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10 Wildflowers That Grow in Washington, D.C. (Identification Guide With Pictures)

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Wildflowers grow naturally all across the United States, and it can be fun to notice how they change as you travel. Washington, D.C., is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, and many people wonder what flowers they can find there. Keep reading as we list several species of wildflowers that are easy to find in the area.

garden flower divider

The 10 Wildflowers That Grow in Washington, D.C.

1. Skunk Cabbage

Name: Symplocarpus foetidus

The Skunk Cabbage is a short wildflower that you will usually see growing close to the ground near water. It is an interesting-looking plant with a petal-less flower inside a purple hood-like leaf. You shouldn’t eat it because it can cause a burning sensation, but it was used in medicine for many years to treat cough and headaches.

2. Trout Lily

Name: Erythronium Americanum

Many people call the Trout Lily, a Dogtooth Violet. It is native to the eastern United States and is quite common, so it is easy to find in Washington, D.C. It prefers woodland habitats but is easy to spot due to its bright yellow leaves, though many plants won’t have flowers. It gets its name from its mottled foliage that many people think resembles a trout.

3. Blood Root

Name: Sanguinaria canadensis

The Bloodroot is an attractive wildflower that grows close to the ground. It blooms in early spring and has brilliant white petals and yellow stamens. Some can grow to 19 inches, and the stems emit an orange-red sap that is poisonous and irritating to the skin, which gives it its name. Many Native American peoples use the sap as a dye.

4. Coltsfoot

Name: Tussilago farfara

It’s easy to confuse coltsfoot with the dandelion because they look similar, but the flowers are smaller and have different foliage. The yellow, 1-inch flowers appear before the leaves and grow in small clusters. Look for these flowers wherever dead leaves help create the perfect growing environment.

5. Twin Leaf

Name: Jeffersonia diphylla

The Twin Leaf wildflower is an easy-to-find plant in Washington, D.C, as it’s fairly common in the northeastern United States. It prefers damp loamy soil, and the twin leaves that it produces early in the season are as attractive as the flower that blooms later. It’s also easy to grow in pots, and many people like to add it to their gardens.

6. Wood Poppy

Name: Stylophorum diphyllum

The Wood Poppy is an attractive yellow flower with a strong cold resistance that makes it appealing to grow at home in Washington, D.C. The plants can reach 2 feet tall and produce flowers throughout the spring and summer, making them easy to spot in the wild. They like plenty of moisture, so you will usually find them near streams and rivers.

7. Spicebush

Name: Lindera benzoin

Spicebush is a common forest shrub found throughout Washington, D.C. The small flowers look like popcorn, bloom in early March, and don’t have leaves. Once the flowers fade, oblong green leaves will appear before bright red berries, making them easy to spot throughout much of the year. Another feature of these wildflowers is that they produce a fragrant aroma that many people enjoy.

8. Star Chickweed

Name: Stellaria pubera

Star Chickweed is an attractive white flower that usually has 10 petals with a star appearance and several bright red stamens that make it easy to identify. It produces many seeds, so it is a good choice if you want to bring birds to your property. You can find them throughout Washington, D.C., and other eastern states.

9. Virginia Bluebells

Name: Mertensia virginica

Virginia Bluebells are among the most attractive varieties on this list, and despite their name, you can find them easily in Washington, D.C. You can spot them easily growing along the river, and their bright blue and pink flowers will stand out against the background, especially with their deep green foliage.

10. Spring Beauty

Name: Claytonia virginica

The Spring Beauty is an attractive wildflower that you can find throughout Washington, D.C. It’s a white flower with bright pink veins in each petal and a yellow center that makes it easy to identify, despite its small size. It’s a grassy plant that you can find in any wooded area, and it is also common along the flower divider


You can find several different wildflowers in Washington, D.C., and there are many more if you look hard enough. If you are a beginner, the Virginia Bluebells are good ones to seek out because the colorful flowers are easy to spot and plentiful along the river. The Spicebush is also easy to find by its strong aroma alone. The Spring Beauty and the Skunk Cabbage are harder to spot but well worth the effort.

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Featured Image Credit: lampwright, Pixabay

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