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 Name Scientific Name
alumroot see American alumroot  
American alumroot Heuchera americana
American basswood Tilia americana
American beech Fagus grandifolia
American bladdernut Staphylea trifolia
American cancer-root Conopholis americana
American chestnut Castanea dentata
American elm Ulmus americana
American golden-saxifrage Chrysosplenium americanum
American hazelnut Corylus americana
American hog-peanut Amphicarpaea bracteata
American holly Ilex opaca
American hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana
American linden see American basswood  
American squawroot see American cancer-root  
American strawberry-bush Euonymus americanus
American sycamore Platanus occidentalis
American water-willow Justicia americana
American witch-hazel Hamamelis virginiana
arrow-woods see viburnums  
ash see also white ash, green ash, pumpkin ash Fraxinus spp.
azalea see pink azalea or swamp azalea  
basswood see American basswood  
bear corn see American cancer-root  
beech see American beech  
beechdrops Epifagus virginiana
big bluestem Andropogon gerardii
birches see also river birch Betula spp.
bitternut hickory Carya cordiformis
black cherry Prunus serotina
black huckleberry Gaylussacia baccata
black oak Quercus velutina
black tupelo see blackgum  
black walnut Juglans nigra
blackgum Nyssa sylvatica
blackhaw Viburnum prunifolium
blackhaw viburnum see blackhaw  
blackjack oak Quercus marilandica
bladdernut see American bladdernut  
bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis
bluebells see Virginia bluebells  
blueberries see also hillside blueberry Vaccinium spp.
bluestem see big bluestem or little bluestem  
box-elder Acer negundo
broad beechfern Phegopteris hexagonoptera
broadleaf enchanter's-nightshade Circaea lutetiana ssp. canadensis
butternut Juglans cinerea
Canada clearweed Pilea pumila
Canada honewort Cryptotaenia canadensis
Canada wood-nettle [don’t touch] Laportea canadensis
cancer-root see American cancer-root  
cardinal flower Lobelia cardinalis
cattails Typha spp.
cherry see also black cherry (See also cherry* under Non-Native Plants) Prunus spp.
(some native, some not)
chestnut oak Quercus prinus
chestnut see American chestnut  
chickweed see star chickweed  
Christmas fern Polystichum acrostichoides
cinnamon fern Osmunda cinnamomea
clammy azalea see swamp azalea  
clearweed see Canadian clearweed  
common pawpaw see pawpaw  
common serviceberry Amelanchier arborea
common winterberry Ilex verticillata
cranefly orchid Tipularia discolor
crested woodfern Dryopteris cristata
crippled cranefly see cranefly orchid  
cucumber-root see Indian cucumber  
cutleaf toothwort Cardamine concatenata
dogtooth violet see yellow trout-lily  
dogwood see flowering dogwood or silky dogwood  
drooping sedge Carex prasina
Dutchman’s breeches Dicentra cucullaria
eastern poison-ivy [don’t touch] Toxicodendron radicans
eastern redbud Cercis canadensis
eastern waterleaf Hydrophyllum virginianum
eastern white pine Pinus strobus
elms see also American elm, slippery elm Ulmus 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 dogwood Cornus florida
fowl mannagrass Glyceria striata
fringetree see white fringetree  
golden ragwort Packera aurea
golden saxifrage see American golden-saxifrage  
grape Vitis spp.
grasses Poaceae
green ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica
greenbriers see also roundleaf greenbrier Smilax spp.
hairy sweet-cicely Osmorhiza claytonii
halberd-leaf tearthumb Polygonum arifolium
hazelnut see American hazelnut  
hearts-a-bustin’ see
American strawberry-bush
 
Heath Family Ericaceae
hepatica see liverleaf  
hickories see also mockernut hickory, bitternut hickory, pignut hickory Carya spp.
hillside blueberry Vaccinium pallidum
hog-peanut see American hog-peanut  
holly see American holly  
honewort see Canadian honewort  
hophornbeam Ostrya virginiana
hornbeam see American hornbeam  
horse-balm see richweed  
huckleberries see also black huckleberry Gaylussacia spp.
hydrangea see wild hydrangea  
Indian cucumber Medeola virginiana
Indian-pipe Monotropa uniflora
ironwood see American hornbeam  
ivy see Virginia creeper (See also ivy* under Non-Native Plants)  
Jack-in-the-pulpit Arisaema triphyllum
jewelweed see orange jewelweed   
jumpseed Polygonum 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 bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium
liverleaf Hepatica nobilis
loblolly pine Pinus taeda
mapleleaf viburnum Viburnum 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 woodfern Dryopteris marginalis
marsh seedbox Ludwigia palustris
mayapple Podophyllum peltatum
mockernut hickory Carya alba
monkeyflowers Mimulus spp.
mountain laurel Kalmia 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 fern Thelypteris noveboracensis
northern red oak Quercus rubra
northern spicebush Lindera 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 oak Quercus spp.
orange jewelweed Impatiens capensis
overcup oak Quercus lyrata
partridgeberry Mitchella repens
pawpaw Asimina triloba
pignut hickory Carya glabra
pin oak Quercus palustris
pine see also Virginia pine, loblolly pine, pitch pine, shortleaf pine, Table Mountain pine, or eastern white pine Pinus spp.
pink azalea Rhododendron periclymenoides
pinxterbloom azalea see pink azalea  
pipsissewa see striped prince's-pine  
pitch pine Pinus rigida
plane tree see American sycamore  
poison-ivy see eastern poison-ivy  
post oak Quercus stellata
poverty oatgrass Danthonia spicata
pumpkin ash Fraxinus profunda
ragwort see golden ragwort  
red maple Acer rubrum
red mulberry Morus rubra
red oak see northern red oak or southern red oak  
redbud see eastern redbud  
rhododendron Rhododendron spp.
richweed Collinsonia canadensis
river birch Betula nigra
roundleaf greenbrier Smilax rotundifolia
sassafras Sassafras albidum
scarlet oak Quercus coccinea
sedges see also drooping sedge, twisted sedge Carex spp.
sensitive fern Onoclea sensibilis
serviceberry see common serviceberry  
shingle oak Quercus imbricaria
shortleaf pine Pinus echinata
silky dogwood Cornus amomum
silver maple Acer saccharinum
skunk-cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus
slippery elm Ulmus rubra
small-spike false nettle Boehmeria cylindrica
smartweed see knotweed  
smooth blackhaw see blackhaw  
smooth hydrangea see wild hydrangea  
smooth Solomon’s seal Polygonatum biflorum
snakeroot see white snakeroot  
Solomon’s plume Maianthemum racemosum
Solomon's seal see smooth Solomon's seal  
southern arrow-wood Viburnum dentatum
southern red oak Quercus 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 chickweed Stellaria pubera
starved witchgrass Dichanthelium depauperatum
strawberry-bush see American strawberry-bush  
striped pipsissewa see striped prince’s-pine  
striped prince's-pine Chimaphila maculata
sugar maple
    (Ecobit: Maple Tree Mystery)
Acer saccharum
swamp azalea Rhododendron viscosum
swamp smartweed Polygonum hydropiperoides
sweet-cicely see hairy sweet-cicely  
sweetgum Liquidambar styraciflua
switchgrass Panicum virgatum
sycamore see American sycamore  
Table Mountain pine Pinus pungens
tearthumb see knotweed  
toothwort see cutleaf toothwort  
trout-lily see yellow trout-lily  
tulip poplar see tuliptree  
tuliptree Liriodendron tulipifera
tupelo see blackgum  
twisted sedge Carex torta
umbrella-tree see umbrella magnolia  
umbrella magnolia Magnolia tripetala
viburnums see also mapleleaf viburnum, southern arrow-wood, blackhaw (See also viburnums* under Non-Native Plants) Viburnum spp.
(some native, some not)
violets Viola spp.
Virginia bluebells Mertensia virginica
Virginia creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia
Virginia pine Pinus virginiana
Virginia springbeauty Claytonia virginica
Virginia wildrye Elymus virginicus
water-hemlock see spotted water-hemlock  
water-willow see American water-willow  
waterleaf see eastern waterleaf  
white ash Fraxinus americana
white avens Geum canadense
white fringetree Chionanthus virginicus
white oak Quercus alba
white pine see eastern white pine  
white snakeroot Ageratina altissima
white walnut see butternut  
white wood-aster Eurybia divaricata
whitegrass Leersia virginica
wild grapes see grape  
wild hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens
wild rye see Virginia wildrye  
wild yam Dioscorea villosa
willow oak Quercus phellos
willows Salix spp.
wingstem Verbesina 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-lily Erythronium 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