Southern Lower Peninsula

Deciding which native species to focus on can be overwhelming. To assist your selection, we have developed a list of about 50 plant species that are common to southern Lower Michigan. The list is meant as a place to start as you learn about native plants, and consider a planting of your own. Not all of these species are suitable for all applications. For more information about these species, as well as others to consider, contact your local native plant producer and see the plant fact sheets at this website.

Wildflowers

NATIVE PLANT NAME FLOWERS SUN SIZE MOISTURE NOTES
Scientific Common color full part shd height (feet) dry ave wet (see bottom for code key)
Actaea pachypoda White Baneberry White   x x  1-2   x    
Actaea rubra Red Baneberry White   x x  1-2   x    
Allium cernuum Nodding Wild Onion Pink x x    1-2   x    
Anemone canadensis Canada Anemone White x x    1-2   x x O
Aquilegia canadensis Wild Columbine Red/Yellow x x x  1-3   x   LH, B
Arisaema triphyllum Jack-in-the-Pulpit Green   x x  1-3   x    
Asarum canadense Wild Ginger Purple x    .5-1   x    
Asclepias incarnata Swamp Milkweed Pink x x    3-4   x x LH, N
Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly weed Orange x    1-3 x x   LH, N
Caulophyllum thalictroides Blue Cohosh Yellow   x x  1-2   x    
Chelone glabra Turtlehead White x x    3-5   x x LH
Coreopsis lanceolata Sand Coreopsis Yellow x      1-2 x x   B, N
Eupatoriadelphus maculatus (Eupatorium maculatum) Spotted Joe-pye Weed Pink x x    4-5   x x N
Eupatorium perfoliatum Common Boneset White x x    3-5   x x N, PP
Fragaria virginiana Wild Strawberry White x x x  .5-1   x x GC, LH, NS
Geranium maculatum Wild Geranium Pink x x x  1-2   x    
Hibiscus moscheutos Rose Mallow Pink x    4-6   x x  
Iris versicolor Wild Blue Flag B lue x x    2-3   x x N
Iris virginica Southern Blue Flag B lue x x    2-3   x x  
Liatris aspera Rough Blazing Star Pink x      3-4 x x   N
Liatris spicata Marsh Blazing Star Pink x    3-4   x x N
Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower Red x x    2-4   x x B, N
Lobelia siphilitica Great Blue Lobelia Blue x x    1-3   x x PP
Lupinus perennis Wild Lupine Blue x x    1-2 x     LH, N
Monarda fistulosa Wild Bergamot Lavender x    2-4 x x   N
Oligoneuron riddellii (Solidago riddellii) Riddell’s Goldenrod Yellow x      2-4   x x N, PP
Oligoneuron rigidum (Solidago rigida) Stiff Goldenrod Yellow x    3-5   x   N
Packera aurea (Senecio aureus) Golden Ragwort Yellow x x    2-3   x x  
Penstemon digitalis Foxglove Beardtongue White x x    3-4   x x B
Penstemon hirsutus Hairy Beardtongue Pink x      1-2 x x   B
Polygonatum biflorum True Solomon’s Seal Green   x    1-3   x    
Pycnanthemum virginianum Mountain Mint White x x    1-2   x x N
Rudbeckia hirta Black-eyed Susan Yellow x x    1-3 x x   LH, N,
Silphium terebinthinaceum  Prairie Dock Yellow x      4-10 x x x N,B
Solidago flexicaulis Broad-leaved Goldenrod Yellow   x x  1-2   x   N
Solidago speciosa Showy Goldenrod Yellow x      2-5 x x   N, PP
Symphyotrichum laeve (Aster laevis) Smooth Aster Lavender x    2-4 x x   LH, N, PP
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (Aster novae-angliae) New England Aster Purple x      3-6   x x LH, N, PP
Thalictrum dasycarpum Purple Meadow-rue White x x    3-7   x x  
Thalictrum dioicum Early Meadow-rue White   x x  2-3   x    
Tradescantia ohiensis Common Spiderwort Blue x x    2-3 x x    
Vernonia missurica Missouri Ironweed Purple x x    4-6   x x N
Veronicastrum virginicum Culver’s Root White x x    3-5   x x N, PP
Zizia aurea Golden Alexanders Yellow x x    2-3   x x PP

Key to letter codes:
B: Provides food (fruit, seed, or nectar) or nesting habitat for birds
GC: Groundcover
LH: Larval host
for butterflies
LS: Well-suited for landscaping; not well-suited to gardens
LTD: Limited plant material supply
N: Provides nectar for butterflies
NS: Does not establish well from seed
O: Opportunistic -
spreads aggressively
PP: Attract pollinators and predatory insects
S: Spreads by underground suckers

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Fern

NATIVE PLANT NAME

FLOWERS SUN SIZE MOISTURE
Scientific Common color full part shd height (feet) dry ave wet
Adiantum pedatum Maidenhair Fern - x x  1 x  x
Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern - x x x  2-3 x  
Matteuccia struthiopteris Ostrich Fern - x x  x  3-4   x x
Onoclea sensibilis Sensitive Fern - x x  1-2 x

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Trees, Shrubs, Vines

NATIVE PLANT NAME FLOWERS SUN SIZE MOISTURE NOTES
Scientific Common color full part shd height (feet) dry ave wet (see bottom for code key)
Amelanchier laevis Smooth Serviceberry White x x    12-25 x x   B, LH
Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea White x x    1-3 x x   LH, N
Cercis canadensis Redbud, Judas Tree Pink x x    12-25   x   LH, N
Cornus sericea (Cornus stolonifera) Red-osier Dogwood White x x x  3-9 x x x LH, B, N, S
Corylus americana Hazelnut Yellow x x    5-9 x x    
Ilex verticillata Winterberry White x x    6-12   x x B
Lindera benzoin Spicebush Yellow   x x  5-10   x x LH
Physocarpus opulifolius Ninebark White x x    3-9   x x N
Prunus serotina Wild Black Cherry White x x    50-85 x x   LH, N
Quercus alba White Oak Green x      70-90 x x   LH, B
Quercus bicolor Swamp White Oak Green x      50-80   x x LH
Quercus macrocarpa Bur Oak Green x      60-85 x x x LH
Quercus rubra Red Oak Green x      65-90   x   LH
Sambucus nigra (Sambucus canadensis) Elderberry White x x    5-12   x x B
Viburnum lentago Nannyberry White x x    15-30   x x B, N, LH

Key to letter codes:
B: Provides food (fruit, seed, or nectar) or nesting habitat for birds
GC: Groundcover
LH: Larval host
for butterflies
LS: Well-suited for landscaping; not well-suited to gardens
LTD: Limited plant material supply
N: Provides nectar for butterflies
NS: Does not establish well from seed
O: Opportunistic -
spreads aggressively
PP: Attract pollinators and predatory insects
S: Spreads by underground suckers

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Grasses, Sedges, Rushes

NATIVE PLANT NAME FLOWERS SUN SIZE MOISTURE NOTES
Scientific Common color full part shd height (feet) dry ave wet (see bottom for code key)
Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem Green x    5-7 x x x  
Carex pensylvanica Pennsylvania Sedge Green   x    .5-1 x x   GC
Carex stricta Tussock Sedge Green x    2-4   x LH, LS
Elymus hystrix (Hystrix patula) Bottlebrush Grass Green   x x  3-5 x x   LH
Juncus effusus Soft-stemmed Rush Green x    1-3   x  
Panicum virgatum Switch Grass Green x x    3-5 x x x LH
Schizachyrium scoparium (Andropogon scoparius) Little Bluestem Green x    2-4 x x   LH
Sorghastrum nutans Indian Grass Green x      4-6   x   LH

Key to letter codes:
B: Provides food (fruit, seed, or nectar) or nesting habitat for birds
GC: Groundcover
LH: Larval host
for butterflies
LS: Well-suited for landscaping; not well-suited to gardens
LTD: Limited plant material supply
N: Provides nectar for butterflies
NS: Does not establish well from seed
O: Opportunistic -
spreads aggressively
PP: Attract pollinators and predatory insects
S: Spreads by underground suckers

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Project Greeen Michigan State University Extension AgBioResearch