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Native Herbs (A-C)

A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z

Achillea millefolium
Aromatic herb with delicate fern-like leaves and flat-topped clusters of white flowers.
Height: 4 inches to 3 feet (10-100 cm).
The alternate leaves are pinnately divided with divisions again dissected into narrow segments (Pojar), creating a soft fern-like texture. Leaves are green in color. Crushing the leaves gives off a pungent odor. Leaves deciduous.
Achlys triphylla
Vanilla Leaf
Grows low to the ground, spreading by rhizomes to form dense ground cover in shady areas.
Height: To 12 inches (30 cm) tall.
Basal, long-stalked, the blade is divided into 3 horizontally-oriented leaflets. Each leaflet varies from finely and sharply toothed to bluntly lobed (Jacobson). Leaves have vanilla fragrance when dried; size: 4-8 cm (2-3 in) wide; color ranges from light green to green. Leaves deciduous.
Adiantum aleuticum
Maidenhair Fern, Aleutian maidenhair, western maidenhair, serpentine maidenhair
Small to medium-sized delicate, deciduous fern with a fan-shaped arrangement of five to seven fingerlike branchlets each bearing many toothed leaflets.
Height: 6-43 inches (15-110 cm).
Leaves are deciduous and palmately branched to form an open umbrella with fan-shaped segments that are smooth and flat on the lower margin and cleft into ragged rectangular lobes on the upper margin (Pojar, 425); size: 10-40 cm (4-16 in) across; color: light to bright green. Spore-bearing and sterile leaves are similar in appearance. Leaves are resistant to wetting and shed rain. Leaves deciduous.
Alisma plantago-aquatica
Broadleaf Water-Plantain
A terminal cluster of small white flowers sits above a tall leafless stem. It grows in marshy or semi-aquatic environments.
Height: up to 48 inches (120 cm).
Leaves are basal and growing near the ground on flattened leaf stalks. Shape: oval; size: 10-30 cm (4-12 in) long, 3-15 cm (1-6 in) across; color: dark green. Leaves deciduous.
Allium acuminatum
Taper-Tip Onion
This native wild onion has grass-like basal leaves overtopped by umbels of purple flowers, and egg-shaped bulbs containing a fibrous network on the surface.
Height: Up to 12 inches (30 cm).
The long, narrow and grass-like wither before flowers appear. Leaves are green when young then soon fade to brown. Leaves deciduous.
Allium cernuum
Nodding Onion
Clusters of long grass-like leaves overtopped by nodding umbels of pink flowers.
Height: Up to 20 inches (50 cm).
This plant has grass-like basal leaves that are strongly onion-scented and onion-flavored. The fresh leaves are only about 0.2 to 1.0 cm (0.05 to 0.4") wide, but up to 20 cm (8") long. (Richard Hebda). Leaves deciduous.
Anaphalis margaritacea
Pearly Everlasting
Clump forming, perennial herb with small withering basal leaves and papery white flower clusters.
Height: Up to 40 inches (100 cm).
Alternate narrowly lance-shaped leaves are green above and white wooly below with a conspicuous midvein. Margins are frequently rolled under; size: 5-15 cm (2-6 in) long. Leaves deciduous.
Aquilegia formosa
Red Columbine
Delicate perennial with large nodding, star-shaped, spurred flowers that are a favorite of hummingbirds.
Height: Can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall.
The leaves, mostly basal, are many-times divided into small leaflets. More specifically they are twice divided into segments of three. Leaf blades are hairless to hairy; shape: compound ternate and triangularly-shaped; leaflet size: 8-35 mm across; color: green above and paler to glaucus below. Leaves deciduous.
Armeria maritima
Round balls of pink flowers held on slender leafless stems above a cluster of grass-like leaves.
Height: Up to 18 inches (45 cm).
All basal, densely tufted, linear leaves; leaf surface is hairless to sparsely long-hairy; size: 5-10 cm (2-4 in) long; color: green. Leaves deciduous.
Aruncus dioicus
Goat's Beard
Tall perennial herb topped with large feathery clusters of white flowers, grows from rhizomes and has multiple stems.
Height: Can grow up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall.
Leaves are dark green and hairless above while hairy and paler below. Lower leaves are 3 times compounded with leaflets sharply toothed and pointed; upper leaves are smaller and less compounded. Leaflets range from 3-15 cm (1-6 in) long. Leaves deciduous.
Asarum caudatum
Wild Ginger
Low-growing evergreen perennial that smells strongly of lemon-ginger when crushed.
Height: Can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall.
Leaves are heart-shaped and a net-like vein structure, surfaces are shiny with fine hairs. Leaves emerge in pairs along the rhizome on hairy leaf stalks 5-30 cm long (Cooke, 89). Size: 4-10 cm (1.5-4 in) long, 15 cm (6 in) wide; color: dark green. Leaves deciduous.
Aster chilensis
Common California Aster
A slender, sprawling perennial that produces light purple flowers.
Height: Can grow up to 3 ft. (100 cm.)
Leaves are stalkless and hairless or sparsely hairy. Most leaves appear to be attached directly to the stem without stalks (subsessile) (Guard, 134). Shape: lower leaves are lance-shaped, middle and upper leaves are linear to narrowly oblong. Leaf size ranges from 2-10 cm (0.8-4 in) long. Color: green. Leaves deciduous.
Aster modestus
Great Northern Aster
A tall, much-branched perennial with numerous heads of purplish flowers.
Height: Grows up to 40 inches (100 cm).
Basal leaves are somewhat smaller than the upper leaves and are usually withered by flowering time. Stem leaves are lance shaped, stalkless and hairy above with smooth or slightly toothed margins. Color: green. Leaves deciduous.
Aster subspicatus
Douglas Aster
Rhizomatous perennial wildflower with much-branched stems and light purple aster-like flower heads.
Height: Grows up to 32 inches (80 cm).
Leaves are alternate. Leaf shape differs depending on the location of the leaf on the plant; lower leaves are lance-shaped and usually stalked while middle leaves are lanced shaped to oblong, stalkless and usually toothed, hairless above and beneath. Size: 1-2 cm wide. Color: green. Leaves deciduous.
Boykinia occidentalis
Slender Boykinia
A slender herb with open panicles of small white flowers.
Height: Up to 24 inches (60 cm).
Lower leaves are long-stalked, becoming stalkless further up stem. Each heart- or kidney-shaped leaf has 5-7 clefts with multiple teeth. Size: 2-8 cm (.8-3 in) wide; color: green. The stipules (2-4 mm long) have a wing and several brown bristles. Leaves deciduous.
Brodiaea congesta
Harvest Lily
Long slender stems to 3 feet (1 meter) in length topped by a dense cluster of deep purple flowers.
Height: Up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall.
Slender-grass-like leaves at base of stem. Leaves deciduous.
Brodiaea hyacinthina
Fool's Onion, White Brodiaea
Onion-like plant from an underground corm, with large clusters of white flowers at tip of stems.
Height: 10-30 inches (25-70 cm).
1-2 grass-like leaves at plant base; wither after flowering; size: 40 cm (16 in) long, 1 cm wide; color: green. Leaves deciduous.
Caltha biflora
Marsh Marigold
Perennial herb with large white flowers held above broadly rounded leaves; grows in wet subalpine meadows.
Height: 16 inches (40 cm).
The kidney-shaped leaves have bluntly toothed margins and a prominent palmate vein structure. Leaves are almost as broad as they are long. Size: 4-10 cm (1.5-4 in) long by5-12 cm (2-4.75 in) across. Leaves deciduous.
Caltha palustris
yellow marsh marigold
Large yellow flowers top this creeping, perennial, semi-aquatic herb.
Height: Up to 16 inches (40 cm).
Mostly basal. Leaves are kidney-shaped, somewhat fleshy, glabrous; margins are regularly blunt toothed. Size: 4-10 cm (1.5-4 in) long. Leaves deciduous.
Camassia leitchlinii
Great Camas
Stately perennial from a deep bulb, producing spikes of large blue flowers in early spring.
Height: Up to 28 inches (70 cm).
Numerous basal, grass-like leaves; leaves are green but often covered with fine, waxy powder; size: 2 cm (.8 in) wide by 50 cm (20 in) long. Leaves deciduous.
Camassia quamash
Common Camas
Bulbous perennial producing a spike of large blue flowers.
Height: Up to 28 inches (70 cm).
Numerous basal, grass-like leaves that are dull above and dark and semi-glossy beneath. Up to 2 cm (.8 in) wide by 50 cm (20 in) long. Leaves deciduous.
Campanula rotundifolia
Delicate stems topped by large, nodding bell-shaped blue flowers.
Height: 4-32 inches (10-80 cm).
Basal leaves are heart-shaped, stalked, coarsely toothed, usually withering before flowers appear. Stem leaves are alternate, linear to narrowly lance-shaped, 1.5-8 cm long, margins can be saw-toothed. Leaves deciduous.
Castilleja miniata
Red Paintbrush
An attractive wildflower with red brush-like flower clusters.
Height: 8-32 inches (20-80 cm).
Narrow; sharp pointed; usually entire but sometimes upper leaves have 3 shallow lobes, with or without fine hairs. Seaves are alternate and have three major veins. Leaves deciduous.
Cerastium arvense
Field Chickweed
Leaves deciduous.
Chamerion angustifolium
Tall perennial from rhizome like roots with unbranched stem and terminal spikes of large red to pink flowers.
Height: Up to 10 feet (3 meters), but usually shorter than 6 feet (2 meters).
Alternate, lance-shaped, stalkless, 5-20 cm long, green and often short-hairy above, paler, hairless and distinctly veined below, smooth-margined; size: 5-20 cm (2-8 in) long. Leaves deciduous.
Clarkia amoena
Farewell to Spring
A taprooted annual with large showy, usually pink flowers; often grown horticulturally.
Height: 4 inches to 3 feet (10-100 cm).
Alternate arrangement. Leaf blade is linear to lance-shaped, 2-7 cm (.8-2.75 in) long, with smooth edges. Leaves deciduous.
Claytonia perfoliata
Miner's Lettuce
Low-growing, mat-like herbaceous annual with succulent round leaves.
Height: 12 inches (30 cm).
Numerous egg-shaped basal leaves on stalks 2-10 cm (0.8-4 in) long. The two steam leaves are are fused and form a disk around stem just beneath the flowers. Leaves deciduous.
Claytonia sibirica
Siberian Spring Beauty
Low-growing delicate herb.
Height: Up to 16 inches (40 cm).
Basal leaves: 1-6 cm (.4-2.5 in) long, lance-shaped to elliptic, on stalks 3-30 cm (1-12 in) long. Stem leaves: 7 cm (2.75 in) long, opposite, stalkless, egg to lance shaped. Leaves deciduous.
Cornus unalaschkensis
Low, trailing, rhizomatous perennial with white flowers.
Height: Up to 10 inches (25 cm).
4-7 leaves in a single terminal whorl above 1-2 pairs of leafy bracts; leaves are green above and whitish beneath; parallel veins; size: 2-8 cm (0.8-3.15 in) long. Leaves deciduous.


The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.


Updated: September 11, 2015
Copyright 2000-2018 Washington Native Plant Society. All rights reserved.

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