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14 Wildflowers in Michigan (with Photos)

Michigan is a diverse state that is nestled in the Great Lakes region, which means it offers a wide array of habitats for both flora and fauna. It is these Great Lakes that play a vital role in the state’s climate, which is directly connected to the variety of wildlife and wildflowers in Michigan.

14 Wildflowers in Michigan

The state wildflower of Michigan is the Dwarf Lake Iris. It was designated as the state wildflower in 1998. The Dwarf Lake Iris is a small, delicate flower that grows only in the Great Lakes region of the United States, including Michigan. It is a protected species in Michigan and is listed as federally threatened. The flower has a deep blue-violet color and blooms in May and June. It can be found in sandy or rocky soils along the shores of the Great Lakes.

Now let’s look at 14 more common Michigan wildflowers.

1. Butterfly Weed

Butterflyweed flowers
Butterflyweed flowers | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Asclepias tuberosa

The Butterfly Weed is a member of the milkweed family that produces clusters of bright orange, yellow, or red blooms. These blooms appear throughout the summer and attract butterflies and other pollinators. In fact, the Butterfly Weed is a host plant for various butterfly and moth larvae.

2. Black-Eyed Susan

Black-eyed susan wild flowers
Black-eyed susan wild flowers

Scientific Name: Rudbeckia hirta

The Black-Eyed Susan is arguably the most iconic wildflower found throughout the United States, including Michigan. This plant produces daisy-like yellow petals with a dark brown or black center. Black-Eyed Susan’s have a long bloom, appearing in early summer and lasting until fall when the first frost occurs.

3. False Sunflower

False sunflower
False sunflower | image by Joe Passe via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Heliopsis helianthoides

The False Sunflower is another wildflower in the daisy family. As its name suggests, these plants look similar to sunflowers but are not actually sunflowers. They do produce bright yellow blooms with a yellowish brown middle and can bloom from summer to fall.

False Sunflower is native to Michigan, and is found growing along roadsides, as well as in woodland areas.

4. Hoary Vervain

Hoary vervain flowers
Hoary vervain flowers | image by FordRanger via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Verbena stricta

The Hoary Vervain is an excellent wildflower for dry areas. This plant can reach up to 4 feet tall, producing spikes of white, pink, or purple tubular-shaped blooms from spring all the way to fall. This plant is drought-tolerant and thrives in full sun.

5. Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Jack-in-the-pulpit | image by Danielle Brigida via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Arisaema triphyllum

The Jack-in-the-Pulpit may be one of the most unusual-looking wildflowers in Michigan. This plant is often described as having a pitcher-shape. It produces a green or purple hooded spathe that covers its small purple flowered spadix.

The Jack-in-the-Pulpit thrives in shaded woodlands.

6. Mayapple

Mayapple flower
Mayapple flower | image by Willthomas via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 4.0

Scientific Name: Podophyllum peltatum

The Mayapple is a Michigan native wildflower that has a clumping format. It produces umbrella-shaped leaves that can measure 12 inches wide. During the spring, this plant will produce small, white blooms.

The Mayapple is commonly seen in wooded areas where there is plenty of shade.

7. New England Aster

New England aster flowers
New England aster flowers | image by Alvin Kho via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

The New England Aster is another commonly seen wildflower that grows throughout the United States. In Michigan, this plant is most often found in loose, dry soils. It produces small purple flowers with a golden center and is often described has having a daisy-like appearance.

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8. Obedient plant

Obedient plant
Obedient plant | image by Ed via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Physostegia virginiana

The Obedient Plant is in the mint family, although it doesn’t resemble mint plants. It produces tall spikes measuring up to 4 feet tall that are covered in pink tubular-shaped flowers that appear in midsummer. The Obedient Plant is often found in woodlands, prairies, and meadows.

9. White Trillium

white Trillium grandiflorum
White Trillium | image by Cbaile19 via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY SA-4.0

Scientific Name: Trillium grandiflorum

Michigan is home to many species of trillium, including the common white trillium. It is commonly known as the great white trillium or the white wake-robin.

White trillium has a distinctive appearance, with large white flowers that have three petals and three green sepals. The flowers bloom in early to mid-spring, usually in April or May. The plant grows up to 18 inches tall and has a single stem with three large leaves that are arranged in a whorl below the flower. The leaves are broad and oval-shaped, with a pointed tip and a mottled green color.

White trillium is typically found in deciduous forests, woodlands, and along stream banks. It prefers well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter and can tolerate partial shade. It is often found growing in large colonies, creating a beautiful white carpet of flowers in the spring. 

10. Rose Mallow

Rose mallow flower
A rose mallow flower | image by Under the same moon… via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Hibiscus moscheutos

Rose Mallows are a member of the Hibiscus genius and produce the same tropical bloom that you are probably familiar with. These blooms are large and brightly colored, coming in a wide array of hues, such as pink, red, or white. Rose Mallows are found along riverbanks, as well as other wet habitats. The entire plant can reach 7 feet tall, and each flower can measure 8 inches wide.

11. Showy Goldenrod

Showy goldenrod flowers
Showy goldenrod flowers | image by LEONARDO DASILVA via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Solidago speciosa

The Showy Goldenrod is a late summer to fall blooming plant that attracts a wide array of pollinators, including honeybees and native bees. The reddish stems can grow up to 5 feet tall and are covered in clusters of small golden yellow blooms. The Showy Goldenrod is found in wooded areas and open prairies.

12. Swamp Rose

Swamp rose flower
Swamp rose flower | image by Malcolm Manners via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Rosa palustris

The Swamp Rose is, as its name would suggest, a member of the rose family. It is commonly found in marshy areas, as well as other wet habitats. This wildflower shrub produces deep green, toothed leaves and rosy pink blooms.

These fragrant flowers appear in the spring and last until summer.

13. Wild Ginger

Wild ginger flower
A wild ginger flower | image by Andrew Cannizzaro via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Asarum canadense

Wild Ginger, which is also known as Canadian Snakeroot, is a perennial wildflower that grows in a clumping format. This plant thrives in shaded woodlands throughout Michigan, producing dark green foliage that is shaped like a kidney. While this plant does also have small purplish brown blooms, they are often hidden behind its leaves.

14. Wild Petunia

Hairy wild petunia flower
Hairy wild petunia flower | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Ruellia humilis

The Wild Petunia is a native wildflower that is often grown as an ornamental plant. It produces tubular-shaped blooms that are lilac to lavender in color, and its leaves and stems are covered in tiny hairs. The blooms appear in spring and can continue to bloom until the fall.

The entire plant can reach up to 2 feet tall, and it thrives in full sun to partially shaded areas.

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Best Places to see Wildflowers in Michigan

By far, the best locations to see wildflowers in Michigan are in state parks. State parks are protected areas that are filled with both native and non-native plants, as well as various insects and wildlife. Michigan has 101 state parks and recreation areas that cover over 300,000 acres and more than 900 miles of trails.

That is more than enough locations for you to see all that Michigan has to offer in terms of wildflowers. An example is Mosquito Falls and Chapel Falls, which are in the Chapel Loop located in Shingleton, Michigan. This is a 10.2-mile loop trail that provides stunning views of Chapel Beach and Mosquito Beach, as well as a wide array of wildflowers.

Additionally, if you’re near White Cloud, Michigan, make a stop at the Loda Lake National Wildflower Sanctuary, which is home to a natural reservoir of wildflowers and other plant life.