It seems like everywhere you look, the native flowers of the Chesapeake are in full bloom. We asked our native plant-loving staff to provide a few fun facts about some of their favorite native plants! From herbal teas to honey bees, it’s fascinating to learn about the beneficial qualities of our native plants! We hope that you learn something new.

1. Jewel Weed (Impatiens capensis)

Found across the entire Chesapeake Bay region, Jewel Weed has a beautiful orange flower that attracts many of our native pollinators. If you find yourself attracted to its beauty, beware! Jewel Weed is often found within proximity to poison ivy. Lucky for you, the sap from Jewel Weed is a natural remedy for the skin irritations caused by plants like stinging nettle and poison ivy.

Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service

2. Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica)

Blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica) is our longest-living hardwood species in the US; the oldest known individual is currently about 700 years old. It is also prone to heart rot but has very rot-resistant heartwood, so it was commonly used for water piping in early colonial/American cities. To this day, utilities crews in Philly and other cities will still occasionally dig up a blackgum pipe that’s been functioning for centuries. Ryan Davis shares even more information about blackgum in this episode of Tree Talks.

Photo Credit: U.S. Forest Service

3. Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)

Partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) in an annual wildflower that produces beautiful yellow flowers. They persist from mid-summer through the fall, making it fantastic for a range of pollinator species. While the flowers don’t hold nectar, they have nectar glands that feed nectar-seeking species.

Photo Credit: Ryan Davis, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

4. Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) got its name from an antiquated school of thought called the “Doctrines of Signatures”, where people thought God was telling us how to use plants through his design of them. Boneset’s leaves fuse across the stem, so people thought, due to the Doctrine of Signatures, that it helped broken bones to fuse, so its leaves were wrapped inside casts and splints. It turns out boneset doesn’t help bones to fuse but does help treat colds and coughs.

Photo Credit: Ryan Davis, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

5. Coneflower (Echinaea)

With long stems and beautiful purple flowers, Coneflowers are often popular with gardeners and pollinators like butterflies and bees. Its flowers are also used as a treatment for cold symptoms and immune system support in the form of herbal teas.

Photo Credit: Jordan Gochenaur, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

If you are interested in learning more about native plants, check out our native plant narratives as well as this article on letting experts help you find the best plants for your native plant garden.