Michigan Wildflowers – Michigan Native Flowers

The state has a wide variety of beautiful and diverse flora and fauna species. However, the Michigan wildflowers are a standout among them all.

It’s amazing to see the diversity of Michigan’s wildflowers. However, when you go hiking it can be difficult to identify which flowers you are seeing.

If you don’t have the expertise, it is easy to overlook rare and special wildflowers.

You don’t have to be a scientist to learn about and identify the Michigan wildflowers.

A help guide has been prepared to help you identify a wildflower when you go on a Michigan hike or explore the state.

These are our top wildflowers and a little bit about them so you can identify and enjoy them.

Dwarf Lake Iris, Iris lacustris

The official state wildflower of Michigan, the dwarf lake, is not complete without it.

These tiny blue beauties can be found along the shores of Lake Huron and northern Lake Michigan. They are considered a threatened species and are likely to be endangered in the near future. This makes them a little difficult to spot.

It is a treasure hunt to find one. They are rare and small, only two inches above the ground. But once you do, it will yield a state treasure like no other.

Fun Fact: Mackinac Island was the first place that Dwarf Lake Iris was discovered.

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea)

The common Michigan wildflower, the Indian Paintbrush, is also known as butterfly weed due to the number of butterflies that are attracted to it.

The Indian Paintbrush is not the only pollinator, however. These flowers are perfect for hummingbirds, because of their structure.

It can be found in fields, along sandy roadsides and in woodland openings. Many of these were found along roads on the Leelanau Peninsula.

Fun fact: The cardinal flower is often mistaken for the indian paintbrush because of their similar colors and structures.

“Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) & Brown-Eyed Susan ( Rudbeckia triloba)

The “Susans”, one of Michigan’s most well-known summer wildflowers, are the “Susans”.

These little yellow flowers, which are similar to their larger cousins: the sunflowers, brighten open fields throughout the state from June through September.

You can tell the difference by looking at their petals. Black-eyed susans will have shorter, slimmer petals that their brown-eyed sisters.

Fun Fact – The Kalamazoo area’s brown-eyed susans are believed to be the inspiration for the colors of Western Michigan University’s brown and gold hues.

Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis Matronalis).

Dame’s Rocket is an invasive species in Michigan. It is one of few wildflowers that people can pull from the ground.

They are beautiful with their delicate petals and purple and pink colors, but they can also be troublesome because of their rapid reproduction. This interferes with the reproduction and lives of other native plants as well as all animals that depend on Michigan’s balanced botanic ecosystem.

Fun Fact: Wild blue phlox is threatened and can sometimes be mistaken for Dames rocket. You can see the difference in counting petals: whereas phloxes only have four petals, dame’s rockets have five.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

It is extremely rare to find purple coneflowers in Michigan.

Although this flower is almost impossible to find wild, it is still worth knowing. They are large and colorful, making them a great addition to any garden, bringing lots of butterflies to your yard.

Fun fact: The purple coneflower has medicinal properties. It can be used to make a herbal tea that boosts your immune system.

Fringed Orchid (Platanthera lacera)

Michigan’s only resident fringed orchid is the rare fringed orchid. This endangered species is found in wetlands such as marches and wet meadows. It is particularly common in northern Michigan and the upper Peninsula.

These wildflowers are in full bloom from late June through early July. The blossoms peek over the tops of the tall grass. This only lasts about 7-10 days so it is important to find one in the wild.

Fun fact: A fringed orchid stalk can produce up to 40 flowers.

Water Lily (Nymphaeaceae).

The Michigan wildflower world’s sleeper hit is water lilies.

They are so common that we often overlook them. But next time you see one floating above the water at your favorite spot for ponds, take a moment and appreciate it. It may surprise you to discover how the bright pink or white contrasts with the green.

Fun fact: The famous impressionist painter Claude Monet was greatly inspired by the water lilies of his garden in Giverny in France. This became the focus of many of his later works.

Trout Lily (Erythronium Americanum)

It’s obvious that spring has arrived when they appear in full force with their trout-like speckled patterns. Large colonies flourish in Michigan’s Maple Beech forests like the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. They bring a flood of bright colors to the woods.

This wildflower stands out among all other lily species and is something to behold.

Fun fact: Recent research suggests that trout lily colonies may live up to 150 years, with the potential for over 1,000 years if they are left alone.

Blazing Star (Liatris. squarrosa).

The blazing star can be found in the dry prairies of North America, and parts of southeast Michigan in the middle of summer. It is bright among the earthy colors of the plains and pine trees.

The unique appearance of this flower is what gives it its name. The way the petals flare out and then drift down makes it look like a firework.

Fun fact: Many Native American tribes used the blazing star for medicine and food. The roots were used by the Cheyenne for pain relief and treatment of contagious diseases, while the Montana Indians used them for their stomach upsets and to make antiseptic wash. The seeds were also used by the Paiute tribe for food.

Daisy Fleabane, Erigeron annuus

The daisy fleabane is a diamond in the rough when it comes to flowers. These plants thrive in areas that are not well-traversed, such as roadsides or waste areas.

Although it is common in the US, and can be found in busy areas, this daisy is well worth a second glance if you happen to come across it while on your next hike.

Fun Fact – Daisy fleabane gets its name from the belief that fleas could be killed by dried plants.

Pink Lady Slipper (Cypripedium arcuate)

The pink lady’s sandal (commonly known as moccasin flowers) is a bright flower that grows to two or three feet tall and has flowers measuring about two inches in diameter.

Although it is an orchid, its distinctive pouch and heavily veined appearance make it a unique relative.

This wildflower is able to grow almost anywhere. However, it can’t be found everywhere. To sustain its long life span, it still needs special conditions.

Fun Fact: The bees that visit this unusually shaped flower to pollinate can’t leave the same way they came in. In its efforts to find another way out, the bee ends up collecting more pollen and nectar to help it get to the next flower. It’s kind of like insurance for orchids – it covers all bases just in case.

Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

Dutchman’s Breeches are one of the most unusually shaped wildflowers. They look exactly as you would expect. It’s easy for people to picture the white flowers as pants for fairies, which hang on the stems like clotheslines when they bloom.

This plant is low to the ground, and can be found in densely wooded areas. This plant is unique in its unique form and also reproduces in a very unique way. They depend on ants for their main seed transport.

Fun fact: The flowers will wilt if the dutchman’s breeches is picked. You can appreciate this plant by not disturbing it.

Here are more Michigan wildflowers to look out for:

  • Goats Rue (tephrosia Virginiana)
  • Wild Geranium (geranium Maculatum)
  • False dandelion (hypochaeris radicata)
  • Yellow Trout Lilies (erythronium Americanum)
  • Mayapple (podophyllum peltatum)
  • Prickly Pear (opuntia Humifusa).
  • Blueeyed Grass
  • Arbutus Trailing
  • Twinleaf (jeffersonia diphylla)

Where can you find Michigan wildflowers?

The Wildflower Association of Michigan website provides excellent information about Michigan’s native flowers.

A more comprehensive wildflower guide can be found here, as well as a wildflower database.

We love the Michigan Nature Guy blog. This site contains a large database of Michigan wildflowers. It also contains useful information like the scientific name of each flower and where it can be found.

Michigan Wildflowers in Your Garden

After you have spent time looking through the wildflower database and identified the Michigan seeds that you need for your natural garden, you will be able to find wildflower seed right here. They supply premium seed.

A seed mix that contains many Michigan native flowers can be purchased to create a real spring wonderland.

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