Indigenous Plants in Oregon

Oregon lies within United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. This state experiences a temperate climate, with Western Oregon receiving high levels of rain and the mountain regions receiving the most snow. If you live in Oregon, select native plants according to intended use, mature size, general culture and bloom time.

Oregon Vine Maple

The Oregon vine maple (Acer circinatum) belongs in the Aceraceae plant family. This small tree or tall shrub ranges from 10 to 20 feet in height with spreads up to 35 feet. Oregon vine maples feature vibrant, red-green bark and bright green leaves that turn yellow, orange or red shades in the autumn. Clusters of small, purple and white blossoms appear from March through May, followed by bright red fruit during the summer. This perennial plant prefers moist soils in shady positions. Oregon gardeners often plant the Oregon vine maple along stream banks or in shaded woodland areas.

Oregon Laurel

The Oregon laurel (Arbutus menziesii), also called the Pacific madrone, ranges from 50 to 100 feet in height. This heath family member (Ericaceae) features red-brown bark that sloughs off to reveal a shiny, red-brown inner surface. This evergreen tree also bears grayish-green leaves with light undersides. White flower clusters bloom during the spring, giving way to reddish-orange berries that attract birds and deer. The Oregon laurel tolerates various moisture and lighting conditions, but prefers acidic, sandy soils. This Oregon native plant works well along rocky coastlines and on wooded slopes.

Oregon Teatree

The Oregon teatree (Ceanothus sanguineus), sometimes called the wild lilac, belongs to the buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae) and likes well-drained soils. This Oregon native plant features red or purple twigs and thin, deep green leaves. Long, white flower clusters appear from May through July. This ornamental shrub ranges from 3 to 10 feet in height. Oregon gardeners often use the Oregon teatree in dry woodland areas and butterfly gardens.


The Oregon-tea plant (Clinopodium douglasii), also known as the yerba buena, naturally occurs in Oregon forests and prairies. This Lamiaceae family member typically reaches less than 12 inches in height, but spreads out up to 6 feet. The Oregon-tea bears vibrant green leaves that smell like mint when crushed. Small, white flowers bloom from April through September. This low-growing perennial requires moist soils in partially shady locations. The Oregon-tea plant performs well as a groundcover in moist, shady woodland areas.

Oregon Fawn-Lily

The Oregon fawn-lily (Erythronium oregonum), sometimes called the giant white fawn-lily, belongs to the Liliaceae plant family and tolerates various lighting and soil conditions. This herbaceous perennial bears mottled leaves that grow up to 10 inches long. Oregon fawn-lilies feature long flower stems that display white, pale pink or light purple flowers. Mature plants range from 12 to 36 inches tall. The Oregon fawn-lily generally works well planted in rocky prairies and moist woodland gardens.

Keywords: indigenous Oregon plants, native Oregon plants, indigenous Oregon flowers

About this Author

Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for the past decade. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on websites like and, among others. Carson holds a master’s degrees in writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in psychology.