10 Kinds of RED Wildflowers in Massachusetts (w/Pics)

Did you find a RED wildflower in Massachusetts?

Types of red wildflowers in Massachusetts

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 Massachusetts, check out this field guide!

View on Amazon

 

Today, we will look at 10 RED wildflowers you can find in Massachusetts.


#1. Indian Paintbrush

  • Castilleja coccinea

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

Red wildflowers in Massachusetts

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 Massachusetts 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

Massachusetts red wildflowers

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 Massachusetts! 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

Types of red wildflowers in Massachusetts

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 Massachusetts 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. Pitcher Plant

  • Sarracenia purpurea

Also known as: Purple Pitcher Plant, Northern Pitcher Plant

Red wildflowers in Massachusetts

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.

 


#5. 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 Massachusetts 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!

 


#6. 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 Massachusetts.

 

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.

 


#7. Scarlet Creeper

  • Ipomoea hederifolia

Also known as: Scarlet Morning Glory, Trompillo

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 8-11
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate Mature Size: 36-120 in (91-305 cm) tall
  • Bloom Time: Summer to Winter
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

 

Scarlet Creeper is often used as a climbing addition to gardens in the southeast. It grows well in most conditions, and its vines can reach well over 10 ft. (3 m.)

 

Planting this red wildflower in Massachusetts will attract butterflies and hummingbirds, but be aware that you must prune it regularly. Scarlet Creeper can quickly become invasive to your yard by climbing fences, trellises, walls, and trees.

 


#8. 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 Massachusetts 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.

 


#9. 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 Massachusetts, 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.

 


#10. 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 Massachusetts?

 

Let us know in the COMMENTS below!