Native Plants of New Jersey
In the midst of its thriving commercial industries and large population are efforts to preserve New Jersey’s native plants. Bordered by Pennsylvania to the west, New York to the north, Delaware to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the east coast state of New Jersey has varying climates and an abundance of native plant species. New Jersey’s residents, commercial landscapers, parks and nature preserves are encouraged to plant native species to protect the integrity of and revitalize the state’s natural environment.
Violet: The State Flower
Violet (Viola sororia) grows as an annual and a perennial native flowering herb in New Jersey and the eastern half of North America, including Saskatchewan in Canada. A member of Violaceae family, it actively grows in spring, reaching less than a half a foot in height, and it blooms with purple flowers in mid-spring to early summer. Violet is shade-tolerant and requires moist soil. Violet was officially declared the state flower of New Jersey in 1971, and it is also known as common blue violet, door-yard violet and hairy wood violet.
Northern Red Oak
Declared the official state tree of New Jersey in 1950 and native to New Jersey and most of the eastern and central regions of North America, the northern red oak (Quercus rubra L. or Quercus borealis maxima) is a perennial tree of the Fagaceae or beech family. It grows in moist soil and tolerates some shade in its early stages--being under the shade of taller trees--but needs full sun at mature height. This tree grows to a towering 98 feet and produces burgundy flowers in the spring and “saucer-to-cup” acorns in late summer through mid-fall. Its pale green leaves turn deep red during the fall season.
A perennial herb native to New Jersey and the eastern half of the United States, nakedflower ticktrefoil (Desmodium nudiflorum) is a member of the Fabaceae family that grows just over 3 feet tall and produces pinkish or purple flowers from mid- to late summer. Nakedflower ticktrefoil is a shade-loving native plant that grows in rich, moist soil, usually in wooded areas. It is also known as bare-stemmed tick-trefoil.
A biennial and perennial member of the Ranunculaceae family, littleleaf buttercup or small-flowered buttercup (Ranunculus abortivus L.) is a native plant of New Jersey and most of North America. It’s a low-growing flowering plant that grows under 3 feet in height. Littleleaf buttercup actively grows in the spring and summertime, and its yellow flowers bloom from mid-spring to early summer. It grows in moist soil and is shade tolerant.