Michigan's native plants are unique to their central-northern Great Lakes environment. The characteristics of native plants that make their roles vital to the sustainability of Michigan landscape include their established adaptation to the land's soil types and weather changes, the ability of their root systems to help the soil retain water, and the natural homes their foliage provide for native animal species. Preserving and planting native plants for Michigan are investments in the future of Michigan's natural landscape.
Declared the state flower of Michigan in 1897, apple blossom (Pyrus coronaria or Malus coronaria) is native to Michigan, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Kansas, Arkansas, the eastern United States region and Ontario, Canada. A perennial tree, apple blossom is a member of the Rosaceae family and is known as American crabapple, wild sweet crabapple and sweet crab. It grows to 14 feet tall and needs partial-shade to full-sun exposure. Its soft, fragrant white and pinkish blossoms bloom throughout spring, and its edible fruit ripen in the fall.
Eastern White Pine
An evergreen that reaches towering heights of 40 feet, the eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) is a member of the Pinaceae family. The tree produces its strobili (reproductive parts) in late spring, and it actively grows during the spring and summer. Eastern white pine grows in full sun to partial shade and in moist soil. The tree is native to Michigan and the eastern half of North America, as far south as Georgia and Tennessee, and also is known as northern pine, soft pine and northern white pine.
Closed Bottle Gentian
A perennial herb member of the Gentianaceae family, closed bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) produces white or bluish-purple, closed blossoms from mid- to late summer through the fall. The plant grows to 2 feet in height and does well in partial sun or full sun. Closed bottle gentian does well in moist to moderately dry soil and is native to Michigan, west to Colorado, east to Massachusetts and south to Illinois and as far north as Quebec, Canada. It also is known as bottled gentian, Andrew's gentian, prairie closed gentian, Sampson's snakeroot and gall flower.
A wonderful water garden addition, arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia) requires very moist soil conditions and grows abundantly in Michigan's wetland areas. A member of the Alismataceae family, broadleaf arrowhead is a perennial herb that grows 4 to 5 feet tall in full sun. Its white flowers bloom in mid- to late spring. Broadleaf arrowhead is also named duck potato, arrowhead and wapato.