Wildflowers of the Eastern Woodlands

Deciduous forests cover much of the eastern United States, gradually giving way to coniferous forests farther north and grasslands to the west. Dominated by deciduous trees, eastern forests typically have several vertical layers of vegetation, including a dense, upper canopy of mature trees; a subcanopy of smaller or immature trees; and an understory of shrubs and low-growing herbaceous plants. Many woodland wildflowers, called spring ephemerals, bloom before the trees have leafed out; other species, which can tolerate partial or complete shade, flower later. The species in this collection comprise some of the most common spring wildflowers in eastern deciduous forests.


Scientific Name Common Name Duration Habit Sun Water
Actaea rubra Red baneberry Perennial Herb Sun, Shade, Part-shade Moist
Anemone quinquefolia Wood anemone, Nightcaps Perennial Herb Shade, Part-shade Moist
Aquilegia canadensis Eastern red columbine, Wild red columbine Perennial Herb Shade, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Aralia nudicaulis Wild sarsaparilla Perennial Subshrub Sun, Shade Moist
Arisaema triphyllum Jack in the pulpit, Indian jack in the pulpit, Jack-in-the-pulpit Perennial Herb Sun, Shade Wet, Moist
Caltha palustris Yellow marsh marigold, Yellow marsh-marigold, Cowslip Perennial Herb Shade, Part-shade Wet, Moist
Claytonia caroliniana Carolina springbeauty Perennial Herb Part-shade Wet, Moist
Clintonia borealis Bluebead, Yellow bluebead-lily, Clintonia, Blue-bead lily Perennial Herb Shade Moist
Cornus canadensis Bunchberry dogwood, Canadian bunchberry Perennial Herb Sun, Shade, Part-shade Moist
Cypripedium acaule Moccasin flower, Pink lady's slipper Perennial Herb Shade, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Cypripedium parviflorum Lesser yellow lady's slipper, Yellow lady's-slipper orchid Perennial Herb Part-shade Wet, Moist
Cypripedium reginae Showy lady's slipper Perennial Herb Moist
Dicentra cucullaria Dutchman's breeches Perennial Herb Sun, Shade, Part-shade Moist
Erythronium americanum Yellow trout-lily, American trout-lily, Dogtooth violet, Eastern trout-lily, Adder's tongue Perennial Herb Part-shade Moist
Geranium maculatum Spotted geranium, Wild geranium, Cranesbill Perennial Herb Shade, Part-shade Moist
Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa Roundlobe hepatica, Round-lobed hepatica, Liverleaf Perennial Herb Shade, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Linnaea borealis Twinflower, American twinflower Perennial Herb Sun, Shade, Part-shade Wet, Moist
Maianthemum canadense Canada Mayflower, False Lily-of-the-valley Perennial Herb Shade, Part-shade Wet, Moist
Maianthemum racemosum Feathery false lily of the valley, False Solomon's seal, Feathery false Solomon's seal, False spikenard, Solomon's plume, Smilacina Perennial Herb
Podophyllum peltatum Mayapple, Indian apple, Wild mandrake, Pomme de mai, Podophylle pelt Perennial Herb Shade, Part-shade Moist
Polygala paucifolia Gaywings, Fringed Polygala, Flowering wintergreen Perennial Herb Moist
Sanguinaria canadensis Bloodroot Perennial Herb Shade, Part-shade Wet, Moist
Silene virginica Fire pink, Scarlet catchfly Perennial Herb Part-shade Moist, Dry
Tiarella cordifolia Heartleaf foamflower, Heart-leaf foamflower Perennial Herb Shade Moist
Trientalis borealis Starflower Perennial Herb Shade Moist
Trillium cernuum Whip-poor-will flower, Nodding trillium, Nodding wakerobin Perennial Herb Shade Moist
Trillium erectum Red trillium, Red wakerobin, Stinking Benjamin, Wet dog trillium, Wet dog wakerobin, Purple trillium, Purple wakerobin Perennial Herb Part-shade Moist
Trillium grandiflorum White wake-robin, White trillium, Large-flower wake-robin, Large-flower trillium, Large-flowered wake-robin, Large-flowered trillium Perennial Herb Sun, Shade, Part-shade Moist
Trillium undulatum Painted trillium, Painted wakerobin Perennial Herb Sun, Shade Moist
Uvularia grandiflora Largeflower bellwort, Large-flower bellwort, Merrybells Perennial Herb Shade Moist