Operation Wildflower has brought beauty and diversity to West Virginia highways for many years. The program has been and continues to be, an asset to the Mountain State. The program began in 1990 under the DNR with a test site on I-64 near Huntington, West Virginia. The success of the site led to the expansion of the program to include donations from garden clubs and the public. Today, more than 250 acres of wildflowers grow on state roads, including sites on every interstate highway.
Donate A Wildflower Site
Project Wildflower makes it possible for wildflower sites to be donated in the name of an individual, business, civic organization, etc. A sign near the wildflower bed will honor the name chosen. Donations must be received by February 15th for plantings to occur that year.
Roadsides in Bloom Calendar
Order a 2021 Roadsides In Bloom Calendar
As always, we have limited numbers of the calendar available and we must give preference to West Virginia residents.
If You Have a Photo to be Considered for the "Roadsides In Bloom" Calendar:
- New deadline for photo entries is September 1st
- Photos MUST be taken in WV
- Entries MUST be submitted as 8"x10" color prints and MUST be in landscape portraiture. A digital copy with high resolution must be submitted at the same time via CD or flash drive, or email to DEPAAH@wv.gov. Low-resolution images may be inadequate and not considered.
- Photos MUST be of flowers growing along the road and the road MUST be prominently visible in the frame
- Name, address, phone number, e-mail address (if possible) and a short description of the most prominent flower depicted, including location and county where the photo was taken must appear in the upper left corner on the back of the photo
- Photos become the property of the state and will not be returned
- No more than three entries may be submitted per person and no more than one entry per person will be selected
About the Plots
The standard seed mix contains four annuals selected for vivid color, continuous bloom and the ability to withstand harsh roadside conditions. Bright red Poppies bloom in early spring, followed by deep blue Bachelor's Buttons in late spring and early summer. Mid-summer brings yellow Coreopsis providing color until August when pink and white Wild Cosmos take over until killed by frost in the fall. The Division of Highways and Department of Environmental Protection are currently working with the WV Native Plant Society and commercial growers to develop a mix of pure West Virginia native plants to replace the current mix.
Most roadside wildflower beds are donated by the public and planted with the standard mix. However, the Division of Highways continually experiments with new planting methods, soil nutrients, and seed mixes. Some plots are planted with only one species and mowed down when the bloom is gone. Single species sites include Poppies, Crimson clover, Daisies, Catchfly and Indian Blanket.
It is obvious from media coverage and public comment that Operation Wildflower is beneficial to the state. Its value to the community is much greater than the few dollars spent each year. Nothing brings on a smile like a beautiful wildflower. Nothing makes West Virginia shine like beautiful roadside wildflowers.
View an interactive Operation Wildflower map
Unlawful to Pick Wildflowers
It is illegal to pick roadside flora along West Virginia highways. The following is an excerpt from the law-making this act illegal:
WEST VIRGINIA LAW §31-3-48 (a) It is unlawful to break, cut, take or carry away, or in any manner damage any of the shrubbery or flowers,
including everything under the title of flora, whether wild or cultivated, growing within one hundred yards on either side of any public road in this state,
without the permission in writing of the owner or tenant of the land upon which the shrubbery or flowers, including everything under the title of flora, are growing.
(c) It is unlawful for any person willfully or knowingly to have in his possession, or to haul along any public road in this state, any trees, shrubbery, or flowers,
including everything under the title of flora, which are protected by this section, unless the person so having in his possession or hauling the trees, shrubbery or
flowers and any plant, has permission in writing so to do from the owner or tenant of the land from which they have been taken. (f) Any person who violates the provisions
of subsection (a) or (c) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, for the first offense shall be fined not more than fifty dollars,
or both, for each offense.
Kim Smith, Coordinator
West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
601 57th Street SE
Charleston, WV 25304
Phone: (304) 926-0499 x49763
Toll Free: (800) 322-5530