Types of Wildflowers

Picture of red poppy growing wild in field.
Picture of red poppy growing wild in field. David Beaulieu

Take a look at the wildflower selection at the Vermont Wildflower Farm in Hinesburg, Vermont. The farm was established in 1981. One of the owners is a French native and the other hails from Vermont. The owners use the farm as a base for selling seeds for wild plants. Admittance is free to the meadows and woods on the property, where visitors can view many types of wildflowers (with signs that help you identify the plants).

At the farm, you will notice a field of red poppies. The plant is not native to New England, but the Vermont Wildflower Farm does not restrict itself to wildflowers indigenous to Vermont. The owner from France fondly recalls the red poppies growing during his childhood in France and has no qualms including them in his wildflower meadow in New England, along with other non-natives. You can also learn more about plants that are only indigenous to New England.

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    New England Aster

    New England aster
    David Beaulieu

    New England asters are native to the northeastern U.S. There are many types of asters native to the Northeast, including the New England aster (Aster novae-angliae), a perennial listed among the salt-tolerant plants, making it suitable for roadside plantings. Pictured is a cultivar named the "Purple Dome" New England aster. Propagation can be achieved by dividing in the spring.

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    Blanket Flowers

    Blanket flowers
    David Beaulieu

    Blanket flowers are so named because their colors are reminiscent of a Native American blanket. A North American plains wildflower, blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata) offers a two-toned look. Division in spring provides a way to rejuvenate these beautiful blossoms and increase your stock.

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    Queen Anne's Lace Wildflower

    Queen Anne's Lace
    David Beaulieu

    Queen Anne's lace bears the botanical name Daucus carota. Indeed, Queen Anne's lace is related to carrots. If you pull up one of these wildflowers, you can smell a carrot-like fragrance emanating from the bruised roots.

    The one dark little flower in the middle of the flower head is called the "fairy seat." The color can also vary. It can be found in shades of purple or burgundy. In his book "Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast," author Peter Del Tredici describes this special plant feature, "About one in four plants has a single deep purple flower (the "fairy seat") in the center of the cluster of all-white flowers."

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    Bachelor Buttons

    Bachelor buttons
    David Beaulieu

    The origin of the name "bachelor buttons" comes from the way these flowers were once used. They were sometimes placed in the buttonhole of a suit or shirt; bachelors sported the flower when they went courting, according to the Colorado State Extension.

    These flowers are prized as one of the true-blue wildflowers. There are two varieties: the annual known to botanists as Centaurea cyanus (pictured) and to perennial bachelor buttons, Centaurea montana.

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  • 05 of 13

    Plains Coreopsis

    Plains Coreopsis
    Brett_Hondow / Pixabay / CC By 0

    Plains coreopsis is an annual wildflower. Like the blanket flower, plains coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) is indigenous to the North American prairies. Moonbeam coreopsis is a variety that is a perennial.

  • 06 of 13

    Coneflower

    Coneflower
    Tony Howell/Getty Images

    Coneflowers come in many different colors. For example, some common orange coneflowers include Echinacea "Firebird" and "Secret Lust." Those interested in natural remedies may know purple coneflower equally well by its botanical name, Echinacea purpurea. The herbal extract from purple coneflower is reputed to be effective in promoting immune system health. In wildflower gardens, purple coneflower is valued for the purplish color of its petals. Spring is the recommended time to divide this perennial.

  • 07 of 13

    Cardinal Flower

    Cardinal flowers
    Rockerboo / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Cardinal flower is a fine hummingbird plant. It is also ​an effective plant for wet areas. Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is one of the more striking red wildflowers native to eastern North America.

  • 08 of 13

    Rudbeckia

    Black Eyed Susans/Rudbeckia
    David Beaulieu

    If ever a plant needed a common name, it's Rudbeckia hirta, better known as "black-eyed Susan." This plant is just too pretty and cheerful a plant to be called by its mouthful of a botanical name. A wildflower native to eastern North America, black-eyed Susans share the Rudbeckia genus name with gloriosa daisies.

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  • 09 of 13

    White Water Lily

    White water lily
    fevck / Twenty20

    Water lilies or pond lilies are a must wildflower for water gardens. The lily pads of water lilies are perhaps valued as highly as the water lily flowers. And, you may spot frogs lounging around on lily pads (it is not just in fairy tales). The white flowers are most commonly spotted in New England, but there is also a pink-blooming type. These splendid aquatic plants bear the botanical name Nymphaea odorata

    A similar yet different plant (also widely found in New England ponds) is Nuphar luteum, commonly known as the "yellow pond lily." It is similar in the sense that it shares the same natural habitat (ponds) and sports those iconic lily pads, but it is distinct both botanically (different genus) and color (yellow).

  • 10 of 13

    Wild Cosmos

    Wild cosmos
    Dulup / Flickr / CC by 2.0

    Wild cosmos is indigenous to Mexico. Cosmos bipinnatus goes by the common name of "wild cosmos." This wildflower is often used in xeriscaping, a reflection of the fact that it is a drought-resistant plant.

  • 11 of 13

    Chicory

    Chicory flowers
    AKuptsova / Pixababy / CC By 0

    Chicory root (Cichorium intybus), after it is dried, can be roasted and ground up, to serve as a coffee substitute. For plant enthusiasts, chicory (sometimes misspelled "chickory") is valued more like a blue wildflower. It is a native of Europe.

  • 12 of 13

    Shasta Daisy

    Shasta daisies
    James Whitesmith / Getty Images

    Shasta daisy is a hybrid that bears a resemblance to the well-known wildflowers that were originally called "day's eye."

    For example, the oxeye (Leucanthemum vulgare) is an Old World native that has become an invasive plant in North America, despite enjoying popularity like black-eyed susans. Shasta daisies are among the most popular perennial garden plants in North America. "Becky" is a cultivated shasta daisy.

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    How Do Wildflower Farms Get Their Seeds?

    Sign for The Vermont Wildflower Farm.
    David Beaulieu

    Vermont Wildflower Farms said the best way to get their seeds is one of either two ways:

    • On-site hand-gathering
    • Via machines that harvest seeds from plants grown elsewhere

    The farm ships wildflower seed to all points around the world.