WV wetland flora

​​​ The purpose of this resource is to provide an introduction to wetland and riparian flora found in this region. The plants are arranged within the groups below. Within each group the plants are arranged alphabetically by their common name. The scientific and common names are those given in the US Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetland Inventory.

Plant Categories

  1. Monocots: Angiosperms with one cotyledon.
  2. Dicots: The largest group of angiosperms, characterized by two cotyledons and three symmetrically placed pollen apertures.
The links below provide examples within each of the sub-categories:

GrassesSedges, Rushes and similar​

Ferns and relatives

Any of numerous flowerless and seedless vascular plants having true roots from a rhizome and fronds that uncurl upward; reproduce by spores. 

Examples include: Cinnamon FernHayscented FernNew York FernSensitive FernSphagnum Moss and more.

Grasses - Sedges - Rushes​

Plants of the family Gramineae characterized by rounded, hollow or pithy jointed stems (culms), and narrow sheathing leaves with parallel veins. The leaves alternate on two sides of the stem. The junction of the blade and sheath often bears an erect fringe of hairs (ligules) and sometimes also earlike projections (auricles). Flowers are borne in reduced spikes (spikelets). Sedges: Any of a family (Cyperaceae); grass-like plants often found on wet ground or in water, having usually triangular, solid stems, three rows of narrow, pointed leaves and minute flowers born in spikelets. Sedges includes (Monocotyledoneae); chiefly herbaceous seed plants having an embryo with a single cotyledon, usually parallel-veined leaves, and floral organs arranged in cycles of three. This category also includes rushes (Juncaceae).

Examples in these categories includeBentgrassBlunt SpikerushBroom SedgeBurreedCarpetgrassCattailCottongrassDeertongue WitchgrassFox SedgeFringed SedgeGiant BurreedGreen BulrushHop SedgeMannagrassNarrow Panicle RushNodding SedgeReed CanarygrassRicecut grassSallow SedgeSlender SpikerushSoftRushStalkgrain SedgeStar SedgeStiltgrassTheeway SedgeTussock SedgeWhitebeak SedgeWoodland RushWoolgrass Bulrush and more... ​

Herbaceous Dicots

Herbaceous dicots (Forbes): A plant with a non-woody stem. The upper parts will die back at the end of the growing season. This category is subdivided into herbs with mostly compound leaves, herbs with simple mostly alternate leaves and herbs with simple mostly opposite leaves. 

Examples include: ArrowheadBlue VervainBog GoldenrodBonesetBugleweedFalse NettleGoldenrodGoldentopJewelweedLizards TailMarsh BedstrawMarshBlueViolet.pdfMarshseedboxMonkey flowerNew York IronweedRagwortSkunk cabbageSmartweedTearthumbWingstem and more... 


A low-growing woody plant usually under 15 ft. that often has multiple stems.​ 

Examples include: Black ChokeberryBlack ElderberryButtonbushCranberryDewberryHoneysuckleMeadowsweetMountain LaurelMultiflora RoseRhododendronSilky DogwoodSilky WillowSmooth AlderSpeckled AlderSpicebushSt JohnswortSwamp RoseWinterberry and more...


A tree can be defined as a large, perennial, woody plant. Though there is no set definition regarding minimum size, the term generally applies to plants at least 20 ft. high at maturity and, more importantly, having secondary branches supported on a single main stem or trunk. 

Examples include: American BeechAmerican HornbeamBlack CherryBlackgumBlack WillowBox ElderEastern HemlockGreen AshPin OakPitch PineRed MapleRed SpruceRiver BirchSilver MapleSwamp White OakSycamoreTuliptreeWhite AshYellow Birch and more...


Aquatic plants are plants that have adapted to living in aquatic environments. They are also referred to as hydrophytes or macrophytes to distinguish them from algae and other microphytes. A macrophyte is a plant that grows in or near water and is either emergent, submergent, or floating.​ 

Common examples include Duckweed, Hornwort, Pond Lily, Pondweed, Water Starwort and more... ​

Additional resources

  1. What are Riparian Buffers?
  2. Photos of wetland plants from the Upper Midwest
  3. US Fish and Wildlife Services: Wetland Mapper
  4. Wetland resource guide
  5. Field guide to WV wetland plants
A search of USDA's plant database produced 1622 records. The list includes scientific and comman names, region and indicator status. ​