8 Native Plants in North Dakota

Written by Lev Baker
Updated: December 18, 2022
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As one of the coldest states in the United States, North Dakota is not likely to be first on your list as home to diverse plants. Surprisingly, however, there are many beautiful, indigenous plants that grow in North Dakota’s diverse ecosystems. This blog post will introduce you to a few of them!

1. Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

swamp milkseed

The monarch

butterfly lays eggs

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on the milkweed plant, and when the eggs hatch, the caterpillars feed on their leaves.

©iStock.com/Cynthia Shirk

Swamp milkweed, also known as Asclepias Incarnata, is a plant that is native to North Dakota. It is often found growing in wetland areas, hence its common name. This plant is known for its beautiful pink or purple flowers, which bloom in the summer and attract pollinators like butterflies and bees.

In addition to its beautiful flowers, swamp milkweed also has a number of other interesting features. For example, it has large pointy leaves and a sturdy stem that can grow up to four feet tall. The plant also produces silky, hairy seeds that are dispersed by the wind.

Another interesting fact about swamp milkweed is that it is a common host plant for the monarch butterfly. This means that the monarch butterfly lays eggs on the milkweed plant, and when the eggs hatch, the caterpillars feed on their leaves. This makes swamp milkweed an important part of a healthy ecosystem and a great plant to have in your garden. The swamp milkweed averages one of the highest numbers of butterfly eggs out of all milkweed species.

The swamp milkweed is generally an easy plant to care for and maintain in the landscape. This plant can handle very cold temperatures and has a high frost tolerance.

2. White Doll’s Daisy (Boltonia asteroides)

White Doll's Daisy

White doll’s daisy is also a popular choice for use in butterfly gardens, as it is a host plant for the pearl crescent butterfly.

©Lena Novak/Shutterstock.com

The white doll’s daisy is a beautiful plant that is native to North Dakota. It is a member of the aster family and is known for its white, star-shaped flowers that bloom in the late summer and early fall.

One of the most striking features of the white doll’s daisy is its large, flat-topped clusters of flowers. These clusters are made up of hundreds of small, individual flowers, each with a yellow center and white petals. The plant also has tall, sturdy stems and can grow up to five to six feet tall, making it an excellent choice for the back of a flower bed.

In addition to its beautiful flowers, the white doll’s daisy is also known for its long blooming period. It typically begins to flower in late summer and continues to bloom well into the fall, until frost, making it a great plant for extending the flowering season in your garden.

White doll’s daisy is also a popular choice for use in butterfly gardens, as it is a host plant for the pearl crescent butterfly. This means that the pearl crescent butterfly lays its eggs on the white doll’s daisy plant, and when the eggs hatch, the caterpillars feed on the plant’s leaves.

Overall, the white doll’s daisy is a beautiful and versatile plant that is well-suited to various garden settings.

3. Water Sedge (Carex aquatilis)

Water sedge is generally a low-maintenance plant, but it is essential to keep an eye out for any pests or diseases.

©Lena Havryliuk/Shutterstock.com

Water sedge, also known as Carex Aquatilis, is an incredibly hardy and adaptable species, thriving nearly anywhere there is water – from lowland bogs to shallow ponds to the edges of streams or rivers.

This sedge gives off an iconic look – densely packed blades form a rounded clump with thin flower spikes protruding in some areas. The plant also has long, narrow leaves that are bright green in color. It also has small, inconspicuous flowers that are typically brown or reddish in color.

Water sedge is generally a low-maintenance plant, but it is essential to keep an eye out for any pests or diseases. Common pests include aphids and slugs, which can be controlled using organic methods or pesticides.

Water sedge is an important food source for wildlife like frogs and ducks – the tiny seed heads offer nutritious sustenance while its foliage provides shelter from predators. It’s also an important habitat for endangered species like the bog turtle! So the next time you’re near a wetland, take a moment to admire this amazing species!

4. Sawtooth Sunflower (Helianthus grosseserratus)

One of the most distinctive features of the sawtooth sunflower is its serrated leaves, which are arranged in a saw-tooth pattern along the stem.

©Barbara Smits/Shutterstock.com

The sawtooth sunflower, also known by its scientific name Helianthus Grosseserratus, is another plant native to North Dakota. It is a member of the sunflower family and is known for its large, yellow flowers that bloom in the late summer and early fall.

One of the most distinctive features of the sawtooth sunflower is its serrated leaves, which are arranged in a saw-tooth pattern along the stem. The plant also has tall, sturdy stems that can grow up to six feet tall and large, daisy-like flowers that can grow up to six inches across.

The sawtooth sunflower is also a popular choice for use in butterfly gardens, as it is a host plant for some butterfly species. This plant’s long blooming period and beautiful flowers make it a great addition to any garden.

5. Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

One of the most prominent features of the

ostrich

fern is its large size.

©Manfred Ruckszio/Shutterstock.com

The ostrich fern is a beautiful and versatile plant. It is a member of the fern family and is known for its large, feathery fronds that are deep green in color.

One of the most prominent features of the ostrich fern is its large size. The plant can grow up to six feet tall, and its fronds can be up to four feet long. The fronds are divided into smaller segments, which are arranged in a distinctive V-shaped pattern.

In addition to its attractive appearance, the ostrich fern is also known for its ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It can grow in full sun to partial shade and prefers moist, well-draining soil.

The ostrich fern is a popular choice for use in a variety of garden settings, including shady woodlands, damp riverbanks, and naturalized areas. It is also a popular choice for rain gardens, as it filters and absorbs excess water preventing waterlogged soil.

Its large size and attractive fronds make it a great addition to any garden, and its ability to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions makes it a valuable plant to have.

6. Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)

One of the most interesting features of an obedient plant is its ability to hold its flowers in a fixed position, no matter how they are moved.

©Gurcharan Singh/Shutterstock.com

The obedient plant is a stunning flower plant that has both beauty and brains – it literally obeys its owner! This perennial blooms from May to October, bringing pink, white, and magenta colors to any landscape. It is a member of the mint family and is known for its tall, sturdy stems.

One of the most interesting features of an obedient plant is its ability to hold its flowers in a fixed position, no matter how they are moved. This is why it is called an “obedient” plant – because the flowers seem to be obediently holding their position.

It has long been revered for its unique ability to stay put when bent one way or another; if you move it into your desired placement after planting, the stem will remain in place for quite some time without any additional support.

It thrives in moist but well-drained soil and is highly adaptable to different climates and soil types. Some folks add a bit of limestone to their chosen growing site to ward off disease and promote strong stems.

Always an attention-grabber, the obedient plant is sure to please flower fanatics everywhere!

7. Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)

Culver’s root is often used in gardens as an ornamental plant due to its tall, slender shape and

attractive flowers

.

©photoPOU/Shutterstock.com

Culver’s root, also known as Veronicastrum virginicum, is a perennial plant that is native to North Dakota. It is a member of the plant family plantaginaceae, which includes other well-known plants such as foxglove and snapdragon.

Culver’s root gets its name from a 19th-century American physician named Dr. Culver, who used it as a medicinal herb to treat various ailments. 

The plant itself is quite tall, reaching heights of up to six feet, with narrow, pointed leaves and spikes of small white, blue, or pink flowers that bloom in the summer.

Culver’s root is often used in gardens as an ornamental plant due to its tall, slender shape and attractive flowers. It is also appealing to butterflies and other pollinators, making it a great addition to a wildlife-friendly garden. In addition to its beauty, Culver’s root is easy to grow and relatively low maintenance.

While Culver’s root has been used medicinally in the past, it is important to note that it can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. Therefore, as with any inedible plant, it is always best to consult a qualified healthcare provider before using it for medicinal purposes.

Overall, Culver’s root is a beautiful and versatile plant that can add a touch of elegance to any garden. Just be sure to handle it with care!

8. White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)

White snakeroot

White snakeroot gets its name from the fact that it was traditionally used by Native Americans to

treat snake bites

.

©Nahhana/Shutterstock.com

The white snakeroot, also called the Ageratina altissima, is one of the many remarkable plants that can be found in North Dakota. It’s a member of the aster family and can be recognized by its daisy-like white flowers that radiate out from its central base.

White snakeroot gets its name from the fact that it was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat snake bites. The plant itself is quite tall, reaching heights of four to six feet tall, with large, oval-shaped leaves and clusters of small white flowers that bloom in the late summer and fall.

The plant is known for spreading, with colonies popping up around its dense cushions of basal leaves dotted in the shade and moist soils.

While this hardy perennial is quite common and easy to identify, there’s an important lesson that needs to be learned about it – it produces a toxin known as tremetol, which is poisonous to mammals when ingested, particularly humans. Due to this fact, it’s important to be mindful and cautious when distinguishing it from other harmless species of plants while hiking or exploring nature outdoors.

For most people, it’s something we don’t have to worry about due to its scarcity, but anyone living in its prime habitat should stay informed.

In short, white snakeroot is a beautiful and elegant plant that can add a touch of grace to any garden. Just be sure to handle it with care and keep it away from grazing animals!

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © Nahhana/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Lev is a writer at AZ Animals who primarily covers topics on animals, geography, and plants. He has been writing for more than 4 years and loves researching topics and learning new things. His three biggest loves in the world are music, travel, and animals. He has his diving license and loves sea creatures. His favorite animal in the world is the manta ray.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Gardenia, Available here: https://www.gardenia.net/native-plants/north-dakota
  2. Izel Plants, Available here: https://www.izelplants.com/native-to/north_dakota?p=3
  3. Backyard Garden Lover, Available here: https://www.backyardgardenlover.com/north-dakota-native-plants-list/