• Common Sense Conservation Since 1938
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To promote the conservation, sound management, and sustainable use of Indiana's wildlife and wildlife habitat through education, advocacy, and action.

Native Plants of Indiana

Native Indiana plants are best suited for the soil and weather conditions in our area. As a result, native plants require less fertilizer, fewer pesticides, and less water. Native plants are necessary for healthy wildlife populations and help prevent the spread of invasive, exotic species.

On this page, you will find lists of selected native trees, shrubs, fernsvines, grasses and nectar plants appropriate for your garden or Certified Wildlife Habitat. We also list invasive exotic species you should avoid planting and remove from your property whenever possible.

The list of native plant life in Indiana is long. Some plants are very common, while others are endangered. Plants and organisms do not follow state lines and this means that many of the listed species are only found in small pockets of the state. Although, all can be threatened by invasive species if we do not diligently keep their populations under control.


Interested in Native Plants for your backyard or habitat?  

Check out the IWF Native Plant Sale here.

 

Do you want to see more wildlife in your area?

Go see how with our Certified Wildlife Habitat program!

 


Indiana Native Plants

Click on the name of any plant listed for more details! You can also search for species native to your area with the Native Plant Finder from the National Wildlife Federation. 

Native Trees ♦ Native Shrubs ♦ Native Ferns ♦ Native Vines  ♦ Native Grasses ♦ Wooded Spring Ephemerals ♦ Native Nectar Plants


   

The Red Maple is a beautiful and
popular tree native to Indiana.
Its colorful Fall foliage display
makes it a favorite and a perfect
addition to your Wildlife Habitat!

Native Trees

EVERGREEN:

Eastern Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis
Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperus virginiana
White Cedar, Thuja occidentalis
Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis
White Pine, Pinus strobus
Jack Pine, Pinus banksiana
Virginia Pine, Pinus virginiana
 

DECIDUOUS:

Black Ash, Fraxinus nigra
Blue Ash, Fraxinus quadrangulata
Green Ash, Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Pumpkin Ash, Fraxinus profunda
White Ash, Fraxinus americana
Bigtooth Aspen, Populus grandidentata
American Beech, Fagus grandifolia
Gray Birch, Betula populifolia
Paper Birch, Betula papyrifera
River Birch, Betula nigra
Yellow Birch, Betula alleghaniensis
Blue Beech, Carpinus caroliniana
Box Elder, Acer negundo
Ohio Buckeye, Aesculus glabra
Yellow Buckeye, Aesculus flava
Butternut or White Walnut, Juglans cinerea
Northern Catalpa, Catalpa speciosa
Black Cherry, Prunus serotina
American Chestnut, Castenea dentata
Kentucky Coffeetree, Gymnocladus dioicus
Eastern Cottonwood, Populus deltoides
Swamp Cottonwood, Populus heterophylla
Prairie Crabapple, Malus ioensis
Sweet Crabapple, Malus coronaria
Devil's Walking Stick, Aralia spinosa
Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida
Pagoda Dogwood, Cornus alternifolia
American Elm, Ulmus americana
Cork Elm, Ulmus thomasii
Slippery Elm, Ulmus rubra
Winged Elm, Ulmus alata
Common Hackberry, Celtis occidentalis
Cockspur Hawthorn, Crataegus crus-galli
Dotted Hawthorn, Crataegus punctata
Downy Hawthorn, Crataegus mollis
Green Hawthorn, Crataegus viridis
Eastern/Canadian Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis
Bitternut Hickory, Carya cordiformis
Black Hickory, Carya texana
Mockernut Hickory, Carya tomentosa
Pignut Hickory, Carya glabra
Sand Hickory, Carya pallida
Shagbark Hickory, Carya ovata
Shellbark Hickory, Carya laciniosa
Honey Locust, Gleditsia triacanthos
American Hop-hornbeam, Ostrya virginiana
Hoptree, Ptelea trifoliata
American Hornbeam, Carpinus caroliniana
American Larch, Larix laricina
Black Locust, Robinia pseudoacacia
Water Locust, Gleditsia aquatica
Cucumber Tree (Magnolia), Magnolia acuminata
Umbrella Magnolia, Magnolia tripetala
Black Maple, Acer nigrum
Red Maple, Acer rubrum
Silver Maple, Acer saccharinum
Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum
Showy Mountain-ash, Sorbus decora
Red Mulberry, Morus rubra
Black Oak, Quercus velutina
Blackjack Oak, Quercus marilandica
Bur Oak, Quercus macrocarpa
Cherrybark Oak, Quercus pagoda
Chestnut Oak, Quercus montana
Chinkapin Oak, Quercus muehlenbergii
Northern Pin or Hill's Oak, Quercus ellipsoidalis
Overcup Oak, Quercus lyrata
Pin Oak, Quercus palustris
Post Oak, Quercus stellata
Red Oak, Quercus rubra
Scarlet Oak, Quercus coccinea
Shingle Oak, Quercus imbricaria
Shumard Oak, Quercus shumardii
Swamp Chestnut Oak, Quercus michauxii
Swamp White Oak, Quercus bicolor
White Oak, Quercus alba
Pawpaw, Asimina triloba
Pecan, Carya illinoinensis
Persimmon, Diospyros virginiana
American Plum, Prunus americana
Balsam Poplar, Populus balsamifera
Tulip Poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera
Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis
Sassafras, Sassafras albidum
Allegheny Serviceberry, Amelanchier laevis
Downy Serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea
Sourwood, Oxydendrum arboreum
Sugarberry, Celtis laevigata
Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua
Sycamore, Platanus occidentalis
Tamarack, Larix laricina
Black Tupelo or Black Gum, Nyssa sylvatica
Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
Black Willow, Salix nigra
Peachleaf Willow, Salix amigdaloides
Yellowwood, Cladrastis kentukea
 

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Native Shrubs

Southern Arrowwood, Viburnum dentatum 
Prickly Ash, Zanthoxylum americanum
Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis
Black Chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa 
Gray Dogwood, Cornus racemosa
Silky Dogwood, Cornus amomum
Elderberry, Sambucus Canadensis
Blackhaw, Viburnum prunifolium
American Hazelnut, Corylus americana 
Nannyberry, Viburnum lentago
Common Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius
New Jersey Tea, Ceanothus americanus
Common Serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea
Spicebush, Lindera benzoin
Fragrant Sumac, Rhus aromatic
Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra 
Staghorn Sumac, Rhus typhina 
Virginia Sweetspire, Itea virginica
Eastern Wahoo, Euonymus atropurpureus 
Common Winterberry, Ilex verticillata

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Elderberry


 

 

 

Ostrich Fern

Native Ferns

Bracken Fern, Pteridium aquilinum
Christmas Fern, Polystichum acrostichoides
Cinnamon Fern, Osmunda cinnamomea
Eastern Hay-scented Fern, Dennstaedtia punctilobula
Common Lady Fern, Athyrium filix-femina
Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum pedatum
Marginal Shield Fern, Dryopteris marginalis
New York Fern, Thelypteris noveboracensis
Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis
Shield Fern, Dryopteris carthusiana
Ostrich Fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris

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Trumpet Creeper

Native Vines

Crossvine, Bignonia capreolata
Hedge Bindweed, Calystegia sepium
Trumpet Creeper, Campsis radicans
Cat Greenbrier, Smilax glauca 
Groundnut, Apios americana
Trumpet Honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirens
Vasevine, Clematis viorna
Virgin’s Bower, Clematis virginiana 
Virginia Creeper, Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Woolly Dutchman's Pipe, Aristolochia tomentosa

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Indian Grass

Native Grasses

Switch Grass, Panicum virgatum
Indian Grass, Sorghastrum nutans
Little Bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium
Big Bluestem, Andropogon gerardii
Side-Oats Grama, Bouteloua curtipendula
Junegrass, Koeleria macrantha
Indian Seaoats, Chasmanthium latifolium
Virginia Wild Rye, Elymus virginicus
Bottlebrush Grass, Elymus hystrix
Prairie Dropseed, Sporobolus heterolepis

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 Wooded Spring Ephemerals

 

Otherwise known as woodland wildflowers, spring ephemerals are characterized by their: early blooming, quick seed dispersal, and rapid retraction back into the root and bulb systems.
 

Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica  --  April-May                                  
Celandine Poppy, Stylphorum diphyllum  --  April- May                         Virginia Bluebells
Wild Geranium, Geranium maculatum  --  April-June
White Troutlily, Erythonium albidum  --  February-April
Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica  --  April-May
Jacob's Ladder, Polemonium reptans  --  April-May
Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis  --  March-April
Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria  --  April-May
Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense  --  April-June
Skunk Cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus  --  February-April

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Native Nectar Plants

Nearly every blooming tree, shrub,
perennial, or annual will provide some
nectar for butterflies and other insects.
This list includes favorites in many
habitats:

Redbud, Cercis canadensis
Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida
Blue Wild Indigo, Baptisia australis
Butterfly WeedAsclepias tuberosa
Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa
Wild Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis
Foxglove Beardtongue, Penstemon digitalis
Rough Blazing Star, Liatris aspera
Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea
Showy Goldenrod, Solidago speciosa
New England Aster, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae
Common Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis

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White Aster

 

Nectar only meets part of butterflies' food requirements. Many species lay their eggs only on specific plants, and to keep these butterflies in your habitat, one needs to provide larval, or caterpillar, food as well.

Monarchs are common and particularly interesting butterflies. Their migration to Mexico can be followed on Monarch Watch. Attract them to your yard with their specific larval food, any of five kinds of Milkweed: common, showy, swamp, butterfly weed, or annual Blood Flower.

Pesticides ravage butterflies, their eggs, and caterpillars when sprayed on flowers, trees, shrubs, and lawns. Try to accept some damage on your leaves rather than using harmful chemicals.

Looking to help monarchs by planting milkweed in your yard? Click here to find sources of milkweed seed in your area!