simple pleasure of a colorful wildflower bloom, these locations offer a slice of Alabama’s rich natural tapestry. The combination of native wildflowers, local ecosystems, and well-curated gardens make Alabama a must-visit for wildflower enthusiasts.