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Native Plants of France

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Whether you're replicating a French countryside garden in your own home, or hoping to identify the flora of France while on a vacation, you'll find familiar plants and flowers that are native to that country. These plants grow wild in the French countryside and forests, and some have gained culinary importance in the French pantry.

Iris

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Yellow, deep purple or bi-colored, Iris lutescens is native to the French countryside. It is often found in woods, rocky areas and slopes. This iris averages 4 to 16 inches in height. It has the traditional bearded iris shape with ruffled petals. The plant leaves are thin green stalks that do not grow as tall as the flower.

Jonquil

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A member of the narcissus family, jonquil (Narcissus jonquilla) is native to Spain, Portugal and France. It has a very sweet fragrance, and blossoms in the spring. Jonquil has the trumpet-shaped flower common to daffodils, with smaller petals that surround the central cone. Jonquil's leaves are darker than that of the daffodil and may appear greasy. The flowers do best in full sun but can tolerate part sun.

Chestnut

Found both in the wild and as a landscape tree in France, the European chestnut (Castanea sativa) can grow up to 100 feet tall. Called marron in French, the chestnut is enjoyed as a gourmet food. These trees provide chestnuts for baked goods, savory dishes and chestnut flour. Chestnuts grow in spiny green pods that made this tree easy to identify. The tree's glossy dark green leaves have thick veins.

Yellow Gentian

Yellow gentian (Gentiana lutea) grows throughout the French countryside. Its bright yellow flowers grow along a central stalk. The blooms have six narrow petals and a cluster of stamens in the center of the flower. Yellow gentian flowers in the summer. The plant can grow in part sun to full sun, and prefers moist soils.

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