There are many impressive wildflowers across the southern parts of the United States, each with its individual charm and endless beauty.
Many hikers love to check out the best of what is on offer in the wilderness, but it can be hard to know what to look out for with so much variety.
If you’re wondering about the best southern wildflowers, look no further – you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’re going to provide you with a list of the 15 best southern wildflowers across the continent.
We’ve made sure to include some interesting facts about each, as well as defining physical characteristics to help you identify them. So let’s get right into it and explore the wonders of southern wildflowers.
1. Carolina Lily
The Carolina Lily, Latin named Lilum michauxii, is a recognizable wildflower that is native to southeastern parts of the United States. It grows up to three feet tall and features six wide petals with a deep red spot near its base.
The Carolina Lily blooms in mid-summer, and is often used as an ornamental flower due to its unique, striking appearance.
You should know, however, that the species is currently under threat due to habitat destruction in the Appalachian mountains, so make sure you exercise caution should you see one out in the wild.
2. Butterfly Weed
Butterfly Weed is a bright orange wildflower that you can find across southern parts of the United States.
As its name suggests, it commonly attracts pollinators, from butterflies to hummingbirds. It grows up to around two feet tall and blooms during the mid-summer months.
It is found throughout the United states, used in traditional medicine, and grows most frequently in meadows or open fields.
3. Flame Azalea
This is one of the most beautiful flowers on our list and comes with the long Latin name of Rhododendron calendulaceum.
It’s a gorgeous wildflower that grows up to eight feet in height and features striking clusters of bright orange flowers – giving it the name of ‘flame azalea.’
It is an important part of many ecosystems as it is eaten by birds and favored by many different insects.
4. Black-Eyed Susan
This is a unique flower that can be found in many parts of the southern United States.
It blooms during the mid-summer, all the way up to the early fall, and is a common plant used in the restoration of prairies because of how favored it is by various pollinators.
You can recognize these flowers by noting their long, slender petals that are bright yellow, as well as their bulbous, black centers.
5. Mountain Laurel
The Mountain Laurel, otherwise known as Kalmia latifolia, is a flower that you can find most commonly in the Appalachian Mountains.
It will grow to six feet tall and is recognizable by its pink or white flowers, which will bloom in the early summer months.
You should note that the Mountain Laurel is toxic to humans because it features andromedotoxins, so make sure you’re careful not to ingest this flower or any of the plants.
6. Indian Paintbrush
Some flowers can be classified as parasites, which means that they use the nutrients of other plants to survive.
The Indian Paintbrush is a gorgeous wildflower with bright red and orange petals that can be found throughout the southwestern United States.
It has been used in traditional medicine and is a favorite flower of many people across the world due to its unique, striking look.
The Coneflower, Latin named Echinacea, is a very popular wildflower that can be found in prairies and meadows across the southern United States.
It will grow to around three feet tall at a maximum, and blooms into pinkish-purple flowers during the late summer months.
By fall, many of these flowers will be gone, so you need to make sure you catch them at the right time to see them in all of their splendor.
The Bluebonnet is a flower native to the state of Texas. It is notable for its clusters of bright blue flowers that bloom in the spring.
It is the state flower of Texas and used as a symbol of state pride. Because of this, you will likely find it used in many flower gardens across the state or landscaping projects.
The flowers can have either a white or pink/purple center, and the central stem will usually be a pale green color, bordering on yellow.
Although the name of this flower might sound intimidating, Bloodroot is actually a remarkably beautiful flower.
It gets its name because of its sap, which is blood red and located in its stem. This sap has been used for centuries as a natural dye, but also for medicinal purposes.
The flower is around eight inches tall and will feature a singular white flower with yellow stamens. Its petals are long and expand out from the central stem.
10. Virginia Bluebell
The Virginia Bluebell, also known as Mertensia virginica, is a wildflower native to eastern parts of the United states.
It will grow to around two feet tall and features distinctive clusters of pink buds, which then open to reveal blue flowers in the spring.
The Virginia Bluebell is an important part of whatever ecosystem it is in, and favored by pollinators like bees and butterflies.
The Redbud isn’t actually red at all, but features pink flowers that jut up from the bottom of the plant.
The flowers are tiny and resemble roses, and often cluster together in great groups. You’ll find Redbud in southern parts of the United States, and will be amazed by its gorgeous color that you can spot from a mile away.
The Latana, also known as Latana camara, is a vibrant wildflower that you can find in many parts of the Americas. It features flowers that bloom throughout the summer and fall, and is a favorite of butterflies.
One of the most striking parts of this flower is the variety of colors you’ll find across its petals. Petals are often red, blue, purple, orange, and yellow all on the same plant. This makes them very noticeable and a great choice for ornamental use.
13. Purple Passionflower
Purple Passion Flower grows in southeastern parts of the United States. It can grow up to 10 feet tall and features purple and white flowers.
The normal blooming time for these flowers is mid-summer, and is sometimes called a symbol of love. Passion Flowers have a very unique look to them, with odd strands that jut out from the sides and in the center of the plant.
14. Spider Lily
If there’s one flower on this list we can confidently say is the most striking, then it will have to be the spider lily. You’ve probably heard of this flower before, as it is an extremely popular flower across the world.
Spider lilies got their name from the long-stranded petals that sprout out from singular stems. They bloom in mid-summer and can be found across different parts of the southeastern United States.
Phlox – Latin named Phlox paniculata, is a popular wildflower native to southeastern parts of the United States.
It is notable for its clusters of tiny, pink flowers that bloom in mid-summer, however, there are also purple and white variations.
It has a recognizably sweet fragrance and is a popular choice for beginner gardeners who want a striking flower that is easy to look after and color their garden.
So that was our list of the 15 best southern wildflowers to spot on your next adventure out into the wilderness.
Exploring the best of what nature has to offer is a rewarding experience for hikers, nature lovers, or those who just want to get out of the trappings of modern life. Thankfully, the southern United States is a gigantic area with always something new to see.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the beauty of the Flame Azalea, or the delicate nature of the Carolina Lily, you will be sure to find something rewarding.
We hope that this article has told you everything you wanted to know and that you’re now more confident about the different flowers you can spot in the southern United States. If you still have some questions, check out our FAQ below. Until next time!
Frequently Asked Questions
Some wildflowers can be hard to grow, especially those that require difficult soil or harsh sunlight. However, southern plants are often very tough and can deal with harsh conditions.
Spring to late summer is going to be the best time for you to spot wildflowers, but that doesn’t mean you won’t also be able to see some in the early fall, and even the winter in some cases.