Local Flora

Local or indigenous or native plants and flora of Martha’s Vineyard


Hedyotis caerulea; Bluets

Member of the Rubiaceae family
Soil – wet to dry
Light – partial sun to shade
Small opposite leaves on slender stems, four petaled flowers are bluish on edges turning white with yellow centers.


 Acer rubrum; Red Maple (seed wings)

Aceraceae family
Soil – dry to wet, occasionally in standing water
Open-crowned tree to 60 feet; leaves simple, opposite, 2-4 inches, medium to dark green turning vibrant shades of yellow, red, and orange in autumn; fruit, 1 inch long red-winged in late spring.


Amelanchier canadensis; Shadbush or Serviceberry

Rosaceae family
Soil – moist well drained is best but will tolerate dry and wet soils
Light – sun to partial shade
Leaves alternate, toothed, shrubby habitat with a profusion of white flowers in early spring, later an abundance of small brightly colored fruit.


Arctostaphylos uvi-ursi; Bearberry

Member of the Ericaceae family
Soil – very drained sandy or sloping rock surfaces
Light – sun to partial shade
About 9 inches tall with a 3 foot or more spread; glossy, thick, evergreen with small simple, alternate leaves that become bronze to reddish in autumn; small urn-shaped white flowers with a pink margin; fruit bright red, matures in late summer.


Asclepias tuberosa; Butterfly Weed

Member of the Asclepiadacea family
Soil – well drained, thrives in sandplains
Light – sun
Grows 12-36 inches tall, upright flat clusters of bright orange to red-orange sometimes yellow flowers in summer; larvae of the Monarch butterfly eat the foliage and other insects feed on the nectar of the flowers.


Blue-eyed Grass

Iridaceae Family
Soil – moist
Light – partial sun to sun
Strap-like foliage about 12″ tall; star-shaped bluish purple flowers with bright yellow center, blooms in mid spring.


Dennstaedtia punctilobula; Hay Scented Fern (unfolding)

A brittle, yellowish-green fern, erect and slightly arching; found in dry, partially shaded woodlands, spreads rapidly, grows to 16″ tall.


Hypericum perforatum; Common St. John’s Wort

Clusiaceae family; Common St. Johnswort
Soil – dry to moist
Light – sun to shade
Grows in a mounding, arching framework of rich green-blue leaves which end with 2 1/2-3 inch bright yellow flowers through June and sporadically into fall.


Hypoxis hirsuta; Yellow Stargrass

Member of the Amaryllidaceae Family
Soil – dry to moist
Light – Sun
Leaves that resemble grass; bright yellow, six pointed, star-shaped flowers; found in meadows and fairly dry open woods. Blooms late April-July; plant grows 3-7″.


Iris versicolor; Blue Flag Iris

Iridaceae family
Soil – wet to moist
Light – sun to partial shade
Grows 24-36 inches tall; blue-violet to purple flowers in late spring; thrives in shallow wetlands, coastal saltpond shores.


Juncus effusus; Soft Rush

Juncaceae family – native
Soil – wet to water
Grows in wetlands in large clumps, clusters of very small greenish-brown flowers from July to September, leaves are spear like basal sheaths 6″ long, rush grows 1 1/2 – 4 feet.


Rosa virginiana; Virginia Rose

Rosaceae family – native
Soil – dry to moist, well drained
Light – sun
Grows in a dense mound to 6′ tall, leaves pinantely compound, dark green, glossy, turning shades of red, purple, orange, and yellow in fall; flowers pink, fragrant to 2 1/2″ diameter in early summer; brilliant red fruit into winter.


Trientalis borealis; Starflower

Member of the Primulaceae family
Soil – rich, moist to wet
Light – partial shade to shade
Bright white star shaped flowers on slender stalks 1 to 2 inches long. Blooms in late spring and early summer. Lance shaped leaves in one set of whorls on stem about 6 inches tall. Found on the coastal plain.


Vaccinium angustifolium; Lowbush Blueberry

Ericaceae family
Soil – dry to moist, acidic, sandy or rocky
Light – sun
Grows to about 2′ high and wider; leaves simple, alternate, bright green, shiny, turning shades of red and orange in fall; flowers in mid-spring, urn-shaped white tinged with pink to red; fruit round bluish black in late summer, sweet.


Vaccinium corymbosum; Highbush Blueberry (buds)

Member of the Ericaceae family
Soil – moist, well drained, acidic, high in organic matter but can tolerate wet, sandy, acidic soil
Light – sun for best fruit production and autumn colors, can take partial shade
Grows to 10 feet tall with somewhat arching stems. Can spread in width to 10 feet. Leaves simple, alternate, dark green turning brilliant shades of red, purple, orange, and yellow in autumn; white urn-shaped flowers 1/3 inch long in late spring. Fruit is a round, bluish-black, tart to sweet berry in mid-summer.


Vitas labrusca; Fox Grape (bud)

Member of the Vitaceae family
Soil – moist, well drained
Light – sun
This is a high climbing vine with tendrils all along the stem, alternate leaves, broad, often three lobed. The fruit is cluster of dull red to purplish black grapes with a sweetish or pungent taste.


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