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Native Plants in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania landscape is home to more than 2,000 native plant species. The efforts to preserve Pennsylvania’s flora will have long-term effects in preventing devastating and irreversible ecological changes. When planting in Pennsylvania, choose native varieties. They thrive well in their natural soil conditions, require less maintenance than many non-native species and most of all they add natural beauty to their landscape.

Blue Cohosh

Also known as squaw-root and papoose-root, blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) is a perennial native to Pennsylvania and to the eastern half of North America. The plant belongs to the Berberidaceae family, grows to 3 feet tall and produces yellow or green blossoms in midsummer and true-blue berry clusters from spring to summer. Native to forest and woody areas, blue cohosh does well in shaded areas and in moist soil.

Woodland Flax

A perennial herb native to Pennsylvania and eastern North America, woodland flax (Linum virginianum) belongs to the Linaceae family. Also known as wild flax and slender yellow flax, it produces yellow blossoms from June through August. Woodland flax thrives in forest areas and in dry to moderately moist soil.

Wild Lupine

Belonging to the Fabaceae family—the bean family—wild lupine (Lupinus perennis) is a perennial herb native to the woodlands and prairies of Pennsylvania, eastern North America and Texas. Also known as sundial lupine, the plant grows up to 2 feet in height and produces seed pods. Wild lupine grows numerous blue, pink or white blossoms arranged around the racemes forming an elongated flowering cluster atop the stem. Its flowers bloom between spring and summer, and the plant thrives in full sun or partial shade and dry to moist soil.

Oak Fern

A perennial herb of the Dryopteridaceae family, oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris) is a native plant of Pennsylvania and the northern half of the United States and Canada, and it also grows in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Oak fern is also named western oak fern and common oak fern. Oak fern is a low-growing fern that grows less than 15 inches tall. It thrives in moist forest conditions and is shade-tolerant.


A member of the Scrophulariaceae family, turtlehead (Chelone glabra) is perennial flowering herb native to Pennsylvania and eastern North America. The plant grows up to 3 feet in height and produces white or yellow-tinted flowering lobe clusters that resemble the head of a turtle. Turtlehead’s flowers are in bloom from mid- to late summer. Also known as white turtlehead, the plant thrives in wet soil conditions, in the partial shade of forests and woodlands.

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