Share in the beauty and grandeur of Nature’s wonderful gift to us all, the extraordinary artistry of New Hampshire's beautiful wildflowers, and learn something about them in the process.
New Hampshire’s wildflowers will be found on its mountains, on its roadsides, and in its fields, forests and wetlands. The diversity of the flowers is remarkable, both in color and design.
The flowers may appear very simple, or wonderfully and beautifully intricate. It is estimated that more than 3500 species of wildflowers grow wild in New England. This site represents a small but growing sample of those found in New Hampshire, with new examples
added regularly. Each flower has been photographed in its natural setting, without the use of artificial lighting or background, and with a clear and close emphasis on the blossoms as that is where the eye is naturally drawn. Accompanying each photograph is
an identification and description of the wildflower.
We hope that this site will help you to gain a greater appreciation of nature, to learn about New Hampshire’s native plants and to help preserve them for future generations. Photographs are an effective and permanent way to share wildflowers
that are discovered. Picking wildflowers can prevent others from enjoying them and even lead to a reduction in a species’ population. In some cases picking wildflowers can be illegal.
There is a mutually beneficial relationship between wildflowers and some insects, birds and other creatures: while the wildflowers provide a source of food to them, the creatures help pollinate the flowers for the perpetuation of the floral
This site can assist you to identify wildflowers you may have come upon as well as to learn something about their anatomy. For purposes of identification, the wildflowers are sorted in this site by color and by common name.
Identifying wildflowers by color.
Sorting flowers by color is the simpler method to follow, although it has its limitations.
Some species can have more than one color phase, or more than one color that is prominent on the same blossom. There is also the problem of "borderline"; color in which a species may be placed in more than one color category: for example, the violet
and blue categories, or the yellow and green categories.
Finding flowers by color is assisted by the use of thumbnails in each color category. By clicking on a particular thumbnail example, the viewer can enlarge the photo and find the full description of the selected flower.
The color groups are arranged in the flowing order:
White, red and orange, pink, yellow, blue and purple, and green. A flower may blend into another color and therefore may be listed in one or more other color categories. It may therefore be helpful to search in other color locations for a flower
when looking to identify a particular species. For example, a basically white flower could range from apparently pure white to a pale pink, blue or yellow pastel. A flower with a mixture of colors, such as a mixture of red and pink or blue and violet might
be in the pink or blue category.
Identifying flowers by name.
The flowers are also indexed alphabetically by common name and by scientific name. Clicking on the name in either plant index will bring you to the chosen flower. From there you
can return to the index or choose to enter the color category thumbnails.
The common names of wildflowers can be highly variable and can differ from region to region, and even from one wildflower reference to another. The primary name used on this site for a wildflower is the name believed to be most commonly used
in New Hampshire. Cross reference to other names is not provided, but printed references on wildflowers, such as those listed at the end of this section, may be helpful in identifying other commonly used names for a particular wildflower.
Each wildflower has only one scientific name which is used uniformly worldwide. The scientific names given on this site are based on regional wildflower reference books and field guides that also compile, describe and illustrate the plants found
on this site. Again, these references are listed for your aid.
The captions accompanying each photograph give the plant’s common name, physical dimensions of the plant and flower, typical habitat of the plant, and the flower’s normal blooming period. The flowers are not shown in actual size, nor
in relative size to another flower or species. The caption ends with a reference to the flower’s listing under another color category if applicable.
Each flower description begins with a summary of the flower’s physical characteristics.
The photographs have been cropped to emphasize the flower blossoms themselves, although leaves and other identifying features may also be shown.
Description of flowers and leaves.
The diameter or length (if asymmetrical) of each flower is given along with a description and physical dimension of the plant’s leaves.
The overall height of the plant is given. However, in cases such as vines and aquatic plants, the length is given.
Each description includes the date on which the accompanying photograph was taken (in most cases) and the blooming period of the plant. It should be noted that, although a general blooming season can be identified for New Hampshire, the actual
time during which a particular wildflower may be seen blossoming can vary greatly depending on locality and altitude as well as climatic conditions in any particular year. For example, a specific wildflower will likely bloom earlier in southern New Hampshire
than in the North Country. Likewise, a flower will bloom sooner at lower elevation than higher.
Most wildflowers grow under conditions unique for the particular plant. A Pink Lady’s Slipper is normally found in shady wooded areas; whereas goldenrod is often found in open sunny fields. Accordingly the typical habitat of each wildflower
Most flowers consist of four series of parts. The outer, often green series is the calyx, composed of sepals. The next, usually showy series is the corolla, composed of petals. Generally it is the corolla that most clearly reveals the character
and symmetry of a flower. The calyx and the corolla together are called the perianth. In some plants sepals and petals may look alike. In others petals may be missing, and only green, sepal-like structures are present. In a small number of plants there are
no petals, but the sepals are petal-like and sometimes very showy, which can be confusing. A very small number of flowers have neither sepals or petals. Sepals may be joined to one another and form a dish, bell, or tube; petals may also be joined in such shapes.
If petals are separate, a gentle tug on one will remove only one; if they are joined, all petals will be removed together. If the flower has separate petals, the number of petals typically found on that species is given in the description. On the other hand,
if the flower has joined petals, the number of lobes of the corolla is given.
Just inside the petals, and often attached to the corolla in plants with joined petals, are the stamens. Each stamen consists of a relatively slender stalk (filament) and a pollen-bearing body called the anther. In the very center of the flower
is at least one pistil. The pistil has a swollen basal portion, the ovary, containing ovules. Each ovule contains an egg. The ovules grow into seed.
All these flower parts may be attached at the top of the ovary or at its base. The ovary matures into a fruit, such as a berry. Above the ovary is a stout or slender, sometimes branched style, topped by a pollen-receiving stigma. The pollen inside the anther
is transferred to the stigma by insects, animals or birds, or by wind or water. This is pollination. The pollen produces the sperm that fertilizes the egg within the flower.
The Anatomy of a Wildflower
From Wikipedia: www.wikipedia.com/anatomy of a flower
Flowers may be a single blossom at the end of the stem (terminal) or singly all along the stem in the leaf axils (the angle between the stem and the upper side of the leaf). Often flowers are arranged in clusters (inflorescences) set apart from
the rest of the plant. The clusters may be flat-topped, elongated, or more-or-less round, and they may be relatively loose or dense. For example, a flower cluster can have a number of branches all attached at one point, an inflorescence called an umbel. Another
type of cluster, such as is found in the aster family, has a cluster of tiny flowers, some forming the button-like, central disk, others forming the petal-like rays; all are collectively called the head (blossom) appearing as a single, radially symmetrical
flower. Small leaves near the flower or in or near the flower cluster are called bracts.
Leaves can be an important aid in identifying a wildflower. Each leaf has two parts, a stalk (petiole) and a blade. A leaf may be simple, with the blade all in one piece, or it may be compound. In a compound leaf the blade is composed of separate
parts - the leaflets - either arranged along a central stalk (pinnately compound), or attached at the end of a stalk and spreading (palmately compound). The edges of leaves and leaflets may be smooth, toothed, or lobed, the depth of which varies from species
Leaves can be arranged on a plant alternately, opposite,
in a ring around the stem, or at ground level. Alternate leaves are attached at different
levels on the stem. Opposite leaves, when two in number, are attached at the same
level but on opposite sides of the stem. Opposite leaves, three or more in number
and attached in a ring around the stem at the same level, are called whorled. Leaves
that are attached at ground level are called basal, and if there are several or many
such leaves, they form what is called a basal rosette.
All of the photographs found in this website were taken using the following equipment:
Camera: Canon EOS 5D and Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital cameras
Principal lenses: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS.
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L macro zoom
Canon 70-200 f/4.0L IS zoom
Other: Canon extension tubes EF12 and EF25
Giottos MT9370 tripod with Manfrotto ball head
Gitzo GT2541EX tripod and Gitzo GH3750QR ball head
Canon remote switch RS-80N3
Software: Adobe Photoshop CS4
for the extraordinary creative efforts of John Rowe of Rowewoodcraft in the development of this website,
Carolyn Temmallo, Evelyn Nathan and George DeWolf for their kind assistance in spotting wildflowers.
The following books and field guides are excellent sources for additional information on wildflowers and their identification:
Wildflowers of the White Mountains: A Field Guide to New Hampshire's Wildflowers, from Valley to Summit, John Hession and Valerie Michaud, Huntington Graphics, Burlington, Vermont, 2003.
Wildflowers in the Field and Forest: A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States, Steven Clemants and Carol Gracie, Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 2006.
New England Wildflowers: A Guide to Common Plants, Frank Kaczmarek, Morris Book Publishing, 2009.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers: Eastern Region, John W. Thierer, Revising Author, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, New York, 2001.
Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: Lawrence Newcomb, Little, Brown & Co., New York, New York, 1997.
Peterson Field Guides-Wildflowers: Northeasten/North-central North America, Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny, Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, New York, 1996.
Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada: Second Edition, Henry A. Gleason and Arthur Cronquist, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York, 1991.
Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual: Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada, Noel H. Holmgren, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York, 1998.