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15 Wildflowers in West Virginia

The Appalachian region is renowned for its remarkable biodiversity, and West Virginia is no exception. Thanks to its diverse geography and favorable temperature, over a hundred species of wildflowers in West Virginia exist, making it a real paradise for botanists.

Let’s check out some wildflowers that are native to the area and learn some interesting facts about them. 

15 Wildflowers in West Virginia

The state flower of West Virginia is the Rhododendron, also known as the “Rose Tree.” This gorgeous flower is native to the Appalachian Mountains and can be found in shades of pink, white, and purple.

It blooms in late spring and early summer and is often used in landscaping due to its beauty and durability. The Rhododendron is also a symbol of the state’s natural beauty and is celebrated each year during the Rhododendron Festival held in Richwood, West Virginia.

1. Yellow Ironweed 

Yellow ironweed 
Yellow ironweed  | image by sonnia hill via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Verbesina alternifolia
  • Zone: 4 – 8
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state
  • Season: Summer to Fall

The yellow Ironweed is a tall, native perennial flora that grows on lush, damp wooded slopes, open forests, riverbanks, shady lowlands, roadsides, and fields. It can grow as tall as 8 feet and has yellow flowerheads that look like ragged sunflowers. Although this significant plant attracts bees, be cautious of its invasive tendencies. 

2. Canada Violet

Canada violet
Canada violet | image by Gertjan van Noord via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Viola canadensis
  • Zone: 3-8
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state 
  • Season: Summer to Fall

Canadian violet is a common flowering plant you can find in both Canada and the United States. Its white blossoms, which have shades of purple and yellow at their bases, are incredibly alluring, and it has heart-shaped leaves with rounded teeth. Not only is it visually appealing, but the leaves and blossoms are also edible, making it a versatile addition. 

3. Moccasin Flower

Moccasin flower
Moccasin flower | image by Fritz Flohr Reynolds via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Cypripedium acaule 
  • Zone: 3 – 7
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state 
  • Season: Spring to Summer

You can spot the moccasin flower, also called the pink lady’s slipper, growing in various parts of the state during spring. It has a pretty pink flower and oval-shaped leaves that make any outdoor space look charming. Although it requires highly acidic soil, it can tolerate various levels of shade and moisture. 

4. Dutchman’s Breeches

Dutchman’s breeches
Dutchman’s breeches | image by Wayne National Forest via Flickr
  • Scientific Name: Dicentra cucullaria
  • Zone: 3 – 8
  • Where to see: Throughout the state except Metro Valley
  • Season: Spring

Dutchman’s breeches is a perennial herb that grows in the rich woodlands of eastern North America, and its name comes from the white blossoms that resemble breeches. The plant produces racemes of fragrant, white (sometimes pink) blossoms and has trifoliate leaves with finely split leaflets.  

During late spring, the leaves and flower stem die, but the bulblets stay inactive until the next spring. This wildflower relies on bumblebees for cross-pollination, ensuring its survival. 

5. Virginia Bluebell

Virginia bluebell flowers
Virginia bluebell flowers | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Mertensia virginica 
  • Zone: 3 – 8
  • Where to see: Some parts of Ohio Valley, Mountain and Lakes Country, and Potomac Highlands
  • Season: Spring

The Virginia bluebells are a spring flora with bell-shaped sky-blue flowers. The plant has gray-green, ovate leaves on long stems with nodding inflorescences that bear clusters of flowers ranging in color from light blue to occasional pink or rare white. 

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Virginia bluebells, which are native to eastern North America, frequently grow in big clusters and like rich, damp woodlands and wooded hillsides. Their blossoms are a lovely addition to culinary experiences because they’re also edible. 

6. Ditch Stonecrop

Ditch stonecrop
Ditch stonecrop | image by Doug McGrady via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Penthorum sedoides
  • Zone: 5
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state but less in New River and Greenbrier Valleys
  • Season: Summer to Fall

The ditch stonecrop is one of the wildflowers you’ll discover in the state. This perennial forb is native to the eastern United States and Canada, showcasing small white flowers during the summer. The blossoms are half a centimeter wide and have ten stamens but no petals. 

After blooming, they turn into star-shaped capsules that become red in autumn. Ditch stonecrop can grow in different places, such as wetlands, rocky shores, and disturbed areas. 

7. Foamflower

Foamflower 
Foamflower | image by bobistraveling via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Tiarella cordifolia
  • Zone: 3 – 8
  • Where to see: Throughout the state except Metro Valley
  • Season: Spring to Summer

The heart-shaped leaves, scaly horizontal rhizomes, hairy stalks, and small, fluffy white blossoms that give the flower cluster a fuzzy appearance are the identifying characteristics of foamflowers. This species is prized in the field of horticulture for the upright stems that bear flowers with a frothy, cream-colored appearance. 

8. Dwarf Larkspur

Dwarf larkspur
A dwarf larkspur | image by peganum via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Delphinium tricorne
  • Zone: 4 – 8
  • Where to see: Tip of Ohio Valley and Mountain and Lakes Country, and parts of Metro Valley to New River and Greenbrier Valleys
  • Season: Spring

Dwarf larkspur is a plant species in the buttercup family with grayish-green leaves that are deeply split into lobes. This species has a thin stalk with 6 to 24 flowers in colors like violet, blue, white, or a mix of these. You can see these wildflowers thrive in rich mesic forests, often in proximity to calcareous rocks. 

9. Joe Pye weed

Joe-pye weed flowers
Joe-pye weed flowers | image by sonnia hill via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Eupatorium fistulosum
  • Zone: 4-8 
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state but less in Ohio Valley
  • Season: Summer to Fall

You could have come across Joe-Pye weed in several places, and West Virginia is one of those states where you can find this plant. This plant produces gorgeous pink or purple disc blooms that attract butterflies, bees, and other nectar-feeding insects, and it thrives in moist, rich soil alongside ditches, marshes, and wet woodlands. 

10. 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: Scattered throughout the state except Metro Valley
  • Season: Spring

The bloodroot is a perennial plant native to eastern North America. This variable species blooms from March to May and has delicate white flowers and yellow reproductive parts.

You can find bloodroot in moist to dry forests and thickets where bees and flies pollinate the blossoms, resulting in the production of elongated green seed pods. This species is also named after its reddish sap, which is also used as a dye. 

11. Squirrel Corn

Squirrel corn
Squirrel corn | image by Halpaug via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Dicentra canadensis
  • Zone: 3 – 7 
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state except Metro Valley
  • Season: Spring

This flower is among the wildflowers you might see while taking a walk in West Virginia. This squirrel corn features unusually formed white heart-shaped blossoms, which are matched by leaves that have very fine divisions.

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The blossoms give off a lovely aroma and may be seen adorning the woodlands with foliage and blooms in the spring before going dormant in the summer. 

12. Tall Thoroughwort

Tall thoroughwort
A tall thoroughwort | image by Cbaile19 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Eupatorium altissimum
  • Zone: 4 – 8 
  • Where to see: Mostly in Ohio Valley
  • Season: Summer 

Tall thoroughwort is a tall plant that grows well in open woods, prairies, fields, and waste areas. It has lovely white blooms that bloom in late summer and fall, attracting various pollinators. The species also has leaves that are opposite each other with noticeable veins and teeth and are covered in white hairs. 

You may also notice the flower heads of this thoroughwort are arranged in a large flat shape and made up of small white flowers that aren’t very bright. 

13. Wild Columbine

Wild columbine
Wild columbine | image by Under the same moon… via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Aquilegia canadensis 
  • Zone: 3-8
  • Where to see: Mostly in New River and Greenbrier Valleys to Potomac Highlands
  • Season: Spring

If you’ve seen some bright red and yellow flowers in the state, you might have spotted a wild columbine. This species has nodding flowers, appearing in late spring and enticing butterflies and hummingbirds with their nectar-filled spurs. This decorative plant is highly valued for its foliage and showy blooms, making it a popular choice in gardens across the Northern Hemisphere. 

14. Wild Geranium

Wild geranium
Wild geranium | image by Joshua Mayer via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Geranium maculatum 
  • Zone: 3 – 8 
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state except Metro Valley
  • Season: Spring to Summer 

You may recognize wild geranium as a common wildflower in West Virginia. This plant grows well in wooded areas and has leaves with several lobes and colorful flowers in shades of pinkish-purple or bluish-purple.

The flowers, appearing from spring to summer, form loose clusters at the top of the stems. The astringent qualities of wild geranium have been employed in herbal medicine and are popular in gardens.

15. Mistflower

Blue mistflower
Blue mistflower | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Conoclinium coelestinum
  • Zone: 5 – 10
  • Where to see: Scattered throughout the state
  • Season: Summer to Fall

Mistflower is one of the plants you can identify by its flat-topped clusters of blue, purple, or lavender flowerheads, which bloom from summer to fall and draw bees and butterflies. These beautiful wildflowers are popular in gardens, but be careful because they can spread quickly. It’s also useful for restoring habitats in its natural area, especially in wet soils.