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12 Wildflowers in New Jersey (Pictures)

If you’re someone who lives in New Jersey, you undoubtedly already know how beautiful and ecologically diverse the state is. And beyond its bustling towns and scenic shorelines, there is a wonderful world of wildflowers in New Jersey that’s just waiting to be found. 

This article will give you a look at the wildflowers in the state and share with you some facts about them.  

12 Wildflowers in New Jersey

The common blue violet, New Jersey’s official state flower, pictured above, is a delightful perennial that graces a variety of habitats across the state. Its heart-shaped leaves and vibrant flowers, which can range from purple and blue to white, bloom from spring to early summer, adding a splash of color to the landscape.

Beyond the violet, New Jersey boasts a wide array of other wildflowers. The state’s diverse habitats, from coastal dunes to mountain forests, nurture a rich variety of species like the bright pink sweet pea, the curious Jack-in-the-pulpit, and the seaside goldenrod with its yellow blooms.

These wildflowers not only enhance the state’s beauty, but also play a key role in local ecosystems, providing food and habitat for wildlife and contributing to New Jersey’s overall biodiversity.

1. Blue Vervain

Blue vervain 
Blue vervain  | image by Matt Lavin via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Verbena hastata
  • Zone: 3 – 9
  • Where to see: Statewide except Cumberland
  • Season: Early Summer to Fall

American blue vervain is a perennial flowering plant found throughout the continental United States and much of southern Canada. It grows upright, reaching up to 1.5 m tall, with square, hairy stems, and opposite leaves.

The wildflower has spikes of violet or deep purple flowers that open slowly from the bottom, and you can see them thrive in damp places like wet meadows, river banks, and wetlands. 

2. Fireweed

Fireweed flowers
Fireweed flowers | image by Zeynel Cebeci via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Scientific Name: Chamerion angustifolium
  • Zone: 2 – 8
  • Where to see: Statewide except Union, Somerset and Salem
  • Season: Late Spring and Summer

The Fireweed is a plant that grows naturally in the state. You can find it growing in areas that have been burned or logged, as well as in woodland borders, forest meadows, and alpine meadows.

It produces pink flowers in a symmetrical pattern that bloom one after the other. When the flowers are done blooming, the seed capsules open up and release brown seeds with silky hairs. Fireweed is used as an edible plant for medicinal purposes and to make tea and jelly.   

3. Wild bergamot

Wild bergamot 
Wild bergamot  | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Monarda fistulosa
  • Zone: 3 – 9
  • Where to see: Mostly in the upper half of the state 
  • Season: Summer

The Wild bergamot is among the widespread wildflower that grows in clumps from creeping rhizomes, reaching up to 3 feet tall with lance-shaped, toothed leaves. This plant makes dense clusters of pink to lavender flowers at the tips of its branches and is prized for its use as a garden ornamental, medicinal, and honey plant. 

You can find wild bergamot in a variety of habitats, from dry fields to clearings, and it has a variable fragrance due to the composition of its oils. 

4. Clasping Venus’ looking-glass

Casping venus’ looking glass
Casping venus’ looking glass | image by Andrew Weitzel via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Triodanis perfoliata
  • Zone: 2 – 11
  • Where to see: Statewide except Union
  • Season: Spring to Summer
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One of the beautiful flowers you may discover in the state is the Clasping Venus’ looking glass. The plant is found in disturbed sites and various habitats and grows up to 46 centimeters tall, featuring alternate leaves that clasp the stem. During spring to summer, you can see them bloom violet blue (sometimes white) wheel-shaped flowers that attract bees, flies, butterflies, and moths. 

5. Common boneset

Common boneset
Common boneset | image by Kevin Kenny via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Eupatorium perfoliatum
  • Zone: 3 – 8
  • Where to see: Statewide except Cumberland
  • Season: Summer to Fall

The Common boneset is a tall plant that has leaves with saw-like edges that grow opposite each other on the stem. It produces small white flowers in clusters during late summer and early fall and grows naturally in wet prairies, bogs, and wooded areas near rivers.

Native Americans used it to treat fever and colds. However, there is limited scientific research on its effectiveness. Also, consuming large amounts of it may lead to diarrhea. 

6. Indian paintbrush

Indian paintbrush flower
Indian paintbrush flower | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Castilleja coccinea
  • Zone: 4 – 8
  • Where to see: Statewide except Cumberland, Salem, Cape May and Ocean
  • Season: Spring

You might be familiar with the Indian paintbrush, which can be found throughout New Jersey and is renowned for its lovely cup-like bracts. These red structures are actually modified leaves, and the flower’s petals are bordered by sepals with red tips.

The plant depends on pollinators, especially hummingbirds, for reproduction and is a hemiparasite, receiving nutrients from other species while continuing to photosynthesize. 

7. Trumpet honeysuckle

Trumpet honeysuckle
Trumpet honeysuckle | image by yewchan via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Lonicera sempervirens
  • Zone: 4 – 9
  • Where to see: Statewide except Camden, Atlantic and Morris
  • Season: Mid-Spring to Summer

The trumpet honeysuckle is a twining vine that can grow as long as 15 feet in length. This plant is native to North America and can be found all across New Jersey. The leaves are simple and opposite, and their margins aren’t toothed; however, some of the leaves may merge together near the stem. 

In mid spring or early summer, the vine, which thrives mostly on old wood, produces clusters of tubular crimson or red-orange blooms, and bright red berries emerge in autumn. 

8. Cutleaf coneflower

Cutleaf coneflower
Cutleaf coneflower | image by Patrick Alexander via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Rudbeckia laciniata
  • Zone: 3 – 9
  • Where to see: Statewide except Cumberland, Atlantic, Cape May and Union
  • Season: Summer to Fall

You can find the cutleaf coneflower thriving well in wet areas like flood plains, stream banks, and damp forests around the state. It’s a native wildflower that can grow up to 3 meters tall with ovate and dissected leaves and produces composite flower heads in late summer and autumn. The flowers have green to yellowish-green disc flowers and pale yellow rays. 

9. Common selfheal

Common selfheal
Common selfheal | image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Prunella vulgaris
  • Zone: 4-9
  • Where to see: Statewide except Cumberland
  • Season: Late Spring to Late Fall

Self-heal is a plant that belongs to the mint family that can grow up to 30 cm tall and has reddish square stems and lance-shaped leaves. Additionally, you might observe that its blooms grow in whirling clusters and have a purple hood on the top lip and a white lip.

Self-heal is edible, with young leaves and stems excellent for salads and the aerial sections capable of being brewed into a beverage. 

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10. Swamp milkweed

Swamp milkweed
Swamp milkweed | image by Ed Ogle via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Asclepias incarnata
  • Zone: 3 – 11 
  • Where to see: Statewide
  • Season: Summer to Fall

In New Jersey, you can see swamp milkweed, which has pink to mauve flowers that smell nice and grow in clusters. The plant grows best in damp soils and is frequently discovered in the vicinity of bodies of water.

It’s a magnet for butterflies, especially monarch butterflies, which consume the wildflower’s blossoms and lay their eggs on it. Swamp milkweed spreads its seeds via parachutes that are helped by the wind and have roots that are specifically adapted for moist areas.

11. Spreading dogbane

Spreading dogbane
Spreading dogbane | image by photogramma1 via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Apocynum androsaemifolium
  • Zone: 2 – 9 
  • Where to see: Statewide except Salem
  • Season: Summer

The Spreading dogbane is a plant that blooms pink blossoms in the summer and is toxic due to resin and cardiac glycosides. It can grow up to 30 cm in height and has seed pods that contain seeds with silky hair. The stem fibers were used for sewing, and Native Americans utilized them as a medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including headaches and heart palpitations. 

12. Whorled milkweed

Whorled milkweed
Whorled milkweed | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Asclepias verticillata
  • Zone: 4 – 9 
  • Where to see: Statewide except Morris, Mercel, Ocean, and Atlantic
  • Season: Summer

If you’ve seen a plant with a single stem and narrow leaves arranged in circles, you’ve likely seen the whorled milkweed. Between June and September, it blooms with fragrant, bluish-green flowers that attract a wide variety of beneficial insects. 

Although this wildflower is known to be poisonous to animals, it’s a host plant for monarch butterflies. Native Americans also used it for medicinal purposes such as treating snakebites, increasing breast milk, and relieving nose and throat problems.