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14 Wildflowers in North Dakota (Pictures)

Although North Dakota is known for its agricultural importance to the United States due to its production of crops, this state also has numerous wildflowers that grace its landscape. Wildflowers in North Dakota are diverse, and each season brings a unique set of blooms. Let’s take a look at some of the wildflowers that are native to this state, as well as some information to help recognize them. 

14 Wildflowers in North Dakota

State wildflowers of North Dakota

The official state flower of North Dakota is the Wild Prairie Rose. It was designated as the state flower in 1907, making it one of the first state flowers to be recognized in the United States. This beautiful wildflower is found throughout North Dakota, growing in prairies, meadows, and along roadsides.

The Wild Prairie Rose blooms from June to August, producing fragrant pink flowers with five petals that are often used in perfumes and other scented products. The Wild Prairie Rose is also a symbol of the state’s pioneer heritage and the rugged beauty of its landscape

1. Prairie rose

Prairie wild rose
Prairie wild rose | image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Rosa arkansana
  • Bloom period: June to August

The Prairie rose thrives in various habitats across North Dakota, including prairies, open woodlands, thickets, and roadsides. The plant can grow up to a maximum height of 18 inches and has a shrub-like appearance, with the presence of thorns along its stem. Because of its beautiful colors, the State University of North Dakota chose it as North Dakota’s state flower in 1907

2. Wild blue flax 

Wild blue flax
Wild blue flax | image by Andrey Zharkikh via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Linum lewisii
  • Bloom period: Mid-May to late July

Wild Blue Flax is a plant that you can find growing throughout the state during the springtime, specifically from the middle of May until the end of July. You can frequently spot these blossoms in dry, open areas like upland prairie, road ditches, and railroad right-of-ways. You can also recognize them by the color of their flowers, which are light blue, and their height, which is only about 24 inches tall on average. 

3. Ball cactus

Ball cactus flower
Ball cactus flower | image by Patrick Alexander via Flickr
  • Scientific name: Coryphantha vivipara
  • Bloom period: Late May to July

Ball cacti thrive in arid, sandy, and rocky prairies and road ditches and slopes facing south. These resilient plants are abundant throughout the state, except in the extreme eastern and northeastern regions. Bees are typically drawn to them when they’re in bloom due to the pollen they produce, and you can recognize this species by the large, purple flower it produces.  

4. Common yarrow

Common yarrow flowers
Common yarrow flowers | image by Shiva Shenoy via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Achillea millefolium
  • Bloom period: June to August

If you find yourself in North Dakota during the summer season, you’ll likely come across the common yarrow. The flowers, which are a light cream color and grow in clusters, are a common sight in grassy plains with plenty of open space. Plains Indians use this plant for various medicinal purposes, including treating sores, as a laxative, and even to prevent bleeding. 

5. Western wallflower 

Western wallflower
Western wallflower | image by Matt Lavin via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Erysimum capitatum
  • Bloom period: Late May to late June

The Western Wallflower, a frequently encountered wildflower in North Dakota, stands out with its clusters of pale yellow blooms at the end of each stalk. Other names include Prairie Rocket and Sand-dune Wallflower. Wallflowers are a source of food caterpillars of many both and butterfly species.

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6. Maximilian sunflower

Maximilian sunflower
Maximilian sunflower | image by Matt Lavin via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Helianthus maximiliani
  • Bloom period:  Late June to mid-September

During the summer months, you may notice the Maximilian Sunflower in full bloom. This aster family member is a great source of food for songbirds and deer, and it also acts as a sign of well-managed rangelands. It’s easily identifiable by its clusters or colonies of yellow flowers that are typically found growing in upland prairies throughout the entire state. 

7. Dotted blazing star

Dotted blazing star
Dotted blazing star | image by Matt Lavin via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Liatris puncata
  • Bloom period: August to October

The Dotted Blazing Stars, which are perennials, bloom from August to October in North Dakota. They can reach a length of up to 40 inches and produce flowers with a light purple color along the spike-like main stock of the plant. Its sweet nectar attracts butterflies, which may be seen flocking to its flowers during the blooming season. 

8. Wild bergamot

Wild bergamot 
Wild bergamot  | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Monarda fistulosa
  • Bloom period: July and early August

Wild Bergamot, also commonly known as Beeblam, thrives in North Dakota, specifically in habitats such as moist to medium prairies, wooded draws, and thickets. July and early August are the months in which this plant produces its clusters of lavender-pink flowers. It also has a scent of mint, which is a popular choice for people who want to scent their drawers, closets, or pillows.

9. Beardtongue

Shell leaf penstemon
Shell leaf penstemon | image by Michael Wheeler; NPS via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific name: Penstemon grandiflorus
  • Bloom period: Late May to end of June

During springtime in North Dakota, you’ll witness the blooming of Beardtongue, one of the most impressive of the native penstemons. This particular species’ pink to lavender bell-shaped flowers can grow in upland prairies, road cuts, and badlands. Various animals, including pronghorns, sheep, and deer enjoy munching on this wildflower.

10. Smooth fleabane

Smooth fleabane
Smooth fleabane | image by Matt Lavin via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Erigeron glabellus
  • Bloom period: June to August

This species of wildflower, known as smooth fleabane, is quite common in the colder parts of North America. The flowers of this plant display a combination of pinkish or whitish hues, matched by a vibrant yellow center. As the plant thrives, it grows to a height ranging from 6 to 18 inches. 

11. Blackeyed Susan

Black-eyed susan flowers
Black-eyed susan flowers | image by John Wisniewski via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific name: Rudbeckia hirta
  • Bloom period: July to September

The Clack-eyed Susan, which blooms in the summer, is one flower you can easily recognize in North Dakota. This plant belongs to the aster family and produces flowers with a dark brown central disc surrounded by 10 to 20 orange-yellow petals. Your chance of seeing them is higher in road ditches and forest edges, particularly in moist areas.

12. Prairie lily

Prairie lily flower
Prairie lily flower | image by Doug McGrady via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific name: Lilium philadelphicum
  • Bloom period: Mid-June to mid-July

Prairie lilies are a type of wildflower that blooms between the middle of June and July and prefers to grow in moist places where they can get plenty of water. The flowers of this plant have that typical lily shape, showcasing six reddish-orange petals adorned with purple dots near the center and a yellow base. The flowers may be beautiful, but some Native Americans actually ate the bulbs they grew from.

13. Curlycup gumweed

Curlycup gumweed
Curlycup gumweed | image by Matt Lavin via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific name: Grindelia squarrosa
  • Bloom period: July to late September
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Since curlycup gumweed is a resilient plant that can thrive in arid environments, it becomes abundant following dry periods. It blooms in late summer, especially from July to late September, and produces yellow aster-like flowers. Although they aren’t well-liked by many ranchers because they aren’t edible to livestock, homeopathic medicine still uses them to treat coughs and asthma.

14. Goldenrod 

Goldenrod
Goldenrod | Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay
  • Scientific name: Solidago spp
  • Bloom period: July to September

If you observe a flower during the late summer season, and it’s producing small yellow flowers in clusters at the end of its stem, then it’s highly likely that you are looking at a goldenrod plant. Many people use this popular species for various purposes, such as reducing inflammation, relieving muscle spasms, and even using them as good luck charms. In North Dakota, they typically bloom in lowland and upland prairies from July to September. 

Sources:

  • “Prairie Wildflowers And Grasses North Dakota”, Game And Fish Department Of North Dakota, gf.nd.gov