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Native North American Wildflowers

Updated on March 2, 2013

What's special about wildflowers?

Long before I trekked the paths of Mackinac Island, where daisies and other flowers grew in abundance, I was in love with wildflowers. My father, an avid outdoorsman, took us camping and I would observe the beauty of the fields and woods. I look forward to the changing of the seasons. Springtime brings the flowering trees and the winter’s ground opens to reveal crocuses and daffodils leading the way for summer. Here are a few of the wildflowers I love to see.



Photos of Daisies and Blackeyed Susans

Daisy and Black Eyed Susan
Daisy and Black Eyed Susan | Source

Yellow and White Wildflowers

Daisy: A white, Ox-Eye Daisy is the ‘flower’ for the month of April. I’ve been familiar with this flower since my pre-teen years, April being my birthday month. When my father would leave for outdoor excursions, I would follow along gathering fistfuls to place in the house when we returned.

A Daisy has the history of being the choice flower to determine if a heartthrob loves you: “He loves me, he loves me not” is the statement used as one plucks the petals that surround the bright yellow center.

Black-eyed Susan: The Black-eyed Susan is another field flower that grows abundantly during the summer months in North America along roadsides, in fields and meadows. Its shape is similar to the Daisy-a long green stem with small leaves along it, and bright yellow petals surrounding a chocolate brown center.

Maryland’s state flower since April 18, 1918, the Maryland Association of School Libraries sponsors a reading program to promote literacy called the Black-Eyed Susan Award. Each year students in all age groups register to vote for their favorite from a select group of books. They must read at least three of the nominated selections to enter their vote. The winning author receives an engraved pewter plate.


Meadows and gardens are brightened by colorful lilies

Day Lilies
Day Lilies | Source

Variety of Lilies

There are many types of lilies that grow abundantly across the nation, along roadside or in swampy wooded areas. Tiger lilies can be discerned from other lilies because their leaves alternate along the stem. The Day lily is noticeably different from other lilies in that family on two counts: first, because it lacks the spots that are visible markings for other lilies, and second, because, true to its name, it lasts only one day.

The bright orange petals vary between curling backward, as seen in the Turk’s-Cap; hanging over like a bell, as seen in the Canada Lily; and the Michigan Lily whose petals appear to be a combination of the Canada Lily and the Turk’s Cap: a drooping head whose petals curl back.

Variety of lilies also come in yellow. Some of these include the Canada Lily, the Trout Lily and the Clintonia.


Photos of Sunflowers

Sunflowers
Sunflowers | Source

Prairie Wildflowers

Sunflowers can be commonly found throughout the Great Plains and is the state flower of Kansas. Native American’s used this plant for food and medicinal purposes, and through careful propagation and cultivation sunflower oil and seeds are consumed on a regular basis.

There is no mistaking the tall, graceful sunflower. It looms above other wildflowers on a coarse stem between 5 -12 feet tall. It’s ‘head’ is filled with tiny florets that mature into sunflower seeds, and the sterile florets surround the center with bright, yellow petals that follow the path of the sun.

The Sunflower has been revered by many ancient cultures, such as the Aztecs.

The Forget-Me-Not: A Delicate Blue Beauty

Forget-Me-Not
Forget-Me-Not | Source

Blue Wildflower

The tiny Forget-me-not belongs to the largest state in the union: Alaska, as its state flower. The dainty, blue flower grows in clusters on its stem, a speck of yellow in the center. I first came across this delicate plant on Mackinac Island, a summer resort in Michigan, on Lake Huron. It grew abundantly throughout the island. I saw it in this abundance again, while living in our Northern most state. For anyone who has visited or lived in Alaska, you know how applicable a choice it is as a state flower. One doesn’t easily forget Alaska.

The genus name, Myosotis, is Greek for ‘mouse’s ear’, referencing the leaves. It has a strong folklore history. In one German legend it is said that when God was naming the plants, this tiny flower spoke up saying, “Forget me not, O, Lord” and God granted it that name. In a second religious themed legend, the Christ child was sitting on Mother Mary’s lap when he said he wished that future generations could see her eyes. He touched her eyes, then sweeping his hand across the ground, the blue flowers appeared. Ladies wear this flower as a symbol of faithfulness and lasting love. It is reminisce of a legend about a knight and his lady. As he picked a bouquet of these delicate flowers, he fell into the river, but threw the bouquet to her and shouted, “Forget-me-not” before being swept away. It used to be the symbol for the departed, until the poppy replaced it.




Colorful Poppies can be found across the country

Poppies
Poppies | Source

Meadow Wildflower: Poppies

Poppies grow in abundance in fields and can show up in any color. There relaxed, gentle swaying in the breeze is an easy fit for the laid back days of summer. The Poppy consists of four, broad petals on a thin stem, of which there are many varieties of. The California Poppy , a yellow-orange/gold colored version, is the state flower. During the spring season a blanket of poppies cover Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, and the state has an official poppy day that was established April 6, 1903; as well as a California Poppy Festival.

In North Carolina, colorful poppies can be seen bobbing their heads along highways, thanks to the 1987 Surface Transportation Urban Relocation Authorization Act which required beautifying federal highway landscapes.

Poppies have the reputation of being associated with sleep and death. In the movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and friends have a foiled attempt to cross the poppy field because of the sleepiness that the flowers induced. Opium Poppies can be used as a powerfully, addictive drug that promotes tranquility. The Veterans of Foreign Legions have used the red Poppy as a symbol of those that have lost their lives in war. It is now the official flower of ‘remembrance’.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

There are many wildflowers that we enjoy along roads, woods, wetlands, meadows, and in our backyards.  But, at least 30% of the native plants of North America are endangered of becoming extinct.  In Minnesota, the state flower, the Pink and White Lady’s Slipper, is on the endangered list.  It is unlawful to pick or remove this plant from its natural habitat.    

In 1982, Lady Bird Johnson co-founded with actress Helen Hayes, the National Wildflower Research Center , (housed at the University of Texas, Austin), for the promotion and restoration of native plants.  The center, now renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center , educates the public, teaches gardeners how to grow endangered species, and offers an online database network for native plant information. 

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

A markerLady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX 78739 -
4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX 78739, USA
get directions

Why should we protect the wildflowers?

Here are some important reasons why we must be guardians for wildflowers of our land:

1. Their beauty brightens our countryside and our homes.

2. They are an important addition to our water and soil conservation.

3. They are an important part of our ecosystem offering a habitat for birds and insects

4. They offer medicinal uses.

5. They offer food sources.

Please help to spread the word to ensure that future generations may enjoy the beauty that we do.

Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. It will be open on Easter Sunday, (April 24, 2011) and Memorial Day, (Monday, May 30, 2011). There is a fee.

For photography enthusiasts the www.wildflower.org site is hosting a photo contest. Click: ‘About’ for further information. Contest entries are accepted through June 15, 2011.

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    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 6 years ago from United States

      Wow. What a beautiful hub. I learned so much about wildflowers. The beauty of the photos would brighten someone's bad day. Beautiful!

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 6 years ago

      Awesome hub... I am crazy about flowers and the picture of the forget-me-not is truly unforgettable....Love them Denise, (((((Hugs)))))) Thanks for brightening my day!!! Love ya !!! :)

    • Karanda profile image

      Karen Wilton 6 years ago from Australia

      Beautiful photos and a terrific read. The day lillies are a favourite of mine, but then I love the smiling faces of the sunflowers too.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      Wow, this is probably one of the most beautiful hubs that I've read thus far. Plus, I had no idea that there was a Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center close to where I live. Funny on how things can literally exist in your own backyard, yet you don't even realize it. I'll definitely have to make some plans to visit there someday now that I know where it is. Thanks again Denise for another great read. :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Hi Denise,

      I love anything to do with nature and this hub was beautiful.

      I push all the buttons on this one.

      Take care

      Eiddwen.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      This is a beautiful Hub, Denise, and I just love the photographs of the wildflowers! I too love wildflowers and photograph them often in our travels. What better way to enjoy nature than a walk in the fields, desert,mountains or woods looking at beautiful flowers? Rated up and beautiful!

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

      This is an absolutely gorgeous hub - what photography! We are just planting our wildflowers this week, so now we can see what we have to look forward to. This hub is definitely being voted "up"!

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      this is really beautiful Denise

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for your feedback, everyone. I was blown away when I opened this page to reply and saw so many comments. The beauty of the flowers speak for themselves. I appreciate everyone's time to stop and read and leave a comment. Many Blessings.

      Steven-I hope you do visit the Wildflower center and if I am ever in TX I plan to do that also. Let me know how it is after you go.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Wow the photos are a beautiful compliment to the wonderful writing. Thanks for brightening up a snowy day! :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      Denise- you've brought spring and sunshine into my day. What a beautiful hub and absolutely gorgeous pics. thanks for sharing the wildflowers with us! voted up/beautiful.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Cara-I can hardly wait to get to Michigan this w/e and enjoy the 'winter' Easter , LOL Thanks for your comments.

      Mohan-how nice to see you. Congratulations on your featured hub this week. Cara and I both have one listed this week as well. I'm glad you were cheered by the bright colors of the wildflowers. Thanks for the vote up.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      The pictures of the wildflowers are beautiful. I think there is nothing more stunning than a flower in it's natual habitat.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi KKGals-Thanks for checking out the hub. I agree. Although I love daisies, I was touched by the Forget Me Nots gently touching the water and its reflection.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      Beautiful wildflowers! I love them, all of them! Poppies have always been a favorite but it is hard to choose. Very enjoyable hub Denise!

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 6 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Hi Denise, I love the forget-me-nots and they always pop up somewhere in my yard. Wasn't aware of the legends that accompany them. This year quite a few showed up in one of my flower beds and I am letting them do their thing. Same with the daisies. I have a wild daisy patch,but added some shasta daisies to it. Enjoy the beautiful photos and information!

    • lindatymensky profile image

      lindatymensky 6 years ago

      Great article. Wonderful Pictures. Thanks.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you ChatKath-thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you enjoyed it. There's a junction by the highway that is filled with colorful poppies.

      Thanks Fossillady for your comments about the forget me nots. The photo here was so awesome I had to include it. I LOVE the shasta daisy. Mackinac Island is full of them. Thanks.

      Hello Linda-thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I appreciate it.

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 6 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Excellent Hub again Denise. tHE photos are awesome and so beautiful. This hub certainly brighten my day, plus I learned so much about the wildflowers.

      Thanks for sharing this with us and see you in the forum :):)

      Voted UP and Beautiful

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Mark-thanks for reading and commenting. Those photos are a bright spot on this hub, that's for sure!

    • upal19 profile image

      Ashraf Mir 6 years ago from Dhaka

      What colorful are those! Thanks for sharing.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hello upal19-thank you for following me and reading/commenting on this hub. I'm looking forward to reading your work.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      ...this is such a beautiful hub collection of flowers Denise - so nice to hook up with you again my friend - hope all is well with you in your life and thank you once again for this fabulous riot of colors ...and in closing - two other hub buddies of mine have great flower hubs too - EIDDWEN and FOSSILLADY

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you Sir Epi for visiting the site. I think of this when I drive down the highway and see the beautiful flowers that were planted b/c of the wildflower campaign. I'll be sure to check out Eiddwen and Kathy's hubs as well. Have a wonderful weekend, my dear friend.

    • Aaron Megquier profile image

      Aaron Megquier 5 years ago from Belfast, ME

      Beautiful hub, Denise! You did a great job choosing wildflowers that grow in many different parts of the country. I especially appreciated the background info on legends and cultural uses of these plants. Well done!!

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you, Aaron. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I was just driving past a field of Black eyed Susan's and this hub came into my mind today. :)

      Nice to meet you and Welcome to hubpages. I'm looking forward to reading your work.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      I love wildflowers, and this is a beautiful hub. Voted up!

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Habee-I love wildflowers too, as you can tell. LOL Thanks for stopping by. :)

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

      Dee, I love wildflowers too. We have LOTS of daylilies in our yard - they are so easy to grow. We try to stick with native plants and flowers and more and more, I look for those that can withstand hotter temps and droughts. Nice hub

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Danette-i didn't realize that you had not seen this one before. I know you love the wildflowers. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Beautiful wildflowers! You've inspired me to study the ones in North Carolina even more than I have. Your pictures are stunning and just lovely. Voted and shared.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      A beautiful hub. Enjoyed the photos. Flowers are so beautiful, I love thme. Great hub. Voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      The poppies are the best! Lovely photos with such beautiful colors.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Cyndi-I'm sure your studies of the wildflowers of NC will be joyful. :) thanks for the share.

      Vellur-thank you for your comments and vote. :)

      Hello teaches-thank you for your feedback. We have fields of these brightly colored poppies right around the corner from my home. :)

    • Trees for me profile image

      Trees for me 5 years ago from www.treesforme.com

      Every flower is or was a wildflower somewhere! Thanks for sharing about the importance of native wildflowers and putting together such a beautiful, enjoyable hub! I have been to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, what a spectacular place. We were lucky enough to go just after the grand opening of their arboretum.. anything with trees-I'm there! They do wonderful work. Voted up!

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Trees for me-thanks for visiting one of my favorite hubs, haha. I would love to see the LBJ wildflower center! Maybe one day I will get to. Yes, "three cheers for trees!" Rated way up for those magnificent living beings. Thanks for the vote.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      BTW, Trees for me-another hub you may be interested in is one I wrote about trees: Trees, Magical, Mysterious and Sacred. :) I'm sure you will appreciate it.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Wonderful pictures, Denise, and we should protect wildflowers and all aspects of nature. Thanks for sharing!

    • shrutiwrites profile image

      Shruti Nagar 4 years ago from Mumbai, India

      Lovely pictures! Many of these are found here in India as well. They grew in my dad's little garden. You brought back many memories!

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Michelle-thank you for your comments. I agree. Without wildlife, our senses would have lost an opportunity to experience the beauty of nature.

      Hi shrutwrites-thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. I'm happy you had an opportunity to visit pleasant memories! Namaste.

    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this beauty with us... voted up and beautiful.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I have often wondered why wildflowers are not planted in highway median strips instead of grass. It would save money by not having to mow, plus they would be so beautiful.

      I tried planting wildflowers in the front of my house once, but they never thrived.

      Voted UP and shared.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Denise,

      A fellow wildflower lover! Like you we love wildflowers wherever they bloom. When I was a child I used to pick wild daisies to give to my mother and grandmother. We love taking drives out into the countryside this time of year to enjoy the bluebonnets and other fields of wildflowers. I have also written hubs on that subject. Another hub tells about Wildseed Farms which is one of the largest wildflower farms in the country. Amazing place to visit! Up votes and sharing this pretty as well as informative hub with others.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      This hub made my day. It is informative, interesting and awesome!

      I am a big supporter of growing native wildflowers in our flower beds. I have been doing it for a long time now. Some people don't like them, but when butterflies alight in abundance on some of them, the rethinking begins on their part.

      Also, my family and I tend to take pictures of wildflowers wherever we vacation and have a good collection of pictures.

      I will be writing hubs on our hiking adventures and will try to write a small para on wildflowers in each of them.

      Thank you for sharing a beautiful hub.

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      These hubs really promotes our nature and are full of knowledge and connects us to our roots.

    • Lizolivia profile image

      Lizolivia 4 years ago from Central USA

      An enjoyable read and informative, the photos are beautiful. It's reassuring to know there are groups to protect wildflowers that will also protect the bee population.

    • Denise Handlon profile image
      Author

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks, Mike-I appreciate your comment and votes. :)

      Mary-I'm so delighted that NC does plant these wildflowers along the highway. It is such a lovely and colorful view on my drive to work.

      Peggy-I used to do the same thing as a young girl, pick daisies, (that was my favorite), and place them in glass jars on the table. Boy, they are a hearty flower! Thanks for your comments.

      Suhail-nice to meet you. I'm glad you enjoyed this hub...keep up the good work growing native wildflowers. Anything that adds beauty AND butterflies is alright in my book! Best to you on your hubs.

      Hi pinto-thanks for your thoughtful comment.

      Hello Lizolivia-I'm glad you enjoyed the beautiful photos and info here.

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