45 Common Types Of Nebraska Wildflowers Including Photos

Wildflowers are beautiful flowers that naturally grow all across the country. You can find them growing freely in national parks, meadows, prairies, and increasingly in private gardens and backyards.

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45 Common Types Of Nebraska Wildflowers Including Photos

These flowers are just as beautiful and varied as cultivated flowers and are becoming increasingly popular with gardeners.

The American Midwest is home to a large variety of stunning wildflowers and this is never more evident than in the great state of Nebraska. If you call Nebraska home, you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful wildflowers.

Whether you’re walking through nature or looking for some wildflowers for your backyard, there are many wildflowers in Nebraska to see and choose from.

That’s why we’ve created this article to show 45 common types of Nebraska wildflowers. We’ve included some photos as well so you’ll be able to spot these wildflowers in nature or decide whether they’re suitable for your garden.

All of the flowers are listed in alphabetical order.

1. Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea cyanus)

This is an easy-to-grow plant if you want some wildflowers in your garden. They’re almost pest and disease free and can tolerate draughts and deer. They’ll also attract plenty of butterflies.

2. Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa)

This plant is also commonly known as wild bergamot and it can be found in dry fields and prairies. It’s a native perennial that blooms throughout the summer. When it reaches full bloom, it becomes very nectar-rich and will attract a large number of pollinators. I

t’s also one of the best plants for attracting hummingbirds.

3. Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

These beautiful flowers have a variety of vivid colors on their petals, such as orange, yellow, and often red. They’re invasive in many parts of Nebraska, however, and can force out over flowers and plants that are planted near them.

You’ll especially see this happen in fields and on roadsides. They’re a great food source for butterflies, bees, and moths. 

4. Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella)

This is one of the most striking wildflowers found in Nebraska. It’s a type of sunflower and has a pretty mix of colors on its petals. It’s very popular with a variety of birds and bees. It’s also popular with beekeepers who often use these flowers in their honey production.

5. Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)

These are very hardy flowers and are pretty resistant to droughts. That’s why you’ll see them throughout the state in a variety of different places such as ditches, shores, and plains.

They attract so many different types of insects from honeybees to butterflies, to moths. They also provide a feast for the common buckeye butterfly caterpillars and the verbena moth as well.

6. Boneset (​​Eupatorium perfoliatum)

These beautiful white wildflowers have a long flowering period as they flower from midsummer through fall. It’s long been used in a variety of traditional medicines but it is technically a poison, so be careful if you do use any medicines that include this.

You’ll recognize it by the clusters of white flowers that sprout from dense greenery.

7. Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)

As you can see from the photo of this wildflower, it’s covered in spines and thistles so be careful if you decide to touch it as it can easily prick your skin. This wildflower is great for wildlife as it’s a food source for goldfinches and can also bring in butterflies and giant bees.

8. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

It’s easy to spot these flowers as they’re a cluster of bright orange flowers. These flowers produce a lot of nectar and this makes them popular with butterflies and hummingbirds.

Native Americans have made great use of butterfly weeds over the years as the flower is believed to have medicinal benefits.

9. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

These are one of the best flowers to attract hummingbirds. You can easily attract these birds to your yard or neighborhood by planting some of these beautiful red flowers.

The flowers on cardinals are tube-shaped and this makes it difficult for many insects to get at the nectar, however, hummingbirds and their long beaks are uniquely positioned to get to the nectar.

10. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Catnip is well known for a variety of reasons. It’s famous for being a mild stimulant that makes cats go crazy but has also long been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Catnip can repel insects such as termites and cockroaches because of its aromatic leaves but it will attract others, such as butterflies and wasps.

11. Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

These are pretty unique wildflowers as they only bloom for one day! If it’s too hot, they may only bloom for a few hours at most. They’re also edible and although they taste pretty bitter, you can add them to a salad.

The roots can also be roasted and used for a drink. Look for these in sunny and dry areas.

12. Clasping Venus’ Looking Glass (Triodanis perfoliata)

You can find these pretty purple wildflowers in dry sandy soils around Nebraska, such as in woods and gardens. They bloom in spring and summer and can self-pollinate. They’re great for attracting insects as well as small butterflies, flies, and bees love them.

13. Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

There are varieties of this flower that are blue and purple but it is the red wildflowers that are native to Nebraska. They’re often found near woodlands but they also grow really well in both gardens and as potted plants.

You can use these flowers to attract bumblebees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

14. Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia)

If you live in various places around the country, including Nebraska, you might find these pretty purple flowers suddenly appearing in the middle of your beautiful lawn.

They have a habit of randomly sprouting and this is why some people consider them weeds instead of wildflowers. They self-fertilize and when their seeds are ready, they can shoot them as far away as nine feet!

15. Common Burdock (Arctium minus)

Be careful if you get close to this plant or handle it at all as it can irritate the skin. Some people may even get an allergic reaction to it so always handle it with care!

When the flower heads are dry, they can stick to anything that comes close to them, including humans and animals, and this is how they spread to other areas.

16. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

This is a very fragrant wildflower that can attract a large number of different pollinators to it. It’s estimated that over 400 different species will feed on common milkweed, including butterflies, bees, beetles, wasps, flies, and moths.

If you decide to plant common milkweed in your garden, make sure it is isolated. This plant can grow virtually anywhere and will push out over plants that are near it.

17. Creeping Charlie (​​Glechoma hederacea)

This is considered a weed by many throughout Nebraska. If it starts growing in your lawn, it can be very difficult to remove as it lays down very extensive roots. Bees love this plant though, even if lawn owners don’t!

18. Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

This flower was not originally native to North America but has since taken root and can be found growing wild across Nebraska and some other states.

It’s often used as a ground cover throughout Nebraska and it’s completely deer resistant! Animals that it will attract include several different types of bees such as mason bees and anthophorid bees.

19. Crown Vetch (Securigera varia)

This plant is considered invasive in North America. If you decide to plant it in your garden, make sure it is isolated as it will grow and push out other plants. It can even spread to other areas as well.

20. Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)

You will commonly find this wildflower throughout Nebraska and especially in woodlands and meadows. This plant is edible as the young leaves of the plant are high in vitamin C and can be added to salads.

21. English Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Originally native only to Europe and Asia, the English Plantain was introduced to Nebraska and has since made it home. It’s easy to spot due to the long spikes that protrude from the sides that have little flowers.

It wants to avoid being culled so don’t be surprised if these usually tall flowers start growing shorter!

22. Everlasting Pea (Lathyrus latifolius)

Originally native to Europe, the everlasting pea has been considered neutralized in North America since the 18th century. It’s a hardy vine that requires minimal care and can survive frosts but it can grow out of control if not cared for.

It’s ideal for fences and trellises and will attract many bees and butterflies. Although the petals begin as a vivid red-pink color, this slowly fades as the flower matures.

23. Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

Fireweed is a very resilient and hardy plant that can grow in harsh conditions. If an area is destroyed by fire, fireweed is often the first plant to begin growing again.

You can spot these flowers in various locations throughout Nebraska and their vivid purple flowers can brighten up any area. They attract moths, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

24. Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)

There are many different varieties of fleabane that grow wild in Nebraska. It’s also one of the easiest wildflowers to grow in your own garden as it is compatible with most types of soil, seeds by itself, and is drought-resistant. It’ll bring in butterflies, moths, bees, and hummingbirds!

25. Giant Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea)

The wildflower is at home in woodlands and meadows but will also thrive in backyards and gardens. This is a tall plant with a dark purple flower and it can attract many different varieties of butterflies. It looks best when planted in groups and thrives in sun to partial shade.

26. Heal-All (Prunella vulgaris)

Of all the wildflowers you can find in Nebraska, this is one of the most common. It can be found in grassy areas, woodlands, and along roadsides. It attracts many different pollinators such as butterflies and bees as well.

27. Indian Hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

Many people consider this native wildflower to be a weed. This is especially the case on farmland where it can pop up and interfere with the yield of a variety of crops such as soybeans and corn.

It’s also toxic to humans and most animals so make sure you avoid the sap of the flower especially.

28. Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium)

If you’re looking for wildflowers to plant in your yard that are native to Nebraska, then Joe Pye weed is a great choice! The pink clusters of flowers are not only pretty and colorful, but they will attract many pollinators to your yard as well.

This flower thrives best in partial shade so try to avoid any direct sunlight.

29. Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

This is an invasive species that is originally from Europe, It can take over and colonize native ecosystems by aggressively spreading its seeds. It can self-fertilize but various insects help it to pollinate as well.

These flowers are easy to find because of their beautiful white petals and bright yellow centers.

30. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

This is a very popular wildflower for gardens as it is a very hardy plant. They can survive in both heat and drought conditions and as they contain lots of nectar, they attract a variety of wildlife. Expect to see hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies if you plant these!

31. Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

This beautiful flower can reproduce and spread very quickly as each individual flower spike can produce up to 300,000 seeds. It can also spread through its roots as well. It’s an invasive species and will push out other plants as it spreads.

32. Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)

This isn’t native to Nebraska, but since its introduction it has aggressively taken over several areas around the state. If you notice it in your garden, it’s best to remove it swiftly as it spreads very quickly.

It’s related to carrots and you may even notice a smell of carrots on the plant if you were to pull it from the ground. 

33. Spotted Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata)

These unique-looking flowers don’t have any leaves at all. They’re simply bare stalks and flowers, but this doesn’t make them any less beautiful. Spotted coralroot isn’t capable of photosynthesis and instead gets its nutrients from a natural fungus that grows in its roots.

34. Spotted Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis)

These pretty flowers with yellowish-orange flowers and brown spots are known by various names. The name touch-me-not is also a warning as if you do touch the flowers, the seed pods will explode.

They’re another flower that is loved by hummingbirds but the seeds are also popular with pheasants and grouse.

35. Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)

As the name of this flower suggests, when planted, it spreads rapidly! The second half of the flower’s name is also worth explaining as it refers to the plant being very poisonous for dogs.

It’s also poisonous to humans, so always take great care with this plant. It smells similar to lilac and has pretty bell-shaped flowers in subtle shades of pink.

36. Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica)

These pretty flowers are easy to spot due to their star shape and the subtle shades of pink that run through them. Their petals are mainly white but have pink veins running through them.

They’re bursting with nectar and this makes them irresistible to Nebraskan bees. They bloom throughout spring and can thrive in both full sunshine and partial shade.

37. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

This is an invasive species in North America. It is also toxic and can even be fatal to livestock if it is ingested. It’s popular with pollinators but shouldn’t be allowed to spread.

38. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

As the name suggests, you will find these flowers near water, such as in wet meadows or beside lakeshores. These fragrant flowers bring many animals and pollinators such as hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

They’re also an important food source for monarch caterpillars.

39. Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)

Teasels attract a variety of birds as the seed of the flower is a great source of food during the winter. You can easily spot these flowers because of the prickly stem and beautiful purple-blue flowers on top.

40. Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

These flowers are known by many names and are one of the earliest blooming wildflowers. They start with pink buds and then open into their famous bluebells. They attract hummingbirds and butterflies and are usually found in wet areas with plenty of shade.

41. White Clover (Trifolium repens)

Although not originally a native wildflower to North America, white clover has become a neutralized flower. It can take over fields and lawns once it’s planted but it’s not aggressive and won’t edge out native vegetation.

It blooms from spring to fall and all parts of the plant are edible. Traditionally, if you can find a clover with four leaves it’ll bring you great luck.

42. Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata)

This plant can spread very rapidly but is not considered an invasive species. If you want to attract hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and beetles to your garden, then this native wildflower will do it!

It’s also an important food source for Monarch butterfly caterpillars. It copes well with drought conditions and will grow in most types of soil.

43. Wild Mint (Mentha arvensis)

This is a native wildflower to Nebraska. You can spot it thanks to the dense cluster of flowers it has and these can be colored purple, pink, or white.

It’s a variety of mint and like other plants in the family, it has potent leaves that become even more potent if they’re damaged. It grows best in wetlands and prefers partial sunlight.

44. Wood Lily (Lilium philadelphicum)

These pretty flowers have a stunning combination of red-orange flowers with purple freckles. The flowers only remain open for around 11 days though, so make sure you catch them while you can!

Due to the beauty and edible nature of these flowers, they’re commonly picked by anyone who sees them, making their blooms even more difficult to catch.

45. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

There are many different species of yarrow and they’re a mix of wildflowers native to Nebraska and ones that have been imported.

They’re hardy flowers as they can tolerate drought and grow in some difficult conditions. They attract a wide variety of birds and insects.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we introduced 45 common types of wildflowers that are found in Nebraska. If you walk through one of the five national parks in Nebraska, it’s highly likely that you will see at least some of these wildflowers.

They can also be found in various fields, meadows, and prairies across the state.

If you want to add some wildflowers to your Nebraskan garden or backyard, then these are the best wildflowers to choose from. They can survive in the Midwest climate so just make sure you have the right type of soil and give the flowers the correct amount of water and sunlight.

Some of these wildflowers may not be as suited to a private garden, however, as they can be invasive. We hope you enjoyed this list of wildflowers and accompanying photos!

Diane Peirce
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