When roaming New Hampshire’s amazing natural areas, you may notice a few wildflowers as you walk.
You may want to be able to learn the names of the flowers and when you can expect them, which can help you identify them on your board.
Beyond this you can learn a lot about nature by understanding the flowers that grow naturally and wildly in your local area.
The Northeastern state of New Hampshire is actually one of the least populated states in the US, meaning there are plenty of areas that nature has reclaimed allowing there to be a pretty generous amount of flora in the state.
Environmental protection emerged as a key state issue in the early 1900s in response to poor logging practices.
The Granite State has the highest percentage of timberland areas in the country, with the White Mountains in the north providing a mountainous area, nicknamed as a result of the granite mines in the aforementioned mountains.
The shade from the trees as well as the high altitude soils in the mountains means we can expect a range of flowers to find in these areas.
In the winter there is a lot of snow in New Hampshire which can affect blooming and general growth cycles of the flora in the area.
Keep reading to learn more about New Hampshire and its general wild flora in the largely naturalistic state. Find out below.
Find our favorite wildflowers below from the great state of New Hampshire.
1. Purple Lilac (Syringa Vulgaris)
This flower has the lucky honor of being the national state flower of New Hampshire. It is part of the wider olive family, known as Oleaceae, but is a plant that is actually native to the Balkan Peninsula where it grows actively on the rocky hills.
As a result, we can see why the flower has become naturalized in Northern America and particularly New Hampshire as the rocky mountains in the North have a similar geography to those in the Balkan Peninsula.
To celebrate its naturalization in our country, it was named the national flower of New Hampshire, where it is said to be ‘symbolic of that hardy character of the men and women of the granite state.’
The purple lilac is a deciduous shrub or potentially a small tree that can grow near 23 ft high. The foliage is made up of oval, pinnate leaves arranged in opposite pairs.
The flowers have a tubular base arranged up a corolla about 10mm long and 8mm wide. The flowers are commonly lilac or purple in color and even sometimes white.
2. Late Purple Aster (Symphyotrichum Patens)
This showy and beautiful wild flower is commonly found in sunny areas, particularly open woodland, which is exactly where we may find it in New Hampshire, a state with one of the highest densities of open woodland.
The purple aster is a perennial and herbaceous flowering plant that has a spread growth. It grows only around 3 ½ ft tall with quite small oblong leaves. The flower is pretty small, less than 1 ¼ inches, but is undoubtedly stunning.
There is a striking yellow disk floret that is surrounded by small and thin petals that are usually light blue to violet in color. You can expect to to see this bloom in New Hampshire’s woodlands around August to October
3. Broadleaf Arrowhead (Sagittaria Latifolia)
This is a fun plant with a unique inflorescence avid flower identifiers love to seek out.
Commonly this plant is found in shallow wetlands, and actually produces an edible tuber, like a potato, which is commonly used in Native American culture for both food and its potential healing properties.
As a result it has been cultivated widely for food and horticultural intrigue.
The broadleaf arrowhead is a perennial, but has a quite variable size ranging from around 6 feet to potentially 65 feet. It also grows in colonies that can cover large aquatic and terrestrial areas.
The inflorescence itself has a long rigid raceme that boasts a small delicate white flower. The flowers occur in threes, while also having three distinct, usually white, petals, followed by three green sepals.
You can expect the flower to bloom in the months from July to September, almost always in the naturally wetter areas.
4. Dwarf Cinquefoil (Potentilla Canadensis)
This is a plant you commonly see in areas where the soil has become impoverished soil, but serves the ecosystem by being a pollinator for bees and other insects in the area, with rabbits and groundhogs also eating the foliage, with young shoots and leaves even being edible for humans.
It grows naturally in the area of New Hampshire, clearly indicated by the variety name ‘canadensis’ which refers to it being of Canada, close to New Hampshire.
The perennial herb creates a small but delicate inflorescence that is easy to recognize. The flower bears 5 yellow petals that surround a yellow center. They commonly bloom from March to June are a classic sign of spring.
It was commonly used in naturalistic medicine in the times of the Native American, where the Iroquois used it as an antidiarrheal and the Natchez used it as a drug to cure those who were bewitched.
5. Venus’ Slipper (Calypso Bulbosa)
Calypso is a genus of orchids that has only one species within it, the Calypso bulbosa, often called Venus’ slipper.
Calypso actually comes from the Greek term for ‘concealing’ which refers to how the plant is often hidden in the undergrowth of trees, on the sheltered areas of woodland.
Hence why it is so common, actually native to, the areas of montane forest in North America and New Hampshire’s mountains.
The Calypso bulbosa is both perennial, herbaceous, and perennial. The orchid is typically around 8 inches tall. It is identifiable as there is usually only one leaf on its stalk that is lanceloate in shape. The plant offers a hermaphroditic threefold flower.
The petals and sepals are both pink or purple in color while the labellum, or lip, is usually white to pink with yellow spots. While perennial, each bulb will live no more than 5 years. They bloom in May or June, usually after snow melts.
6. False Foxglove (Agalinis Tenuifolia)
The Agalinis is a flowering plant that is widely distributed among the United States, but in local distribution within one state it can be spotty.
Spotty local distribution means it’s a lot of fun to find them in your local area as they will be harder to place, but will likely be there.
Its distribution can be affected by many things such as large changes in habitat like development, land use, and invasive species. It has been known to grow in open, dry and barren areas but even in more marshy areas, even river banks.
In any case, you can identify the flower by its unique inflorescence. One thing worth stating, as the common name may suggest, is not to mix this up with the poisonous foxglove. Incorrectly identified foxglove can cause you a lot of issues.
The Agalinis tenuifolia is around 50 inches in length, with a slender branched stem, with very small leaves. The flowers are born on long pedicels with each flower being bilaterally symmetrical.
The petals are arranged on corollas with five petals per corolla, usually a purple color.
7. Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron Annuus)
The Erigeron annuus is a flower and herbaceous member of the Asteraceae family, with a flower common of this family, which flower either annually or biennially.
As a herbaceous flower it has alternate but simple leaves that are green adjoined to a hairy stem like a daisy. It will grow to around 5 feet in height.
In comparison to other Erigeron varieties, the lower basal leaves are coarsely other or cleft, a defining characteristic of this annuus variety.
The flower of the plant resembles a daisy greatly, but this Erigeron actually has petals that are convex, moving away from the flower’s center organ. The petals are thin and long but numerous, often white.
One reason that this is a popular and often naturalized species in many areas is that, for one, it often colonizes certain areas and competes successfully with some invasive weeds. Secondly, the plant is pollinated by a large number of complimentary insects.
It grows particularly well in partial sun, but also in moist areas, so the undergrowth of a woodland would suit it ideally, but also grows in particularly barren soils too.
8. Sacred Thornapple (Datura Wrighti)
The sacred thornapple, or datura wrighti, as named by famed American botanist Charles Wright, is a type of nightshade that is both poisonous and ornamental.
The plant is a vigorously growing herbaceous perennial, with broad and rounded leaves often with wavy margins. Yet, the plant is most famed for its quite delicate and complicated inflorescence.
Five narrow points mark the flower’s full head which is made up of five petals, usually white in color and sometimes tinted purple near the margins.
They are often seen as a ground vine that has a wide spread, enjoying a particularly exposed environment with direct sunlight. The plant usually blooms from April into October.
In certain environmental conditions with clear weather, as well as sunlight, they will usually close in the direct heat of sunlight and open up at night and in the morning, hence the ‘nightshade’ moniker of its larger family.
Let’s note here that like most nightshades this flower can be very poisonous while also very ornamental. All parts of the Datura contain dangerous anticholinergic levels, formed from propane alkaloids.
If humans, livestock, or pets, ingest any parts of the Datura they can become fatally ill.
In some very rare cases the plant is used recreationally for the auditory and visual hallucinations caused by the alkaloids, however this is incredibly dangerous due to its potentially fatal consequences.
9. Bachelor’s Button (Centaurea Cyanus)
Commonly referred to as bachelor’s button or cornflower, the Centaurea cyanus is a flowering plant from the Asteraceae family. It used to grow among corn, hence corn flower, and is common in many cornfields across the state of New Hampshire.
However, even though the plant was introduced and then naturalized, it is now considered to be an endangered species as a result of the increase of agricultural activity, particularly through the use of herbicides that kill this flower, often considered a weed.
It requires full sun and a fairly neutral soil, but remains tolerant to drought.
The cornflower is an annual plant that grows to around 35 feet tall. The stems are actually kind of gray but ultimately are green, the leaves are lanceloate and about 1.5 inches in length.
The flower itself is a very noticeable and intense blue color, with multiple large ray florets surrounding the central florets.
Funnily, the blue color comes from the presence of protocyanin which is actually the same pigment responsible for the red color in most roses.
10. Turk’s Cap Lily (Lilium Superbum)
This is a species that is actually native to areas of southern New Hampshire, and quite a few areas of central North America.
As a singular plant they can grow up to 7 feet, or as small as 3 feet, but will usually have three to seven blooms in its native environment, but the more exceptionally cultivated specimens can have up to 40 per plant.
The most distinguishable characteristic compared to other Lilium specimens is the green star in the middle of the inflorescence. The color can vary greatly within the range of orange to red to yellow, usually with some form of ombré of these colors.
To be truthful, the Lilium superbum species can vary a lot in size, color and form, so using the green star is your main way to identify it.
Generally, you can locate this Lily specimen in the swamp, meadows, and woods of New Hampshire, being able to withstand most environments.
Of course, if you are ornamentally displaying the flower in your house and have pets, be aware all Lilium specimens are dangerous and poisonous to cats. With that said, Native Amercans would often make soup from the bulbs.
11. Fall Phlox (Phlox Paniculata)
Phlox is largely enjoyed and cultivated genus, but does grow natively in areas of North America, particularly in New Hampshire.
While widely cultivated particularly for its scent as well as inflorescence, with a large number of named cultivars, some with unique RHS’ Award of Garden Merit, the flower does grow wildly in areas of North America.
It is also enjoyed by wildflower hunting enthusiasts as while it does have a large distribution in streambanks and wooded areas but is fairly scattered meaning it can be fun to hunt them out in these areas.
In any case, the Phlox paniculata is a herbaceous perennial that can grow around 45-47 inches tall. It has opposite but simple leaves on slender green stems.
In cultivation these stems are sensitive to powdery mildew which should be removed with immediacy. The flowers themselves are formed on panicles, which is where the plant gets its variety name from.
In wild populations you will mainly encounter pink and purple varieties, often only white in cultivation, but can be many other colors potentially, and in cultivation there are a large number of colors that can be brought around by engineering the environment in which they are grown.
12. Seedbox (Ludwigia Alternifolia)
The seedbox is a plant that is usually native to areas of Canada and even in southern states such as Texas and Florida, but as a result can be found in wild populations in New Hampshire.
It particularly enjoys areas which have full to partial sun, with wet to moist soil, common in swamps, marshes, wet meadows, and more.
This Ludwigia variety usually grows 2-3 feet tall. Uniquely, this Ludwigia species has reddish brown stems but the leaves are deep green with sharpointed lancelot shape, ‘alternifolia’ refers to the fact the leaves form alternately.
The flowers usually occur in single forms grown from the leaf axils on upper leaves. The flowers create fruits that are brown and distinguishable. They commonly have four distinguishable yellow petals and four light green sepals.
13. Swamp Rose (Rosa Palustris)
This rose bush specimen grows natively across America’s marshland, hence ‘palustris’ being latin for ‘of the marsh’, and its slightly unsightly common name’ swamp rose’.
The plant is native to America so is found from Nova Scotia to Florida and west from Onatrio to Arkansas, including our state of New Hampshire.
You are more likely to find this in the moist soil particularly in swampy and marshy areas. As a shrub it is a pretty hardy plant that withstands much weather.
Like most Rose bushes, the stems are thick but thorny out of which pinnate compound leaves are formed. The flower is often pink and is showy, with five large petals that form around a yellow center.
It does have a distinguishable petal arrangement in comparison to your common rose.
14. Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia Corollata)
The euphorbia is native to North America and commonly grows across the states, including New Hampshire. It is commonly called a spurge, but is also commonly called Euphorbia in botanical circles.
They generally grow to be 3ft tall with smooth stems and lightly colored green leaves. The leaves are arranged in whorls, alternately, and are rounded on their top but relatively long in length.
They really enjoy growing in most soils so have a fairly scattered distribution across the states. They can be found pretty much anywhere from pastures to glades, riverbanks to train tracks – they are particularly resistant to drought.
Many people enjoy their wild distribution due to them being ideal pollinators for the ecosystem of bees and insects in the US.
In any case, the flowers are formed on panicles that produce the pistils the flowers are on. Usually five white bracts gold the flowers on the pinnacle, the flowers usually benign pretty small but many. The Euphorbia usually blooms from June to September.
It’s worth noting that while beautiful there are some poisonous elements of Euphorbia. When you break the stems the milky sap that forms can actually irritate skin and if in the yes can be particularly bad.
That said, if animals or humans consume large amounts of euphorbia there could be fatal consequences.
15. Smooth Sumac (Rhus Glabra)
Have you ever had or used the spice sumac? This comes from the sumac flowers, a common name for the modern Rhus genus.
This is another plant that can be found across the United States with reasonably scattered distribution, a fun one to hunt for that is easy to identify.
Yet, it is very similar to poison sumac that is eponymously poisonous. Usually Smooth sumac produces fruit, so if there is no fruit, be careful.
The Rhus has a spreading habitat that can grow to no more than 16 ft tall. The leaves are alternate and long. The leaves turn a scarlet color in the fall but are typically green when blooming.
The flowers are very small and green; they later produce mature fruit that makes the flower head seem red. These crimson berries will stick around until winter and are where we get our eponymous sumac from.
On the leaves there are occasionally galls that are formed by aphids, these aren’t poisonous for you or the plant.
Deer forage the fruits, and they were used for food by Native Americans who would use young sprouts like vegetables, similar to capers, or would make the seeds into lemonade like drink.
We hope this list can help you identify some wildflowers in the state of New Hampshire, many of these are easy to find with some being a little harder, but its a great way to make getting outdoors into an activity that basically anyone can enjoy or do.
Learning about the natural flora and fauna in your local area is not only fun but can help promote environmentalism, the lack of this cause being what many of these plants suffer from, specifically the endangered species.
We hope you can find you favorite flower in this list.
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