Native Plants in Michigan

Over 1,800 plants are native to Michigan, including some that are invasive and 51 endangered species. Because of Michigan's diverse landscape, which includes mountains, lakefronts and wetlands, the list of native plants includes everything from towering pines to small berry bushes.

Balsam Fir

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) is a Michigan native and a member of the Pinaceae family. This tall, symmetrical tree thrives in swamps and wet woods and is sometimes confused for a spruce, though the needles on the balsam fir are softer. Sometimes grown as Christmas trees, the cones on balsam firs grow upright, rather than hanging down. These trees thrive in full sun to light shade and need regular watering.

Lowbush Blueberry

Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) is a Michigan native and part of the Ericaceae family. This shrub has small, serrated leaves and grows to two feet. Lowbush blueberries spread via an underground root system and make good ground cover. A bluish-black berry is produced during summer and in Maine and Canada's Maritime provinces, these berries are harvested in commercial quantities. The plants thrive in full sun, acidic soil and need little water, though they should not be allowed to dry out.

Virginia Creeper

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a member of the Vitaceae family and is a creeping vine with sticky tendrils that can be used as ground cover or grown up a wall or trellis. It may also be used to control erosion on hillsides. This vine can grow to 50 feet long and have five distinct, 6-inch leaflets in each cluster. Foliage turns dull red in fall. Virginia creeper is not fussy about light and will do well in full sun or partial share with regular watering.

Keywords: Balsam fir, Lowbush blueberry, Virginia creeper

About this Author

J.D.Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the U.S. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as writing about travel, health and other issues. Chi received her bachelor's degree in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward her master's in journalism.