45 Common Types Of Michigan Wildflowers Including Photos

Michigan is an incredible state. Filled with breathtaking landscapes and full of adventure, you never know where you could end up when you let yourself embrace the Michigan way of life. 

45 Common Types Of Michigan Wildflowers Including Photos

Home to Lake Michigan, you are sure to come across more than a few peculiar species of wildflowers. And knowing what they are could save your life. 

In this article, we explain 45 of the most common types of wildflowers that can be found in Michigan. While the state is known for its delicious fresh berries, there are some wildflower species you should keep an eye out for. 

We have categorized these wildflowers by color. Let’s get into it!

Yellow Wildflowers 

1. Common Sunflower 

The Common Sunflower is a favorite among most cultures and can be seen throughout the late summer into early fall. Its stunning large yellow petals which flow into the dark brown center is something to marvel at. 

Sunflowers grow in drier climates such as grasslands, roadsides, and prairies. However, they are also easy to grow in your garden and can reach impressive heights!

2. Yellow Trout Lily 

This flower is also known as Adder’s Tongue or Yellow Dogtooth Violet and is great for attracting wildlife to its petals. 

The blooms draw hives of bees, butterflies, and blowflies, and ants spread the seeds. In the meantime, chipmunks consume the bulbs, black bears dig up and eat the corms (a plant part that resembles a bulb), and deer browse the foliage.

3. Yellow Marsh Marigold 

Yellow Marsh Marigold has an appearance similar to a Buttercup flower but it is an aquatic flower. You can find this wildflower in wetter climates such as swamps, marshes, and ditches throughout the fall and early winter months. 

The disease-resistant and low-maintenance Yellow Marsh Marigold. They can be grown in shallow water or in water gardens. Make sure they receive enough sunlight to promote further blooms.

4. Large-Flowered Bellwort

You recognize this flower under the name Wood Daffodil, due to its long yellow petals and a long stem. 

Michigan’s mountains, floodplains, and forests are all home to large-flowered bellwort. If you see the flowers in the wild, don’t pick them because this species is unfortunately endangered in some places.

The Large-Flowered Bellwort is great for attracting all kinds of bees and other pollinators that will work to keep your garden in top shape. 

5. Woodland Sunflower 

You can find the Woodland Sunflower in other states across the south as it enjoys growing in rocky woodlands, hill prairies, roadsides, and savannas. However, it is especially popular in Michigan.

For animals, the woodland sunflower is a significant flower. The nectar and pollen attract bees, helpful wasps, skippers, flies, and beetles, and the leaf of this plant is home to many different butterfly and moth species’ caterpillars.

Songbirds also enjoy eating the seeds.

6. Common Goldstar

The Common Goldstar is native to Michigan and is great for the smaller wildlife in the area. 

As its leaves resemble typical grass, it can be simpler to recognize this plant when it is fully bloomed. Find it in the forests, glades, and meadows.

This wildflower is perfect for gardens as its leaves grow from bulbs in the spring which then transform into a striking star-shaped flower. 

White Wildflowers 

7. Fleabane 

Fleabane looks similar to the Common Daisy, only much larger. At least 400 species of native wildflowers belong to the genus fleabane, many of which are found in Michigan.

They are frequently a gardener’s favorite! It has centers with yellow discs and tiny, delicate petals. This wildflower blooms from spring right through to fall in drier climates such as roadsides and dry mountains. 

8. Queen Anne’s Lace 

Early European settlers introduced Queen Anne’s Lace to North America. In many places, this wildflower is an invasive species that invades grasslands, meadows, wayside vegetation, and degraded prairies.

Look for two-foot-tall umbels with tiny white blooms and hairy stems to identify this plant. Queen Anne’s lace can be challenging to pull up from the ground yet adapts to most soil types.

9. Whorled Milkweed 

Whorled Milkweed is a perennial wildflower with a single stalk and flat-topped clusters of 7–20 tiny blooms. The fragrant white blossoms are widespread in open woodlands, fields, and by the sides of roads in dry prairies.

This wildflower is loved by many wildlife such as bees, butterflies, beetles, and hummingbirds. It works as an excellent food source for various wildlife. 

10. Boneset

For generations, Bonesert was used as a medicinal flower to help break a fever. However, it has been deemed Poisonous by the US Food and Drug Administration. 

Above its dense leaves, Boneset displays a cluster of tiny, fluffy white blooms. It has a lengthy blooming season, with blooms consistently blossoming from mid-summer through the end of the growing season.

11. Snow Trillium

Because it blooms in the early spring while snow is still on the ground, snow trillium derives its name. As a result, even in its natural habitat, this stunning white wildflower is uncommon in Michigan.

A large portion of its area is home to a threatened species with a small population. 

The Snow Trillium is an interesting plant as it can take from 2 to 12 years to bloom while individual plants can survive for decades. You just never know what youre gonna get!

12. Hoary Alyssum 

An invasive weed called hoary alyssum can thrive in lawns, pastures, riverbanks, and along roadsides. In addition to displacing native plants, it can also be dangerous to horses that consume it.           

It can withstand both hot and cold climates. Moreover, it grows widely and thrives in unfavorable soils, making it quite challenging to eradicate.

13. Wild Calla    

This wildflower is extremely unique in Michigan. It’s a stunning sight and the only species in its genus. Its oval spathe sprouts a brilliant yellow spike known as the spadix (flower cup).

In contrast to bees or butterflies, this peculiar aquatic plant prefers the cold and is fertilized by flies. Nevertheless, if you search for a cluster of brilliant red berries in the summer and heart-shaped leaves, you may readily spot it.

14. Cut-Leaved Teasel 

The Cut-Leaved Teasel is extremely difficult to miss. Egg-shaped floral heads are solitary on seven-foot-tall, thorny stems. Around 1,500 small white and purple blossoms are present on each head.

Deeply cut leaves that create a cup to hold water are found close to the plant’s base.

Cut-leaved Due to its extreme hardiness and ability to flourish in challenging situations, teasel poses a threat to local ecosystems.

Pink Wildflowers 

15. Pink Lady’s Slipper

If you are wandering in nature in Michigan, you are sure to see this gorgeous wildflower. 

Because it doesn’t spread as quickly as other wildflowers, it is relatively uncommon. Please don’t pick the flowers of Pink Lady’s Slipper if you find them blooming in the wild because it can take years for them to mature from seed.

Gardeners have an extremely tough time growing it since it doesn’t transplant well.

16. Trailing Phlox 

In the spring, masses of pink, purple, and white blooms from trailing phlox cover the ground. It can be used as a resilient groundcover and a source of food for early pollinators coming out of their winter hibernation.

Trailing Phlox is a great wildflower for your garden as it requires little to no care and will thrive in harsh conditions. 

17. Carolina Rose 

In addition to being attractive to look at, the fragrant, vivid pink blossoms attract a wide range of species to your region. Hoverflies, beetles, and bees visit the blooms and make their nests out of the plant parts. 

Caterpillars of the Apple Sphinx Moth eat the leaves. Songbirds, quails, and tiny animals all eat rose hips. Deer, elk, and even wild turkeys are drawn to the Carolina Rose!

18. Prairie Onion 

The blossoms of the prairie onion resemble floating pink and white balls. Its flower clusters develop at the tips of lengthy stalks that emerge from leaf tufts. Particularly butterflies are drawn to this pink wildflower in Michigan.

You will find this peculiar wildflower is some of the oddest places such as rocky mountains and limestone cliffs. Now you can eat the Prairie Onion or use it for seasoning making it an excellent addition to your kitchen!

19. Maryland Meadow Beauty 

The pink flowers of the Maryland Meadow Beautiful stand out against the yellow-orange filaments. As it is slow growing, it is ideal for landscaping and planting along roadways.

The Mayland Meadow Beauty blooms a striking purple and slowly fades to a gorgeous pale pink through its life cycle. 

20. Swamp Milkweed 

The Swamp Milkweed is native to Michigan and grows in wet meadows and wetter areas. It can be recognized by its large pink clusters at the end of long stems. 

The best wildflower to grow if you want a variety of pollinators to visit your garden is swamp milkweed. Hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies are drawn to the flowering plant’s clusters of fragrant blossoms.

The leaves are a crucial part of the caterpillars’ diet for monarch butterflies.

Blue Wildflowers 

21. Virginia Bluebells 

When making your way on a hike through early spring, you will see bluebells all around. They prefer to grow in the wet shaded areas of the woods. 

Virginia Bluebells are great for attracting all types of wildlife including hummingbirds and butterflies. 

22. Narrowleaf Blue-Eyed Grass 

This blue wildflower can be found all around Michigan and is common. This plant is commonly found in wet meadows, soggy fields, open woods, floodplain forests, sand thickets, riverbanks, and at the sides of roads.

The Narrowleaf Blue-eyed Grass is an excellent source of food for various species of insects and birds who enjoy its nectar, pollen, and perennial seeds. 

23. Creeping Bellflower 

Creeping Bellflower can give a purple or blue appearance depending on the light and the stage of their lifecycle. 

This perennial can be found in many different environments, including fields, arid slopes, meadows, deciduous and pine forests, roadsides, and railroads.

It is considered a weed by many Michigan natives and can be aggressive if left to grow. 

24. Bird’s Foot Violet 

The Foot of the Bird The word “violet” comes from the way the blooms look. Some individuals believe they resemble a bird’s foot, as the name suggests.

In Michigan, broad fields, open forests, and dry, rocky or sandy soil are where you’ll often find this blue wildflower.

This is a great flower for attracting bees and butterflies. 

25. Blue Moon 

With a wonderful scent, you can smell this flower before you can see it. Stunning white or blue flowers with an odd hairy or sticky stem. 

Your flower beds and border areas would look great with the Blue Moon as an accent. They are resistant to deer and draw butterflies and hummingbirds.

26. Blue Flag Iris 

The Blue Flag Iris is a wonderful plant to look at and admire. Located in wetter areas such as sedge meadows, river banks, and streams. 

However, this plant is extremely poisonous if ingested by livestock, a pet, or even a human. 

27. Western Blue Flax 

From late spring to mid-summer, the Western Blue Flax blooms for weeks, but you’ll see the flowers open in the morning and disappear in the late afternoon. This is due to the blooms’ short lifespan of just one day.

This is an extremely useful plant as the Native American tribes used the stem for finishing lines, nets, ropes, and cords. 

28. Azure Bluet 

In Michigan, open forests, forest edges, damp sandy banks, rocky stream sites, meadows, and lawns are frequent locations for this delicate blue wildflower.

This low-maintenance perennial is a wonderful addition to your garden since it will draw pollinators like bees and butterflies.

29. Virginia Waterleaf 

This is an incredible wildflower that graces wetter areas of the forest. It gathers in large groups and spreads by producing underground roots like a tree. 

It is an excellent source of nectar and pollen for sweat bees and flies but it also attracts deer with its foliage. 

Red Wildflowers 

30. Indian Paintbrush 

Being a hemiparasite, Indian Paintbrush consumes the nutrients produced by other plants as opposed to producing its own nutrients through photosynthesis. It frequently hosts sagebrush and grasses.

This Michigan red wildflower must affix its roots to the roots of its host in order to absorb the nutrients. This makes it difficult to grow in gardens as it feeds on other plants. 

31. Red Trillium 

You are most likely to see this wildflower in the nature of Michigan in early spring while the effects of winter still linger. 

Many colors of red, maroon, purple, yellow, and white can be found in red trillium. Several of its nicknames derive from the peculiar and disagreeable smell it has—like a wet dog. This smell, albeit unpleasant to humans, is a helpful adaptation!

The plant is pollinated by the Carrion Fly and numerous beetles that are drawn to it.

32. Cardinal Flower 

This red wildflower grows in Michigan, where the flowers are grouped at the end of a long stalk. The dark green leaves of the cardinal flower have purple undersides.

The Cardinal Flower is perfect for attracting hummingbirds and other types of insects. 

33. Spotted Coralroot 

You will often find Spotted Coralroot in the woods of Michigan throughout the early summer months. 

The absence of leaves on the Spotted Coralroot is its most intriguing characteristic. Instead, the bare stems develop clusters of blooms.

This plant can’t do photosynthesis, so it gets its nutrients from mycorrhizal fungi, a type of fungus that grows naturally in the plant’s roots.

34. Fire Pink 

This is one of the few carnivorous wildflowers native to Michigan. This aggressive plant attracts traps and eats insects within its long petals. 

Although hummingbirds are the main pollinators of this plant, numerous little songbirds consume its seeds. Common bird species drawn to it include Juncos, Pine Siskins, Sparrows, Water Pipits, and Horned Larks.

Purple Wildflowers

35. Smooth Blue Aster  

This gorgeous wildflower is similar to the white Fleabane, only with soothing lilac petals. You can find this wildflower in meadows and hillsides across the state of Michigan. 

The Smooth Blue Aster pappi (ring of tiny, feathery hairs encircling seeds) helps the seeds to be dispersed by the wind, much like the hairs on a dandelion.

36. Spotted Knapweed

To many Michigan residents, Spotted Knapweed is an annoying weed that outgrows other plants within their gardens. It can alter the soil around it to prevent other plants from growing. 

You can find this devilish wildflower in drier areas such as open fields and along roadsides. 

If planting this plant in your garden, ensure to plant away from other flowers to ensure everything grows in harmony. 

37. Common Grape Hyacinth

Grape Hyacinths are a type of purple wildflower so named because they resemble a cluster of small grapes. This perennial can be found in a variety of wild settings, including plains, fields, hillsides, and along roadways.

This easy-to-grow wildflower is a stunning addition to any backyard garden. It is purple. But, keep an eye out for deer, rabbits, and squirrels since they like to consume their fresh blossoms.

38. American Hog Peanut 

Whereas lower flowers are low or buried vines that never bloom and self-pollinate, upper flowers are open and pollinated by insects. Both flowers also generate seeds, but the lower blossoms are where the juicy closed fruit known as a Hog Peanut grows.

This unique wildflower is commonly found in the forest and woods. 

39. Purple False Foxglove 

The Violet Faux In Michigan, you can add the gorgeous purple foxglove to your landscape. For it to flourish, sandy, moist soils are best.

This partially parasitic plant gets some of its nutrition from nearby plants like natural grasses, Loblolly Pine, Sycamore, or Sweetgum Trees, as well as other parasite plants.

40. Shooting Star 

This flower can be found in woodlands and plains, where it blooms in the spring. Wind gusts that disturb the blooms scatter the seeds.

Shooting Stars are distinctive in that the purple flowers develop downward, but the flower stalk eventually becomes upright.

Orange Wildflowers 

41. Spotted Touch-Me-Not 

The Spotted Touch-Me-Not makes up about ten percent of the food of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Hummingbirds, who use their tiny beaks to gather nectar, are especially drawn to the long tubular blossoms of the Spotted Touch-Me-Not.

It gets its name as its seeds explode if you touch them! 

42. Wood Lily 

The Wood Lily has petals that face upward to attract fluttering hummingbirds and butterflies. Cross-pollination, which is crucial for its reproduction, is aided by this. Gardeners are drawn in by its beautiful red-orange blossoms with purple freckles.

The bulbs of this wildflower are edible and give off a taste similar to turnips. It is great for soups and other dishes. 

43. Blanket Flower 

This is a species of sunflower, only it has a wonderful display of reds, oranges, and yellows. It attracts many visitors such as bees and birds. 

In order to produce honey, a lot of beekeepers employ blanket flowers. This orange wildflower in Michigan produces mellow, creamy, and amber-colored honey.

44. Orange Fringed Orchid 

The Orange-fringed Orchid is a big, strong, and flamboyant flower. It produces abundant clusters of vibrant yellow-orange flowers that pollinators, especially butterflies, find attractive.

It is regarded as rare in 13 states and endangered or extinct in seven as a result of habitat degradation. So, if you do notice this wonderful wildflower on your travels please allow it to grow. 

45. Michigan Lily 

The vivid red-orange petals of the Michigan Lily are distinctive because they are speckled with brown and purple hues. The petals revert to a stem-backwards bent.

Gardeners prefer bulbs or mature plants since the Michigan Lily blooms from seed only once every four to five years. This orange wildflower in Michigan can entice Monarch Butterflies and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to your region once it blooms.

Wrapping Up

Whether you are out exploring the forests of Michigan, or making a quick stop on the side of the road you are sure to discover some incredible types of wildflowers. 

While there are thousands of species of wildflowers to be discovered in the state of Michigan, it is important to preserve them. So when you do come across one that is especially gorgeous be sure to leave it be and let it grow! 

Diane Peirce
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