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 NAMEFLOWERSSUNSIZEMOISTURENOTES
Scientific Common color full part shd height (feet) dry ave wet (see bottom for code key)
Actaea pachypoda White Baneberry White  NO YES YES  1-2  NO YES  NO  —
Actaea rubra Red Baneberry White  NO YES YES  1-2  NO YES  NO  —
Allium cernuum Nodding Wild Onion Pink YES YES  NO  1-2  NO YES  NO  —
Anemone canadensis Canada Anemone White YES YES  NO  1-2  NO YES YES O
Aquilegia canadensis Wild Columbine Red/Yellow YES YES YES  1-3  NO YES  NO LH, B
Arisaema triphyllum Jack-in-the-Pulpit Green  NO YES YES  1-3  NO YES  NO  —
Asarum canadense Wild Ginger Purple YES NO  NO  .5-1  NO YES  NO  —
Asclepias incarnata Swamp Milkweed Pink YES YES  NO  3-4  NO YES YES LH, N
Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly weed Orange YES NO  NO  1-3 YES YES  NO LH, N
Caulophyllum thalictroides Blue Cohosh Yellow  NO YES YES  1-2  NO YES  NO  —
Chelone glabra Turtlehead White YES YES  NO  3-5  NO YES YES LH
Coreopsis lanceolata Sand Coreopsis Yellow YES  NO  NO  1-2 YES YES  NO B, N
Eupatoriadelphus maculatus (Eupatorium maculatum) Spotted Joe-pye Weed Pink YES YES  NO  4-5  NO YES YES N
Eupatorium perfoliatum Common Boneset White YES YES  NO  3-5  NO YES YES N, PP
Fragaria virginiana Wild Strawberry White YES YES YES  .5-1  NO YES YES GC, LH, NS
Geranium maculatum Wild Geranium Pink YES YES YES  1-2  NO YES  NO  —
Hibiscus moscheutos Rose Mallow Pink YES NO  NO  4-6  NO YES YES  —
Iris versicolor Wild Blue Flag B lue YES YES  NO  2-3  NO YES YES N
Iris virginica Southern Blue Flag B lue YES YES  NO  2-3  NO YES YES  —
Liatris aspera Rough Blazing Star Pink YES  NO  NO  3-4 YES YES  NO N
Liatris spicata Marsh Blazing Star Pink YES NO  NO  3-4  NO YES YES N
Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal Flower Red YES YES  NO  2-4  NO YES YES B, N
Lobelia siphilitica Great Blue Lobelia Blue YES YES  NO  1-3  NO YES YES PP
Lupinus perennis Wild Lupine Blue YES YES  NO  1-2 YES  NO  NO LH, N
Monarda fistulosa Wild Bergamot Lavender YES NO  NO  2-4 YES YES   N
Oligoneuron riddellii (Solidago riddellii) Riddell’s Goldenrod Yellow YES  NO  NO  2-4  NO YES YES N, PP
Oligoneuron rigidum (Solidago rigida) Stiff Goldenrod Yellow YES NO  NO  3-5  NO YES  NO N
Packera aurea (Senecio aureus) Golden Ragwort Yellow YES YES  NO  2-3  NO YES YES  —
Penstemon digitalis Foxglove Beardtongue White YES YES  NO  3-4  NO YES YES B
Penstemon hirsutus Hairy Beardtongue Pink YES  NO  NO  1-2 YES YES  NO B
Polygonatum biflorum True Solomon’s Seal Green  NO YES NO   1-3 NO  YES  NO  —
Pycnanthemum virginianum Mountain Mint White YES YES  NO  1-2  NO YES YES N
Rudbeckia hirta Black-eyed Susan Yellow YES YES  NO  1-3 YES YES  NO LH, N,
Silphium terebinthinaceum  Prairie Dock Yellow YES  NO  NO  4-10 YES YES YES N,B
Solidago flexicaulis Broad-leaved Goldenrod Yellow  NO YES YES  1-2  NO YES  NO N
Solidago speciosa Showy Goldenrod Yellow YES  NO  NO  2-5 YES YES  NO N, PP
Symphyotrichum laeve (Aster laevis) Smooth Aster Lavender YES NO  NO  2-4 YES YES  NO LH, N, PP
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (Aster novae-angliae) New England Aster Purple YES  NO  NO  3-6  NO YES YES LH, N, PP
Thalictrum dasycarpum Purple Meadow-rue White YES YES  NO  3-7  NO YES YES  —
Thalictrum dioicum Early Meadow-rue White  NO YES YES  2-3  NO YES NO   —
Tradescantia ohiensis Common Spiderwort Blue YES YES  NO  2-3 YES YES  NO  —
Vernonia missurica Missouri Ironweed Purple YES YES  NO  4-6  NO YES YES N
Veronicastrum virginicum Culver’s Root White YES YES  NO  3-5  NO YES YES N, PP
Zizia aurea Golden Alexanders Yellow YES YES  NO  2-3  NO YES YES 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

FLOWERSSUNSIZEMOISTURE
Scientific Common color full part shd height (feet) dry ave wet
Adiantum pedatum Maidenhair Fern - NO YES YES  1 NO YES  YES
Athyrium filix-femina Lady Fern - YES YES YES  2-3 NO YES  NO
Matteuccia struthiopteris Ostrich Fern - YES YES  YES  3-4  NO YES YES
Onoclea sensibilis Sensitive Fern - YES YES NO  1-2 NO NO YES

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Trees, Shrubs, Vines

NATIVE PLANT NAMEFLOWERSSUNSIZEMOISTURENOTES
Scientific Common color full part shd height (feet) dry ave wet (see bottom for code key)
Amelanchier laevis Smooth Serviceberry White YES YES  NO  12-25 YES YES  NO B, LH
Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea White YES YES  NO  1-3 YES YES  NO LH, N
Cercis canadensis Redbud, Judas Tree Pink YES YES  NO  12-25  NO YES  NO LH, N
Cornus sericea (Cornus stolonifera) Red-osier Dogwood White YES YES YES  3-9 YES YES YES LH, B, N, S
Corylus americana Hazelnut Yellow YES YES  NO  5-9 YES YES  NO  —
Ilex verticillata Winterberry White YES YES  NO  6-12  NO YES YES B
Lindera benzoin Spicebush Yellow   YES YES  5-10  NO YES YES LH
Physocarpus opulifolius Ninebark White YES YES  NO  3-9  NO YES YES N
Prunus serotina Wild Black Cherry White YES YES  NO  50-85 YES YES  NO LH, N
Quercus alba White Oak Green YES  NO  NO  70-90 YES YES  NO LH, B
Quercus bicolor Swamp White Oak Green YES  NO  NO  50-80  NO YES YES LH
Quercus macrocarpa Bur Oak Green YES  NO  NO  60-85 YES YES YES LH
Quercus rubra Red Oak Green YES  NO  NO  65-90  NO YES  NO LH
Sambucus nigra (Sambucus canadensis) Elderberry White YES YES  NO  5-12  NO YES YES B
Viburnum lentago Nannyberry White YES YES  NO  15-30  NO YES YES 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 NAMEFLOWERSSUNSIZEMOISTURENOTES
Scientific Common color full part shd height (feet) dry ave wet (see bottom for code key)
Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem Green YES NO  NO  5-7 YES YES YES  —
Carex pensylvanica Pennsylvania Sedge Green  NO YES  NO  .5-1 YES YES  NO GC
Carex stricta Tussock Sedge Green YES NO NO  2-4  NO NO YES LH, LS
Elymus hystrix (Hystrix patula) Bottlebrush Grass Green  NO YES YES  3-5 YES YES  NO LH
Juncus effusus Soft-stemmed Rush Green YES NO  NO  1-3  NO NO YES  —
Panicum virgatum Switch Grass Green YES YES  NO  3-5 YES YES YES LH
Schizachyrium scoparium (Andropogon scoparius) Little Bluestem Green YES NO  NO  2-4 YES YES  NO LH
Sorghastrum nutans Indian Grass Green YES  NO  NO  4-6  NO YES  NO 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