12 Kinds of RED Wildflowers in Maryland (w/Pics)

Did you find a RED wildflower in Maryland?

Types of red wildflowers in Maryland

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 I’m ONLY listing the most common red wildflowers today. 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 ALL the red wildflowers in Maryland, check out this field guide!

View on Amazon

12 RED wildflowers in Maryland.


#1. Indian Paintbrush

  • Castilleja coccinea

Also known as: Scarlet Indian Paintbrush, Scarlet Paintbrush, Scarlet Painted-cup

Types of red wildflowers in Maryland

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Life Cycle: Biennial or Annual
  • Approximate Mature Size: 4-36 in (10-91 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

Indian Paintbrush is a hemiparasite, which means it feeds on the nutrients of other plants instead of creating nutrients through photosynthesis. Its most common hosts are grasses and sagebrush. To collect the nutrients, this red wildflower in Maryland must attach its roots to the roots of its host.

 

Because of its parasitic nature, Indian Paintbrush can be hard to grow in home gardens and doesn’t transplant well. As a result, it’s commonly found in open fields with other wildflowers and grasses.

 

Interestingly, if you look closely, the red coloring on Indian Paintbrush isn’t the flower, but a part of its leaves called bracts.

 


#2. Columbine

  • Aquilegia canadensis

Also known as: Red Columbine, Wild Columbine, Canadian Columbine, Jack-In-Trousers, Meeting Houses

Red wildflowers in Maryland

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3b-8
  • Life Cycle: Perennial or Biennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 6-48 in (15-122 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Sun

 

You might be more familiar with Columbine varieties from Europe that are purple and blue. However, Red Columbine is a native red wildflower in Maryland! You’re probably looking at Columbine if you spot drooping, bell-like red wildflowers near woodlands.

 

Columbine grows particularly well in gardens or even as a potted plant. Aside from painting your garden with a myriad of colors, the Columbine can attract hummingbirds, bumblebees, and butterflies, which help to pollinate these beauties. Finches and Buntings are also known to eat the seeds!

 

 


#3. Red Trillium

  • Trillium erectum

Also known as: Red Trillium, Stinking Benjamin, Wet Dog Trillium, Purple Trillium

Maryland red wildflowers

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b-7a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 8-16 in (20-41 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Shade

 

This red wildflower is often one of the first to emerge in Maryland after winter.

 

Its three-petaled flowers bloom briefly and quickly die back. You’re most likely to find Red Trillium in shaded woody areas like forest edges.

 

Red Trillium comes in various red, maroon, purple, yellow, and white shades. It has a distinct and unpleasant odor, like a wet dog, which is where some of its nicknames come from. Although it’s off-putting to humans, this odor is a useful adaptation! It attracts the Carrion Fly and various beetles, which pollinate the plant.

 


#4. Fire Pink

  • Silene virginica

Also known as: Scarlet Catchfly, Cliff Pink, Indian Pink

Types of red wildflowers in Maryland

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 8-36 in (20-91 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring to Mid Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade

 

Fire Pink is a native, carnivorous red wildflower in Maryland.

 

Carnivorous plants that trap and eat insects sound like something from a tropical jungle, but we have tons of them in North America! The sticky hairs on its leaves trap prey and discourage ants and other pests from eating the leaves.

 

Fire Pink has five bright red petals that flare out into long tubes. Although this plant is pollinated primarily by hummingbirds, many small songbirds eat its seeds. Juncos, Pine Siskins, Sparrows, Water Pipits, and Horned Larks are all common birds attracted to it.

 


#5. Pitcher Plant

  • Sarracenia purpurea

Also known as: Purple Pitcher Plant, Northern Pitcher Plant

Red wildflowers in Maryland

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 8-16 in (20-41 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

You might be surprised to know that the Pitcher Plant is carnivorous and can capture a wide range of animals! Although they’re primarily insectivores, frogs, lizards, newts, and even Spotted Salamanders are on the menu.

 

Pitcher plants get their name from goblet-shaped leaves that help them catch their prey. The leaves fill with water, and insects and other small animals fall in and can’t get out. Eventually, the insect drowns, and enzymes made by the plant digest its meal.

 

You can easily distinguish Pitcher Plants by their purple-veined leaves that grow into the shape of a pitcher or cup. The pitchers are about 6 inches (15 cm) long with a large lip. A leafless stalk grows from the middle, and a single reddish-purple flower blooms at the top.

 


#6. Cardinal Flower

  • Lobelia cardinalis

Also known as: Red Bay, Scarlet Lobelia, Indian Pink, Water Gladiole, Slinkweed, Bog Sage, Hog’s Physic

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-9a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 3.6-72 in (9-183 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Mid Summer to Early Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

The blooms on this red wildflower in Maryland cluster on the end of a long stalk. The Cardinal Flower has dark green leaves with purple undersides.

 

If you’re especially fond of hummingbirds, you can use the Cardinal Flower to attract them to your neighborhood. While other insects might find it hard to reach the sweet nectar inside, the tubular flowers are perfect for the long beaks of hummingbirds.

 

Cardinal Flowers grow well in a garden setting. Plant it in an area with partial sun for a beautiful pop of red that will attract hummingbirds!

 


#7. Toadshade Trillium

  • Trillium sessile

Also known as: Red Trillium, Red Wake-robin, Yellow Trillium

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 4-12 in (10-30 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring to Late Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Shade

 

Toadshade Trillium has funnel-shaped flowers. It beautifully carpets landscapes with shades of red, purple, brown, yellow, and green. You might notice a spicy, pungent odor, which the plant uses to attract pollinating flies and beetles.

 

This red wildflower in Maryland is beloved among gardeners.

 

Its reddish-purple blooms are centered in the middle of the leaves, creating a double-flower effect that looks beautiful when mixed with other plants.

 


#8. Spotted Coralroot

  • Corallorhiza maculata

Also known as: Summer Coralroot, Speckled Coral Root, Many-flowered Coral Root

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3-8
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 3.9-31 in (10-79 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Early Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Shade

 

This red wildflower is commonly found in wooded areas in Maryland.

 

The most interesting feature of Spotted Coralroot is that it doesn’t have any leaves! Instead, the bare stalks produce clusters of flowers. Since this plant isn’t capable of photosynthesis, it siphons nutrients from mycorrhizal fungi, which is a natural fungus that occurs in its roots.

 

Mining bees are especially attracted to Spotted Coralroot. Although they pollinate this native orchid, it can also self-pollinate by transferring its pollen as its flower opens.

 


#9. Trumpet Honeysuckle

  • Lonicera sempervirens

Also known as: Scarlet Honeysuckle, Coral Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle, Woodbine

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b-9a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 10-20 ft (3-6 m) tall
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring to Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

Trumpet Honeysuckle attracts birds, butterflies, and bumblebees. Its red, trumpet-shaped flowers are especially attractive to hummingbirds.

 

In addition to pollinators, birds are attracted to this red wildflower in Maryland because they eat its bright red berries. Purple Finches, Goldfinches, Hermit Thrushes, American Robins, and quails are frequent visitors to Trumpet Honeysuckle vines.

 

It has similar features to the Trumpet Creeper, and many people get the two mixed up. However, a benefit of the Trumpet Honeysuckle is that it’s not as aggressive and does not get as big as the Trumpet Creeper. Because of this, Trumpet Honeysuckle may fit better in your garden.

 


#10. Woodland Pinkroot

  • Spigelia marilandica

Also known as: Indian Pink, Pinkroot

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 12-18 in (30-46 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Late Spring to Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Shade

 

This red wildflower grows in Maryland in moist woods, streambeds, and ravines with lots of shade. The Woodland Pinkroot is a favorite of hummingbirds, songbirds, and butterflies.

 

If you’re looking for a versatile, easy-to-care-for ornamental plant, Woodland Pinkroot is perfect for city and coastal gardens. It has upward-facing, trumpet-shaped red flowers. Each flower has a yellow middle that flares outward to form a star.

 


#11. Scarlet Bee Balm

  • Monarda didyma

Also known as: Red Bergamot, Scarlet Monarda, Horsemint, Indian Plume

bee balm plants that need divided

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-9a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 24-72 in (61-183 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer to Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

A native red wildflower in Maryland, Scarlet Bee Balm attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Scarlet Bee Balm grows up to 4′ (1.2 m) tall and produces bright red tubular blooms that are a fantastic nectar source. Deadheading flowers will encourage a second round of blooms.

 

Although it’s most commonly grown in gardens as an ornamental plant, you may spot Scarlet Bee Balm on the edge of forests in full sun.

 


#12. Trumpet Creeper

  • Campsis radicans

Also known as: Trumpet Vine, Trumpet Climber, Hellvine, Devil’s Shoestring

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-10a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate Mature Size: 29-40 ft (9-12 m) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

Trumpet Vine is a perfect hummingbird flower (it’s even commonly referred to as “hummingbird vine”), as it features long, tubular, bright flowers with lots of nectar.

 

This reddish-orange wildflower is easy to grow in most of the country. And I do mean GROW. It has a reputation for growing like crazy, and I can second that with my first-hand experience. It needs to be trimmed regularly, or it will take over an entire area. The vine gets so big that many birds will even nest in its dense foliage!

 


What are your FAVORITE red wildflowers in Maryland?

 

Let us know in the COMMENTS below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One Comment

  1. Five of your twelve red wildflowers have incorrect information in this article. Two of them don’t even occur in MD and never have except under cultivation.

    #1. Indian Paintbrush
    Castilleja coccinea

    Castilleja coccinea (Linnaeus) Sprengel Scarlet Indian-paintbrush G5 S1 E
    Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)
    Cons/Econote: Endangered due to habitat loss. Reduced to small, isolated fragments of habitat. Of historical interest is that Shreve et al. (1910, p. 481) state that this species was “frequent” and occurred among the flora of cut-over forests in the vicinity of Oakland (p. 285).
    The Carroll County station has not been observed in many years and may be extirpated.
    Habitat: Calcareous fens, meadows, and occasionally roadsides.
    Distr. AP, PD, RV* (Allegany*, Carroll, Cecil*, Frederick*, Garrett).
    Flw: late May-Jun; Fr: Aug-Oct.
    [quote from Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Plants of Maryland (Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service Natural Heritage Program, March 2021); this is the expanded version]
    I only know of one location left in MD and it is in Garrett County. As far as I know, this is (was) the last extant population in MD. It has been a long time since I visited it and it may not exist at this time due to an aggressive county road mowing system which uses hydraulic lift mowers which can be adjusted to any angle.

    #4. Fire Pink
    Silene virginica
    Fire Pink is a native, carnivorous red wildflower in Maryland.

    This statement is FALSE. Fire Pink is NOT native to MD, NOR is it carnivorous.
    Silene virginica L.
    Attributed by Luttman (1935) from Garrett County, but searches at multiple herbaria have found no specimen validating this report. [quote from A Checklist to the Vascular Plants of Maryland (Wes Knapp and Rob Naczi, 2021)]

    #9. Trumpet Honeysuckle
    Lonicera sempervirens

    While Native to part of MD, it is primarily found in the wild on the lower Eastern Shore (6 or 7 counties) and Southern MD on the Western Shore (5 counties). Almost all other occurences are planted.

    #10. Woodland Pinkroot
    Spigelia marilandica

    This species has never been found in MD except under cultivation.
    Spigelia marilandica L.
    [Spigelia corymbosa Raf.]
    Attributed in Comments on the Vegetation of Colonial Maryland by Brown et al. (1987), citing a specimen at BM. This specimen is well outside its natural range, despite its name, which reaches northeastern Tennessee, and likely persisted after cultivation, if it was ever truly established in Maryland. [quote from A Checklist to the Vascular Plants of Maryland (Wes Knapp and Rob Naczi, 2021)]

    #11. Scarlet Bee Balm
    Monarda didyma

    From personal experience, this species seems to be limited to Garrett County. All other occurences are planted.