The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, at the University of Texas at Austin, has a database of native plants with some really nice searching options. It’s available at http://www.wildflower.org/plants/ .
Of course you can do the basic searching by name or family (the search function suggests names as you type), but there’s also a great search that allows you to search by state, light requirements, soil moisture, duration, bloom characteristics, and color. I decided I wanted a partial-sun plant for North Carolina with dry soil requirements that blooms in spring and summer.
I got 136 results, everything from the Florida Maple to the Purple Coneflower to Wild Strawberries to Rattlesnake Weed! Results are presented in a table that includes the scientific and common name of the plants as well as images of the plants. (A few listings had no images; many listings had multiple images available.)
Click on the scientific name of a plant and you’ll get a page of information, which varies — usually available is brief information on the plant and a picture. But some pages, like this one for American Wisteria, contains information on growing conditions, the benefit of the plant, related butterflies and moths, bibliography, pointers to additional information, and questions related to Wisteria answered by “Mr. Smarty Plants”. What a terrific gathering of data!
Once you get tired of browsing for plants, check out the other links from the front page of the Native Plant Database, like the collection of how-to articles, the glossary of botanical terms, and the slide show of popular regional wildflowers. Beautiful!
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