Did you find an ORANGE wildflower in Iowa?

Types of orange wildflowers in Iowa

 

If so, I’m sure you’re wondering what type of wildflower you found! Luckily, you can use this guide to help you identify it. 🙂

 

Please be aware that today I’m ONLY listing and focusing on the most common orange wildflowers. There are so many species, varieties, and subspecies that it would be impossible to name them all. But if you want to dive even deeper into the many orange wildflowers in Iowa, check out this field guide!

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Today, we will look at 8 ORANGE wildflowers you can find in Iowa.

 


#1. Orange Hawkweed

  • Hieracium aurantiacum (synonymous with Pilosella aurantiaca)

Also known as: Orange Hawkbit, Orange Aster, Devil’s Paintbrush, King Devil Hawkweed, Devil’s Weed, Tawny Hawkweed, Red Daisy Flameweed, Grim-the-collier, Fox and Cubs

Orange wildflowers in Iowa

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-10
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 10-24 in (25-61 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer to Early Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade

 

Orange Hawkweed is a favorite of many gardeners for its coppery, orange-red to yellow flowers with black tips that attract many pollinators. Did you know the ancient Greeks believed that the milky sap of hawkweeds gave hawks their sharp eyesight?

 

This orange wildflower was introduced to Iowa in the 1800s. Interestingly, research in 2009 revealed that most Orange Hawkweed populations collected in North America are genetic clones of one another. This reveals that they all came from the same original plant!

 

Beware! Orange Hawkweed grows aggressively fast!

 


#2. Spotted Touch-Me-Not

  • Impatiens capensis (formerly known as Impatiens biflora)

Also known as: Orange Balsam, Orange Jewelweed, Jewelweed, Common Jewelweed, Spotted Jewelweed, Snapweed, Spotted Snap Weed, Silver Leaf, and Silver-cap

Iowa orange wildflowers

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-11
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate Mature Size: 24-60 in (61-152 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Shade to Partial Sun

 

Spotted Touch-Me-Not is famous for its yellowish-orange flowers with brown spots. As the name suggests, its seed pods will explode if you touch them!

 

The Spotted Touch-Me-Not comprises approximately one-tenth of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s diet. The long tubular flowers of the Spotted Touch-Me-Not are especially attractive to hummingbirds who use their slender beaks to collect the nectar.

 

Plant this orange wildflower in Iowa if you want to attract birds!

 

In addition to hummingbirds feasting on the nectar, the seeds are eaten by birds such as the Ruffed Grouse and the Ring-necked Pheasant.

 


#3. Butterfly Weed

  • Asclepias tuberosa

Also known as: Orange Milkweed, Butterfly Milkweed, Chieger Flower, and Chiggerflower

Types of orange wildflowers in Iowa

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 18-36 in (46-91 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade

 

You will find Butterfly Weed in many home gardens. Look for a flat-topped, bright orange cluster of flowers. Butterflies and hummingbirds are particularly attracted to the Butterfly Weed because of its abundant nectar production.

 

Traditionally, Native Americans have chewed Butterfly Weed root to cure pleurisy, bronchitis, and other pulmonary ailments. When boiled into tea, this orange wildflower can effectively treat stomach issues. In fact, its genus name Asclepias is a reference to Asklepios – the Greek god of medicine.

 

If you’re planning to ingest this plant, please note that its root and sap are toxic to humans in large quantities. Proceed with caution!

 


#4. Wood Lily

  • Lilium philadelphicum

Also known as: Red Lily, Prairie Lily, Western Red Lily, Northern Red Lily, and Philadelphia Lily

Orange wildflowers in Iowa

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 12-36 in (30-91 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Mid Summer to Late Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade

 

The Wood Lily has upward-facing petals to catch the attention of passing hummingbirds and butterflies. This helps aid in cross-pollination, which is essential for its reproduction. Its striking red-orange flowers with purplish freckles catch the attention of gardeners as well!

 

Each flower of the Wood Lily remains open for 8-11 days. Unlike many orange wildflowers in Iowa, the petals don’t immediately close or wither after they’re pollinated.

 

You can eat the bulbs of the Wood Lily! Their flavor is similar to turnips. Unfortunately, Wood Lilies are often picked from their natural habitat by visitors, so this species is not as common as it used to be.

 


#5. Michigan Lily

  • Lilium michiganense

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-7
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 18-48 in (46-122 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Early Summer to Mid Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade

 

You can distinguish the Michigan Lily by its bright red-orange petals spotted with shades of brown and purple. The petals bend back toward the stem.

 

It takes 4-5 years for the Michigan Lily to bloom from seed, so gardeners prefer bulbs or fully grown plants. Once it blooms, this orange wildflower in Iowa will attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Monarch Butterflies to your area.

 

Unfortunately, this species is threatened or endangered across much of the country. Planting Michigan Lily in its native habitat can help this species rebound!

 


#6. Blanket Flower

  • Gaillardia pulchella

Also known as: Indian Blanketflower, Beach Blanket-flower, Indian Blanket Flower, Firewheel, Sundance, Girasol Rojo, and Gaillardia

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2-11
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate Mature Size: 12-24 in (30-61cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer to Early Fall; Year-round in some areas
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Light Shade

 

Blanket Flower is a type of sunflower with an impressive display of red, orange, and yellow petals. Don’t be surprised if you spot many bees and birds where these flowers grow!

 

Many beekeepers use Blanket Flower in the production of honey. The honey made from this orange wildflower in Iowa is mild, buttery, and amber-colored.

 

Goldfinches enjoy the seeds of Blanket Flower, so don’t forget to leave some seedheads after the flowering season!

 


#7. Standing Cypress

  • Ipomopsis rubra (synonymous with Gilia rubra)

Also known as: Texas Plume, Red Texas Star, Red Gilia, Scarlet Gilia, Flame Flower, Indian Spur, and Spanish Larkspur

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-9
  • Life Cycle: Biennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 24-72 in (61-183 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Late Summer to Early Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade

 

The Standing Cypress is a hardy orange wildflower that decorates fields and gardens in Iowa.

 

Its upturned tubular flowers have a stunning red color with orange and yellow spots inside.

 

You will find that this plant is remarkably easy to grow and is resistant to common pests and diseases. Plant some of its seeds in your backyard, and the hummingbirds will soon thank you!

 


#8. Tropical Milkweed

  • Asclepias curassavica

Also known as: Scarlet Milkweed, Bloodflower, Cotton Bush, Sunset Flower, Swallow Wort, Silkweed, Indian Root, Curassavian, Cancerillo (Spanish); Bloodflower, and Mexican Milkweed

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 8b-11
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 24-48 in (61-122 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to Early Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade

 

Tropical milkweed’s distinctive blossom has five orangish-red petals that bed backward, with a yellow star-shaped crown. Although it isn’t a native orange wildflower, it has become invasive across much of the country.

 

Unfortunately, Tropical Milkweed planted in Iowa may do more harm than good.

 

It carries a parasite that affects Monarch Butterflies called Ophryocystis elektroscirrha, or OE, which can cause defects in the wings of Monarchs. Since it doesn’t die back and can bloom late, the plant may also confuse Monarchs by signaling a breeding season when it’s time to migrate.

 

You can help reduce the spread of OE by cutting back Tropical Milkweed plants at the end of summer. Cut them all the way to the ground and dispose of the cuttings to get rid of the parasite.

 

To ensure you’re planting milkweed that will help your local ecosystem and attract native pollinators, always choose a native species!

 


Which of these orange wildflowers have you seen before in Iowa?

 

Leave a comment below!