How to Identify Flowers in Maine


From the bell-shaped twinflower, Maine's state flower, to seaside lupine and woodland pink lady's slipper orchids, Maine has a vast diversity of flowers. This is in part due to Maine's very diverse landscape with coastal, woodland, wetland and alpine ecosystems. This state will not disappoint those who head out in search of beautiful wildflowers, and a field guide is helpful in identifying them.

Step 1

Pack a field guide and a camera and/or sketch pad. In Maine, guidebooks such as "Wildflowers of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont," or field guide pamphlets such as "Maine Trees and Wild Flowers: An Introduction to Familiar Species" are great tools to have. The pamphlet will have the most common species, but if you intend to identify as many flowers as possible, the larger book is better.

Step 2

Categorize the color of the flower you are trying to identify. This is the first most basic thing you will notice about the flower and is how most field guides are organized. White, pink to red, blue to purple, yellow to orange, green and deep purple to brown are the main color categories.

Step 3

Count the petals on each blossom and determine if it is a symmetrical blossom or if it is more asymmetrical. Some flowers may not appear to have regular petals at all or may have tubular parts.

Step 4

Note the shape, color, size and number of leaves on the flower, because this is the second easiest part to use in identifying the plant. Are they whorled, alternate or simple in shape?

Step 5

Note the environment of the flower. Did you find it in the woods, near a bog, by a stream or riverbed, in tall grass near the coast or on the ridge of a mountain?

Step 6

Take a picture of the flower or sketch it so that you can compare it to the field guide later if you don't have the field guide with you, or take the image to a flower expert. In Bar Harbor, Maine, you can take a narrated trip through Acadia National Park on a tour of a wild garden.

Step 7

Compare your flower to those in the field guides according to color, number of petals, leaves and location, in that order. In most cases you will be able to deduce which species it is by using the field guide on your own. But if there is any question, take your photo and description to a more experienced person.

Things You'll Need

  • Regional field guide
  • digital camera
  • notebook
  • pencils


  • "Wildflowers of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont"; Alan E. Bessette, Arlene Rainis Bessette, William K. Chapman, Valery Conley Chapman; 2001
  • "Maine Trees and Wild Flowers: An Introduction to Familiar Species" (State Nature Guides); James Kavanagh; 2008
  • Acadia National Park

Who Can Help

  • Maine Wildflower Farm
Keywords: identify Maine flowers, Maine wild flowers, Maine flower identifcation

About this Author

Naomi Judd, CIG, has been a writer for six years and been published in Tidal Echoes, Centripetal, The Capital City Weekly and She has a self-designed Bachelor of Arts degree in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is currently earning an Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from University of Southern Maine.