Pennsylvania is a state that is known for many things. From the liberty bell to cheesesteak sandwiches, there is so much to see and do when you visit.
However, something that you might not have considered is the variety of wildflowers that you can see throughout the state.
Although Pennsylvania may not be renowned for its countryside and woodland, there are hundreds of wildflower species that you can spot during hikes and walks.
In this article, we will look at some of the most common types of wildflowers in Pennsylvania. We have included photographs to help you identify these beautiful plants.
Blue Pennsylvania Wildflowers
The easiest way to categorize the wildflowers that you can find in Pennsylvania is by color. Some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the state boast stunning shades of blue.
The stunning Blue Toadflax is a native wildflower that is bursting with color. You can commonly find this wildflower in open spaces that get a lot of sunshine such as hedgerows, verges, and open meadows. The delicate, tiny flowers bloom in clusters at the top of the thin stems.
Bluebells are a wildflower that you are likely to be more familiar with. These little bell-shaped flowers are often one of the first signs that spring is on its way.
You are most likely to find this wildflower hidden in the forests and woodlands of Pennsylvania from mid-April to late May.
The Blue-Eyed Mary flower is native to North America and can often be found between April to May.
This is a wildflower that can be spotted deep in valleys and moist soil at the bottom of slopes throughout Pennsylvania. With that being said, it has actually become endangered in New York and Tennessee.
Yellow Pennsylvania Wildflowers
If you want to find a range of wildflowers in Pennsylvania that exude summer vibes, these yellow wildflowers are just what you need to keep an eye out for.
This wildflower is technically green but the flowers are so pale that they can often be mistaken for white, especially from a distance.
This plant grows no more than 50 cm tall so you need to look close to the ground when exploring marshland, streams, and ditches. There are two glossy leaves on the stem to support the flowers.
Spanish Needles are a wildflower that is also considered to be a medical herb. It belongs to the daisy family which is evident from the shape of the petals.
These small bursts of sunshine prefer to grow in places with plenty of full sunshine and can survive in habitats with little to no moisture.
This wildflower is native to North America. The Southern Agrimony plant produces compound leaves that feature teeth along the edge.
Along the thin stem, there are beautiful, small yellow flowers that bloom in the summer. These little flowers prefer to grow in the moist soil of marshes, stream banks, and even roadsides.
Despite its name, Black Medic actually produces bright yellow flowers (This wildflower is also present in Iowa. Find out more about it.). This is a short wildflower that has tiny hairs along the stem and leaves.
You are likely to find this plant between April and September. It prefers to grow in open fields, grasslands, and waste areas where it will not be disturbed and the soil is dry and infertile.
Despite the amusing name of the Balloon Vine wildflower, it is actually a somewhat invasive and ruthless plant.
If you want to spot this plant on a hike or walk, you will have to look up toward the tops of the trees. This wildflower loves to climb and can smother and kill trees. The flowers resemble inflated balloons.
The Creeping Oregon Grape wildflowers are low-growing and evergreen. They are technically classified as a shrub rather than a flower.
At most, this plant will reach 1 foot tall and it spreads via stems that run under the surface of the soil. These wildflowers can be found in areas with medium moisture and acidic soil.
Despite the name of this wildflower, it doesn’t actually produce any edible fruit. You can find this evergreen wildflower in areas that are exposed to full sun and partial shade.
It grows to a height of up to 6 inches and can spread as wide as 12 inches. The flowers bloom between late spring and early summer. This plant commonly grows in open meadows.
The Large-Flowered Bellwort is a wildflower that is native to parts of North America. The name of this flower helps to explain its appearance. The flowers on this plant are large and grow in clumps.
The petals are formed into a shape that resembles a bell. You are most likely to find this wildflower in moist forests and woodland.
Red Pennsylvania Wildflowers
For a fiery pop of color, Pennsylvania has a few red wildflowers that bring a beautiful contrast to areas of the countryside and woodland.
The Puttyroot Orchid is a native wildflower that is most commonly found on slopes in woodland and near ravines.
This plant spreads via underground stems. If the stems are crushed, they release a sticky sap. The sap was once used to mend broken pottery and is the root of the name Puttyroot.
The Indian Blanket wildflower is a member of the daisy family and is identified by the vivid yellow and red colors of the petals.
The name Blanket flower comes from the way that this wildflower spreads across an area like a blanket. These bright flowers can be found in open spaces with plenty of sunlight.
As the name suggests, the Crimson Bee Balm wildflower is a bee-friendly plant. Not only is this flower wonderfully bright and colorful, but it is also incredibly fragrant which helps to attract bees. This plant thrives in places that have nutrient-rich soil.
White Pennsylvania Wildflowers
Some of the most common wildflowers in Pennsylvania feature stunning white flowers. These wildflowers are likely to bloom throughout spring and summer.
When you are out and about trying to find wildflowers, the Mapleleaf Alumroot is one of the most easily identifiable plants. The leaves have a distinctive maple leaf shape that is easy to spot.
The flowers are distributed along the stem in a cone shape. You are most likely to find this wildflower in thick woodland or on slopes with moist soil.
These stunningly simple wildflowers are one of the most common in Pennsylvania. The Wood Anemone blooms between March and May and grows to a height of up to 25 cm.
The flowers are pretty and delicate. Each flower features six, tapered, white petals. You can find this plant in woodlands.
Thimbleweed is a taller wildflower than many of the others that we have talked about. Each stem features a single flower head at the top. The petals have a stunning creamy color.
This is the wildflower that gives you the most opportunity to see it, blooming from spring all the way through to early fall.
The Sharp-Lobed Hepatica can grow to a height of up to 6 inches and spread just as wide. You are most likely to find these delicate, simple flowers in a shaded woodland.
They particularly love north-facing slopes with moderate moisture. These modest-looking flowers are great at attracting nature and benefiting wildlife.
Wild Celery is another wildflower that some would argue is more green than white. However, from a distance, it does look white. This wildflower can grow up to 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide.
Wild Celery enjoys growing in humid woodland but it can also sometimes be found in open meadows if the conditions are right.
The Hairy White Oldfield Aster has a funny name that makes it memorable. This plant can grow as tall as 4 feet. This particular wildflower is native to North America and is incredibly tolerant of harsh conditions.
It is common to find this plant in old, unmaintained fields, on roadsides, and even on railroad tracks and quarries. The pretty white flowers are reminiscent of daisies.
The Common Arrowhead wildflower is an aquatic perennial plant. It gets its name from the arrow-shaped foliage that it produces.
This plant is native to America but has been distributed across the Northern Hemisphere. The white flowers bloom in whorls of 3 or more, perched along the length of the stem.
The White Baneberry wildflower is also commonly referred to as Doll’s Eyes. You are most likely to find this beautiful flower in moist woodlands.
If you are looking for this flower during late summer, you will notice that it has produced stunning white berries. This wildflower is part of the buttercup family.
White Avens are often confused with Thimbleweed, however, these are completely different plants. From a distance, the leaves look the same, but there are some subtle differences.
The most impressive thing about this plant is that it can grow up to 1 meter tall, although on average, they are around 1.5 to 2.5 inches tall. You will find this plant in wooded areas with plenty of shade.
The Eastern Gray Beardtongue is a herb wildflower that can produce stems up to 1 meter in height. The name “beardtongue” refers to the shape of the petals on the flower head and the tiny hairs that cover them. You are likely to find this interesting plant in woodlands, forest edges, and along roadsides.
A similar wildflower to the Eastern Gray Beardtongue is the Foxglove Beardtongue. This wildflower is characterized by its bushy, clump-forming appearance.
The flowers are bell-shaped and grow in clusters along the stem. This wildflower likes to grow in full sunshine and can be found in open meadows.
Beechdrops is a parasitic plant that grows and survives on the roots of the American Beech tree from which it gets its name.
The flowers are tubular in shape and the petals are white with purple/red veins along them. Because of the nature of this plant, you will most commonly find it growing in woodland and forests that have American Beech trees.
The Shepherd’s Needles wildflower is closely related to the daisy family and sunflowers. The plants often grow to a height of 2 – 4 inches.
They will spread through an area from early spring until frosts hit the area. This plant has often been used to help treat pain, ulcers, and infections. You will find this wildflower in open meadows and on the edge of woodland.
If you are searching for the first wildflowers to bloom in the spring, there are few that are earlier than Cutleaf Toothwort. This is a plant that produces beautiful clusters of small white flowers.
The flowers on this plant have four delicate petals that can be tinged with pink during the springtime. You are likely to spot this flower in the rich soil of woodlands.
This wildflower is, surprisingly, a member of the mint family. White Bergamot is also known as White Bee Balm thanks to its ability to attract bees.
This wildflower is most likely to be found growing in moist woodlands and on the banks of streams. The flowers perched on the top of the stems are stunning and resemble a regal crown (a similar flower to this is the King’s Crown flower – read about it here).
The Sawtooth Blackberry plant is another native plant that can be found in Pennsylvania. This wildflower grows into woody shrubs that can be found in hedgerows.
The flowers on this plant produce five large petals. A single plant can produce between 5 and 20 flowers from its second year onward. These flowers turn into edible fruit toward the end of summer.
Another dainty wildflower that is common in Pennsylvania is the Northern Dewberry. This flower is part of the rose family.
It is capable of growing in a variety of habitats ranging from dry deserts to moist forests. You are most likely to find this wildflower between mid-spring and early summer.
Hairy Bittercress is a wildflower in Pennsylvania that can usually be found in damp, disturbed, open ground.
The most amazing thing about this plant is that it is capable of throwing its own seeds several feet to distribute up to 1000 plants. This is an incredibly hardy plant.
The name Bloodroot is quite accurate for this wildflower, despite its stunningly pure white petals. When the roots of this beautiful flower are crushed, a red sap is released which looks very similar to blood.
The broad, veiny leaves wrap around the buds before they bloom in early spring to protect them from the last frosts of the season.
Squirrel Corn wildflower looks very similar to another wildflower known as Dutchman’s Breeches. This lookalike plant shares so many similarities because they are closely related, however, Dutchman’s Breeches is unlikely to be found in Pennsylvania.
The lobes of the petals are more rounded than on the Breeches, and there is a yellow underground bulblet that helps to inspire the name.
Purple Pennsylvania Wildflowers
Another stunning group of wildflowers in Pennsylvania boasts a stunning purple hue when they bloom during spring and summer.
New England Asters are stunning purple flowers that are the epitome of spring and summertime. These beautiful, daisy-like blooms can be seen from late summer to early fall.
The flowers are usually 1.5 inches in diameter and the stems can grow 3 – 6 feet tall. They prefer moist soil and full sun so can often be found in open meadows.
In the same family is the Late Purple Aster (This wildflower is also present in New Hampshire. Click here to know more). This wildflower has a very similar appearance to the New England Aster but the petals are slightly more sparse.
As the name suggests, this species of aster is one of the last wildflowers to bloom. You can see this stunning flower in bloom from August through to October, providing late nectar to pollinators.
The Wild Bleeding Heart is a stunning flower that belongs to the Dicentra family. Wild Bleeding Heart is different from other species as it lasts throughout the summer and can continue flowering.
This flower enjoys growing in rocky environments such as cliff edges, it can also be found on forest floors.
The Tall Bellflower is one of the most beautiful and unusual flowers on this list. Its petals are a stunningly vibrant shade of purple that stands out against the green of the stem.
The center of the flower is unusual compared to others on this list. It is the perfect shape for attracting hummingbirds. You can find this flower from mid to late summer on forest edges and in open areas.
This is one of the brightest purple wildflowers that you can find in Pennsylvania. Purple-Flowering Raspberry is native to North America and produces edible red fruit in the late summer and early autumn. The flowers can be spotted from early spring all the way through to early fall.
Wild Bergamot is very similar to White Bergamot which we mentioned earlier. It is a great source of food for pollinators such as bees and has a wonderful fragrance.
The petals boast a vibrant shade of purple that is incredibly enticing for pollinators. You can find this beautiful plant in open meadows with plenty of sunlight.
Another native wildflower is the Dense Blazing Star flower. This is a long-lasting flower that blooms from summer through to the start of fall.
The flowers cover the top half of the stem which can grow up to 4 feet tall. This is a hardy plant that is capable of growing in multiple conditions. The only thing it needs is good drainage to protect the roots.
There are plenty of beautiful wildflowers that can be found throughout the state of Pennsylvania. If you are visiting during spring and summer, there are so many wildflowers in bloom that you won’t have to look too hard to find some.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is a wide variety of wildflowers that can be found in Pennsylvania. Because there are so many different types of wildflowers, it is hard to say where the best place is to find them.
With that being said, there are a few areas where you are most likely to find a range of wildflowers. Woodland is likely to have plenty of wildflower species during the spring and summer months. Open meadows can also be a good source of these varied plants.