Pennsylvania is home to hundreds of different wildflower species in a vast array of colors and bloom time. Many of the wildflowers found in the state play an important role, providing food for butterflies, hummingbirds, birds, bees, and various other pollinators. Keep reading to learn more about the wildflowers in Pennsylvania and where you can find them!
15 Wildflowers in Pennsylvania
Here are 15 of Pennsylvania’s wildflowers, and some interesting facts about them!
1. Common Yarrow
Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium
Yarrow is a beneficial wildflower that grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9. This perennial produces clusters of small white blooms in the summer that attract different species of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, beetles, and moths. Yarrow can also tolerate different conditions, including drought, and is often seen in open forests, grasslands, and even along the roadside.
2. Butterfly Weed
Scientific Name: Asclepias tuberosa
The Butterfly Weed is a member of the milkweed family and attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. It produces a flat top cluster of bright orange blooms in the summer. The root of the Butterfly Weed has traditionally been used by Native Americans to treat pulmonary ailments, such as bronchitis and pleurisy.
3. Canadian Anemone
Scientific Name: Anemone canadensis
The Canadian Anemone is a member of the buttercup family and is also known as windflower and round-leaf thimbleweed. Each white flower has a golden yellow center and appears on a single leaf whorl. The Canadian Anemone can grow up to 2 ½ feet tall and is known to be an aggressive grower.
4. Bluebell Bellflower
Scientific Name: Campanula rotundifolia
The Bluebell Bellflower is a tender perennial that produces long, slender stems that can range from 4 to 15 inches tall. It is not uncommon for this entire plant to bend over when its stems weaken.
The bell-shaped flowers of this plant are bluish to lavender in color and can hang either in clusters or singly. These flowers appear from June to September and attract hummingbirds.
5. Showy Tick-Trefoil
Scientific Name: Desmodium canadense
The Showy Tick-Trefoil has hairy stems that are covered in clusters of purple to pink pea-shaped flowers. These stems can grow between 2 and 6 feet tall and can be covered in hundreds of these small blooms.
Showy Tick-Trefoil blooms from June to September, and can be found in open wooded areas, stream banks, sandy or rocky prairies, and roadsides. Additionally, this wildflower is a larval host for the Hoary Edge butterfly, Eastern Tailed Blue butterfly, and Silver-Spotted Skipper.
6. Virginia Spring Beauty
Scientific Name: Claytonia virginica
The Virginia Spring Beauty is one of the first wildflowers to emerge in Pennsylvania. This plant produces star-shaped pink, yellow, or white blooms that attract various native bees. Virginia Springbeauty grows in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 9 and grows between 2 to 16 inches tall.
Scientific Name: Eupatoriadelphus fistulosus
Also referred to as Joe-Pye Weed, this plant belongs to the milkweed family and is an important plant for various insects, including butterflies, and birds. This plant produces tall stalks that have a large cluster of purplish flowers.
It can grow in a wide array of habitats, including dry and wet soils. In Pennsylvania, Trumpetweed is typically found in meadows, woods, and along stream banks, marshes, and bogs.
8. Blue Mistflower
Scientific Name: Conoclinium coelestinum
The Blue Mistflower is a perennial herb that grows about 3 feet tall. It produces clusters of bright violet or blue disc-shaped blooms that attract butterflies and bees.
Despite this plant acting as a source of food for pollinators, it can spread quickly and become problematic. The Blue Mistflower is found in low wooded areas, ditches, wet meadows, and stream banks.
9. Dense Blazing Star
Scientific Name: Liatris spicata
The Dense Blazing Star is a slender perennial wildflower that can grow up to 6 feet tall. It produces grass-like leaves that appear in a clumping fashion toward the base.
The plant has tall spikes that are topped with purplish rose-colored or white-tufted flower heads that bloom from the top down. The Dense Blazing Star blooms from July to November, and the plant attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and birds.
10. Snow Trillium
Scientific Name: Trillium nivale
The Snow Trillium is another early spring wildflower that is a member of the lily family. It is most often found in the Western part of the state and reaches only about 5 inches tall.
Snow Trilliums have small white blooms with yellow centers. The seeds of this plant attract ants, which will carry the seeds away from the mother plant and disperse the Snow Trillium elsewhere.
11. Harbinger of Spring
Scientific Name: Erigenia bulbosa
The Harbinger of Spring gets its name honestly, being one of the earliest flowers to appear in certain areas of the state. This plant is a part of the carrot family and produces clusters of delicate white flowers. The Harbinger of Spring is more commonly seen in Western Pennsylvania and is found in hardwood forests in lowlands, mountain valleys, and coastal plains.
12. Eastern Skunk Cabbage
Scentific Name: Symplocarpus foetidus
Skunk Cabbage is an unusual plant that is commonly found in wet areas. This plant produces heat when it emerges from the ground, which helps to melt the ice and snow around it. The bloom of the Skunk Cabbage looks similar to decaying flesh and produces an unpleasant odor that attracts flies.
13. Blue-Eyed Mary
Scientific Name: Collinsia verna
Blue-Eyed Mary is an early spring bloomer that adds a bit of color along a slope or roadway in Western Pennsylvania. This plant produces a two-toned flower that is pure white on its upper lip and bright blue on the bottom.
14. Dutchman’s Breeches
Scientific Name: Dicentra cucullaria
Dutchman’s Breeches can start to bloom as early as April, producing oddly shaped white flowers that resemble a pair of upside-down breeches. This plant typically appears in woodland or forested areas throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
15. Mountain Laurel (State wildflower of Pennsylvania)
Scientific name: Kalmia latifolia
The state wildflower of Pennsylvania is the Mountain Laurel, also known as Kalmia latifolia. This beautiful flowering shrub is native to the eastern United States and can be found throughout Pennsylvania’s wooded regions.
The Mountain Laurel is known for its stunning pink and white flowers, which bloom in late spring and early summer. In 1933, the Mountain Laurel was officially designated as the state flower of Pennsylvania, and it remains a beloved symbol of the state’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.
The wildflowers in Pennsylvania range from annual to perennial, low-growing to more shrub-like plants, and just about everything in between. Most of the wildflowers in Pennsylvania appear in the spring and summer months, but more than a few will also bloom in the fall and even into early winter.
Best Places to see Wildflowers in Pennsylvania
Thanks to the richness of Pennsylvania’s meadows, preserves, and wildflower patches, there is no shortage of places where you can view these beautiful flowers. The first choice would, of course, be one of Pennsylvania’s wildflower preserves.
These natural areas are protected and focused on the conservancy of wildflowers found throughout the state. For example, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is a 134-acre garden in New Hope, PA that is filled with local plants, including many different wildflowers.
Other options for viewing wildflowers in Pennsylvania include scenic trails, such as Braddock Trail Park located in North Huntingdon, and state parks, such as Raccoon Creek State Park, which is home to over 500 species of native plants.
However, you don’t have to travel far to find wildflowers in Pennsylvania, and can probably see at least a few different species just by taking a walk around your neighborhood.