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Native Trees and Plants of South Carolina

By T.M. Samuels ; Updated September 21, 2017

South Carolina has many beautiful native plants and trees that should be incorporated into gardens. Native trees and plants will grow better than nonnatives as they are plants designed for that environment. They also are great to plant for help in conservation efforts. South Carolina native plants and trees can work together in many applications such as containers, planters, tree-centered garden plots and landscaping.

Ash Leaf Maple

The ash leaf maple, Acer negundo, is a native tree from the maple family. It will get 35 to 50 feet tall with deciduous light green leaves. Flowers are yellow, brown or green in March and April. There are green samara fruits with brown seeds. Grow this one in sun with moist soil. It will attract birds to the landscape.

Striped Maple

The striped maple, Acer pensylvanicum, is a native tree from the maple family. It will get 20 to 40 feet tall with deciduous green leaves that turn lemon yellow in the fall. Blooms are yellow, green or brown in April and May. Grow this one in partial shade or shade in moist well-drained acidic soil. Propagate via seed or cuttings.

Common Leopardbane

Common leopardbane, Arnica acaulis, is a native perennial herb from the aster family. It will get 2 feet tall with yellow flowers in April through June. Leaves are coarse and hairy. Grow this one in shady spots in moist soil.


Chinkapin, Castanea pumila, is a native shrub from the beech family. It will get 30 feet tall with dark green leaves that are yellow or purple in the fall. Flowers are yellow or white in March through June. Grow this one in dry acidic well drained soil in partial shade.

White Fringetree

White fringetree, Chionanthus virginicus, is a native deciduous tree from the olive family. It will get 15 to 30 feet tall with fragrant clusters of white flowers in April and May. There are dark green leaves and fruits are bluish black. Grow this one in partial shade and moist soil. It will attract birds to the landscape.

Blue Mistflower

Blue mistflower, Conoclinium coelestinum, is a native flower in the aster family. It will get 3 feet tall with toothed leaves and clusters of blue or violet flowers. Flowers bloom in July to November. Grow this one in sun or partial shade in moist soil. It will attract birds and butterflies. Propagate via seed or division.


About the Author


T.M. Samuels has been a freelance writer since 1993. She has published works in "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living" and "Mature Years," and is the author of a gardening book. Samuels studied pre-medicine at Berry College.