A Peek at the Plants

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Meet the Plants of Rock Creek Park

You can come to know the plants you see in the woods or beside the stream by name. Here's how:

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List of Native Plants of Rock Creek Park

Here are some of the commonly seen native plants you may encounter at Rock Creek Park, alphabetized by common name. The list is not comprehensive (about 200 out of 500 native plants). Click highlighted names to explore more.

(Note: This list does NOT include non-native plants. For a List of Commonly Seen Non-Native Plants, visit Non-Native Invasive Plants of Rock Creek Park.)

Common NameScientific Name
alumroot see American alumroot 
American alumrootHeuchera americana
American basswoodTilia americana
American beechFagus grandifolia
American bladdernutStaphylea trifolia
American cancer-rootConopholis americana
American chestnutCastanea dentata
American elmUlmus americana
American golden-saxifrageChrysosplenium americanum
American hazelnutCorylus americana
American hog-peanutAmphicarpaea bracteata
American hollyIlex opaca
American hornbeamCarpinus caroliniana
American linden see American basswood 
American squawroot see American cancer-root 
American strawberry-bushEuonymus americanus
American sycamorePlatanus occidentalis
American water-willowJusticia americana
American witch-hazelHamamelis virginiana
arrow-woods see viburnums 
ash see also white ash, green ash, pumpkin ashFraxinus spp.
azalea see pink azalea or swamp azalea 
basswood see American basswood 
bear corn see American cancer-root 
beech see American beech 
beechdropsEpifagus virginiana
big bluestemAndropogon gerardii
birches see also river birchBetula spp.
bitternut hickoryCarya cordiformis
black cherryPrunus serotina
black huckleberryGaylussacia baccata
black oakQuercus velutina
black tupelo see blackgum 
black walnutJuglans nigra
blackgumNyssa sylvatica
blackhawViburnum prunifolium
blackhaw viburnum see blackhaw 
blackjack oakQuercus marilandica
bladdernut see American bladdernut 
bloodrootSanguinaria canadensis
bluebells see Virginia bluebells 
blueberries see also hillside blueberryVaccinium spp.
bluestem see big bluestem or little bluestem 
box-elderAcer negundo
broad beechfernPhegopteris hexagonoptera
broadleaf enchanter's-nightshadeCircaea lutetiana ssp. canadensis
butternutJuglans cinerea
Canada clearweedPilea pumila
Canada honewortCryptotaenia canadensis
Canada wood-nettle [don’t touch]Laportea canadensis
cancer-root see American cancer-root 
cardinal flowerLobelia cardinalis
cattailsTypha spp.
cherry see also black cherry (See also cherry* under Non-Native Plants)Prunus spp.
(some native, some not)
chestnut oakQuercus prinus
chestnut see American chestnut 
chickweed see star chickweed 
Christmas fernPolystichum acrostichoides
cinnamon fernOsmunda cinnamomea
clammy azalea see swamp azalea 
clearweed see Canadian clearweed 
common pawpaw see pawpaw 
common serviceberryAmelanchier arborea
common winterberryIlex verticillata
cranefly orchidTipularia discolor
crested woodfernDryopteris cristata
crippled cranefly see cranefly orchid 
cucumber-root see Indian cucumber 
cutleaf toothwortCardamine concatenata
dogtooth violet see yellow trout-lily 
dogwood see flowering dogwood or silky dogwood 
drooping sedgeCarex prasina
Dutchman’s breechesDicentra cucullaria
eastern poison-ivy [don’t touch]Toxicodendron radicans
eastern redbudCercis canadensis
eastern waterleafHydrophyllum virginianum
eastern white pinePinus strobus
elms see also American elm, slippery elmUlmus spp.
false Solomon's seal see Solomon’s plume  
feathery false lily-of-the-valley see  Solomon’s plume 
fern see broad beechfern, Christmas fern, cinnamon fern, crested woodfern, marginal woodfern, New York fern, sensitive fern 
five-leaved ivy see Virginia creeper 
flowering dogwoodCornus florida
fowl mannagrassGlyceria striata
fringetree see white fringetree 
golden ragwortPackera aurea
golden saxifrage see American golden-saxifrage 
grapeVitis spp.
grassesPoaceae
green ashFraxinus pennsylvanica
greenbriers see also roundleaf greenbrierSmilax spp.
hairy sweet-cicelyOsmorhiza claytonii
halberd-leaf tearthumbPolygonum arifolium
hazelnut see American hazelnut 
hearts-a-bustin’ see
American strawberry-bush
 
Heath FamilyEricaceae
hepatica see liverleaf 
hickories see also mockernut hickory, bitternut hickory, pignut hickoryCarya spp.
hillside blueberryVaccinium pallidum
hog-peanut see American hog-peanut 
holly see American holly 
honewort see Canadian honewort 
hophornbeamOstrya virginiana
hornbeam see American hornbeam 
horse-balm see richweed 
huckleberries see also black huckleberryGaylussacia spp.
hydrangea see wild hydrangea 
Indian cucumberMedeola virginiana
Indian-pipeMonotropa uniflora
ironwood see American hornbeam 
ivy see Virginia creeper (See also ivy* under Non-Native Plants) 
Jack-in-the-pulpitArisaema triphyllum
jewelweed see orange jewelweed  
jumpseedPolygonum virginianum
knotweed see halberd-leaf tearthumb or swamp smartweed (See also knotweed* under Non-Native Plants) 
laurel see mountain laurel 
linden see American basswood 
little bluestemSchizachyrium scoparium
liverleafHepatica nobilis
loblolly pinePinus taeda
mapleleaf viburnumViburnum acerifolium
maples see also red maple, silver maple, box-elder, and sugar maple (See also maples* under Non-Native Plants)Acer spp.
(some native, some not)
marginal woodfernDryopteris marginalis
marsh seedboxLudwigia palustris
mayapplePodophyllum peltatum
mockernut hickoryCarya alba
monkeyflowersMimulus spp.
mountain laurelKalmia latifolia
mulberry see red mulberry (See also white mulberry* under Non-Native Plants) 
musclewood see American hornbeam 
nettle see Canadian wood-nettle [don’t touch] or small-spike false nettle 
New York fernThelypteris noveboracensis
northern red oakQuercus rubra
northern spicebushLindera benzoin
oaks see also white oak, black oak, chestnut oak, northern red oak, southern red oak, scarlet oak, shingle oak, overcup oak, post oak, blackjack oak, pin oak, willow oakQuercus spp.
orange jewelweedImpatiens capensis
overcup oakQuercus lyrata
partridgeberryMitchella repens
pawpawAsimina triloba
pignut hickoryCarya glabra
pin oakQuercus palustris
pine see also Virginia pine, loblolly pine, pitch pine, shortleaf pine, Table Mountain pine, or eastern white pinePinus spp.
pink azaleaRhododendron periclymenoides
pinxterbloom azalea see pink azalea 
pipsissewa see striped prince's-pine 
pitch pinePinus rigida
plane tree see American sycamore 
poison-ivy see eastern poison-ivy 
post oakQuercus stellata
poverty oatgrassDanthonia spicata
pumpkin ashFraxinus profunda
ragwort see golden ragwort 
red mapleAcer rubrum
red mulberryMorus rubra
red oak see northern red oak or southern red oak 
redbud see eastern redbud 
rhododendronRhododendron spp.
richweedCollinsonia canadensis
river birchBetula nigra
roundleaf greenbrierSmilax rotundifolia
sassafrasSassafras albidum
scarlet oakQuercus coccinea
sedges see also drooping sedge, twisted sedgeCarex spp.
sensitive fernOnoclea sensibilis
serviceberry see common serviceberry 
shingle oakQuercus imbricaria
shortleaf pinePinus echinata
silky dogwoodCornus amomum
silver mapleAcer saccharinum
skunk-cabbageSymplocarpus foetidus
slippery elmUlmus rubra
small-spike false nettleBoehmeria cylindrica
smartweed see knotweed 
smooth blackhaw see blackhaw 
smooth hydrangea see wild hydrangea 
smooth Solomon’s sealPolygonatum biflorum
snakeroot see white snakeroot 
Solomon’s plumeMaianthemum racemosum
Solomon's seal see smooth Solomon's seal 
southern arrow-woodViburnum dentatum
southern red oakQuercus falcata
spicebush see northern spicebush 
spotted water-hemlock [don’t touch]Cicuta maculata var. maculata
spotted wintergreen see striped prince's-pine 
springbeauty see Virginia springbeauty 
squawroot see American cancer-root 
star chickweedStellaria pubera
starved witchgrassDichanthelium depauperatum
strawberry-bush see American strawberry-bush 
striped pipsissewa see striped prince’s-pine 
striped prince's-pineChimaphila maculata
sugar maple
    (Ecobit: Maple Tree Mystery)
Acer saccharum
swamp azaleaRhododendron viscosum
swamp smartweedPolygonum hydropiperoides
sweet-cicely see hairy sweet-cicely 
sweetgumLiquidambar styraciflua
switchgrassPanicum virgatum
sycamore see American sycamore 
Table Mountain pinePinus pungens
tearthumb see knotweed 
toothwort see cutleaf toothwort 
trout-lily see yellow trout-lily 
tulip poplar see tuliptree 
tuliptreeLiriodendron tulipifera
tupelo see blackgum 
twisted sedgeCarex torta
umbrella-tree see umbrella magnolia 
umbrella magnoliaMagnolia tripetala
viburnums see also mapleleaf viburnum, southern arrow-wood, blackhaw (See also viburnums* under Non-Native Plants)Viburnum spp.
(some native, some not)
violetsViola spp.
Virginia bluebellsMertensia virginica
Virginia creeperParthenocissus quinquefolia
Virginia pinePinus virginiana
Virginia springbeautyClaytonia virginica
Virginia wildryeElymus virginicus
water-hemlock see spotted water-hemlock 
water-willow see American water-willow 
waterleaf see eastern waterleaf 
white ashFraxinus americana
white avensGeum canadense
white fringetreeChionanthus virginicus
white oakQuercus alba
white pine see eastern white pine 
white snakerootAgeratina altissima
white walnut see butternut 
white wood-asterEurybia divaricata
whitegrassLeersia virginica
wild grapes see grape 
wild hydrangeaHydrangea arborescens
wild rye see Virginia wildrye 
wild yamDioscorea villosa
willow oakQuercus phellos
willowsSalix spp.
wingstemVerbesina alternifolia
winterberry see common winterberry 
witch-hazel see American witch-hazel 
woodfern see crested woodfern or marginal woodfern 
yam see wild yam (See also Chinese yam* under Non-Native Plants) 
yellow poplar see tuliptree 
yellow trout-lilyErythronium americanum

"*" means non-native plant

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Get to know Rock Creek Park's native plants! Being able to identify plants can add a new dimension of enjoyment to your visits.

Native plant collage: Partridgeberry – Matt Jones; Mountain laurel – Sam Sheline; Virginia bluebells, American beech, Tuliptree, and Pink azalea– Gary Fleming