Keep The Flora Alive!

Your generous donation will help the Flora of Virginia Project to develop a firm financial footing to move into the next phase of its existence, and will support the transitions required to keep the Flora of Virginia vibrant and relevant for years in the future.

2021 Research Grant Program Application Period Opens January 1, 2021

Clifton Institute Research Project funded in 2020

2020 Annual Meeting
September 25 at 7pm

2020 Annual Meeting
September 25 at 7pm

A Virtual Tour of Virginia's Natural Area Preserves with Chris Ludwig

© Gary P. Fleming, VA DCR-DNR with permission

Early Explorations of
Elephant Ears
(Magnolia macrophylla)

Early Explorations of
Elephant Ears
(Magnolia macrophylla)

Early Explorations of
Elephant Ears
(Magnolia macrophylla)

A Personal Note

A Personal Note

A Personal Note

2020 Wildflower of the Year: Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

2020 Wildflower of the Year: Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

2020 Wildflower of the Year: Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Photo by W. John Hayden

Photo by W. John Hayden

Photo by W. John Hayden

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Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

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Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

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News & Updates

Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #32: A member of the Evening primrose family holds seeds in marvelous capsules. What is it? See photos and last week's answer. 11/22/2020

Read about Red Chokeberry that shines in all seasons in Betsy Washington's latest blog post. 11/9/2020

• A study funded by a VNPS Research Grant to Dr. Andrea Weeks at George Mason University aims to restore and recover native plant diversity at Gilbert's Corner in Loudoun County. Register for Dr. Weeks' Zoom presentation on her project on November 15. 11/6/2020

Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #30: In November, this plant's berries seem to stare back at you. Handle with care! See photos and last week's answer.

• Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #29: This shrubby tree has flowers with four strappy yellow petals. Look for them around Halloween. See photos and last week's answer.

• Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #28: These small yellow flowers shine on shallow river shorelines - what are they? See photos and last week's answer.

• Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #27: Show-stopper in the fall, with scarlet leaves and dark blue fruit? See photos and last week's answer.

• Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #26: This mint family member has tiny bluish flowers and a sharp aroma. See photos and last week's answer. 10/10/2020

• Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #25: Graceful white sprays of these odd flowers appear above a whorl of three leaves. See a photo and last week's answer.

• Goldenrod Glows in the Fall: Read our latest blog post about this Fall beauty.

• Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #24: This super-strong member of the daisy family holds its clusters of brilliant magenta or purple flowers as much as ten feet high. See a photo and last week's answer.

• Piedmont Chapter Wildflower of the Week #23: What is a leathery evergreen fern with spores in tan globes? See a photo and last week's answer.

VNPS Guidance for Walks and In-Person Events during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

• Wildflower of the Week #22: In the Mint family with squarish heads of packed purple flowers? See a photo and last week's answer.

• Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #21: Can you identify a member of the Bellflower family with thick spires of violet-blue? See a photo and last week's answer.

Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #19: What wispy grass lends a purple haze to a whole field when blooming? See a photo and last week's answer. 8/21/2020

The (Northern) Piedmont Native Plants guide is back in stock. Check out all the regional native plant guides available for download and print copy purchase. 8/17/2020

• Piedmont Wildflower of the Week #18: A yellow flower in the bean family, tall patches in meadows, pods turn black in fall. Do you know the name?  8/15/2020

Piedmont Chapter Wildflower of the Week #17: Evergreen leaves, silvery veins, tiny hairs cover the flowers. What is it? 8/9/2020

• Passionflower Pops in Summer: Read Betsy Washington's new blog post from the Northern Neck. 7/30/2020

• Piedmont Wildflower of the WeekWhat is this fragrant member of the Onograceae family that shines best at sunset? 7/25/2020

• New Video: Marion Lobstein and Sally Anderson present an Overview and How To on the Flora of Virginia Mobile App. 7/13/2020

• The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project has been canceled. See more about opposition to the project and the VNPS Resolution opposing the project. 7/5/2020

• VNPS Guidance for Walks/Events during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The health and safety of our members is very important to us. Time out-of-doors is part of a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. However, during this COVID-19 pandemic, we must be mindful of the importance of social distancing to minimize the spread of the disease. For example, during regular guided native plant or botanical walks, participants often gather around a specific plant as the leader discusses it. Therefore, we recommend erring on the side of caution and suspending guided group walks until health conditions in your area permit such gatherings. Please follow the recommendations of the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health.

While we will leave the decision to chapter leaders about holding walks, the VNPS suggests virtual or self-guided walks and events in the interim. For example, some chapters have flagged walks, virtual walks, Zoom presentations, flower of the week emails, and more to engage the public. 6/10/2020

The Summer 2020 edition of Sempervirens is now online. Read about the pandemic's challenges and changes for the Natural Heritage Program and for VNPS events and activities, and how nature offers solace for us all. Meet our Conservation Chair Alex Fisher and learn about the autecology of Wild Geranium by Botany Chair John Hayden. 5/22/2020

• The First 10 Years of VNPS: How We Began. This account of VNPS and Potowmack Chapter beginnings shows that volunteers can make a difference with knowledgeable leaders, willing associates and continuity of purpose. 5/12/20

Pinxterblooms: Performing Now! Read Betsy Washington's latest blog post. 4-23-20

25 Years of the VNPS Bulletin Are Now Online. We just added almost all issues of the Bulletin from 1989 to 2009 thanks to the Internet Archive. Be sure to browse our updated Bulletin Archive. 4/18/20

• Due to CDC recommendations and other ongoing closures related to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have cancelled the March 14, 2020 event ‘Earth’s Climate: Present, Past & Future'.  We regret having to make this decision, and hope to be able to offer this program at another time. We will refund registration fees. [More information] 3/11/2020

• The Spring 2020 edition of Sempervirens is now available. Read about our upcoming Annual Meeting in Abingdon, the VNPS Mission, and more. 3/3/2020

• An updated version of the popular Wildflowers for Butterfly Gardens brochure is now available to download. 2/19/2020

• VNPS Funded Research Reveals Which Trees are Dying and Why. 12/29/2019

• Piedmont Chapter Curlyheads Flower T-Shirts are now available for sale! These are beautiful shirts though in limited quantities. 10/24/2019

• VNPS Member Harry Glasgow Honored by Prince William Conservation Alliance.

• The VNPS mourns the loss of its founder, Mary Painter, on October 6, 2019. View more information and Mary's obituary.

• Support our Annual Fundraiser: Plant Virginia Natives!

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Wildflower of the Year 2020 Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

By VNPS Communications | January 22, 2020

Wild Geranium is a woodland perennial herb. Plants emerge from stout, shallow, rhizomes bearing knobby leaf scars and thin roots. Aerial stems attain heights of 2 to 7 dm; stem hairiness ranges from a few scattered trichomes to densely pubescent. Leaves are crowded basally, but well separated and opposite on flowering stems. Overall leaf shape…

Downy Lobelia: An Overlooked Garden Native

By VNPS Communications | January 7, 2020

By Betsy Washington Several of our native Lobelias are well loved and absolutely beautiful. Cardinal Flower with its brilliant red flower spikes, and Great Blue Lobelia with its crowded spires of deep blue flowers, are familiar to many gardeners. Downy Lobelia (Lobelia puberula), which is less well-known, graces roadside ditches, low and upland woods, riverbanks…

Trees & Sky - Photo by Mike Belknap

VNPS Funded Research Reveals Which Trees are Dying and Why

By VNPS Communications | December 29, 2019

Editor’s Note: This post describes the 2019 research project conducted by Alyssa Terrell and supported by a VNPS Research Grant and was edited for publication. Our Research Grant Program awards funds for well-defined projects whose results can be evaluated and which address the VNPS Mission and Goals. Learn more about the Grant Program and how…

Pawpaws And The Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

By VNPS Communications | October 9, 2019

By Mary Lee Epps Pawpaws have a great deal to offer—handsome flowers in the spring, delicious and highly nutritious fruit in the early fall, plus they are the only host plant of one of our most beautiful butterflies, the zebra swallowtail. Our pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is the northernmost member of the mostly tropical Annonaceae (or…

Native Plant Conservation Campaign Logo 131x400

Save Plants, Save The Planet, Save Ourselves — Native Plants and Nature Based Solutions to Climate Change And Other Threats to Humanity

By VNPS Communications | July 25, 2019

By Emily B. Roberson and Doug Tallamy for the Native Plant Conservation Campaign Sea level rise, record breaking heat waves, floods, pollution, mass extinction — 2019 is frightening! What if there were one simple thing individuals, businesses and communities could do to address these problems? There is! Plant native plants! Native wildflowers and trees are…

Chris Ludwig Retirement 20190304 Photo by Jason Bulluck

‘Spirit of Inquiry’ drove Chris Ludwig

By VNPS Communications | June 20, 2019

Chris Ludwig, botanist, zoologist, and general all-arounder with the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, is off to greener pastures after 30 very busy years in the conservation community. And I do mean actual pastures right now since, as I write, Chris and his wife, Jolie, are staring out across the Serengeti as wildebeest swarm and flocks…

Jack-in-the-pulpit

Jack-in-the-Pulpit Preaches Preservation

By VNPS Communications | May 17, 2019

Unlike many wildflowers that make a beautiful but brief spring appearance, the perennial Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) appears later in April and continues to add interest to moist woodlands until late fall. The hooded inflorescence which resembles a pulpit (a spathe) has a “Jack” (a spadix) standing in the center as if delivering a sermon. Perhaps…

VNPS Member Catherine Ledec Named Fairfax County Citizen of the Year

By VNPS Communications | April 19, 2019

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a banquet where VNPS member Cathy Ledec was honored as Fairfax County’s 2018 Citizen of the Year. How gratifying it is to see someone recognized for efforts in preserving our natural environment! This prestigious award has been presented for the past 69 years by the Fairfax County Federation…

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Illustration by Betty Gatewood

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

By VNPS Communications | February 6, 2019

New Jersey Tea is a low shrub, generally less than 1 m tall and often profusely branched. Stems are finely hairy, but may become smooth with age. Vegetative stems are perennial, but flowering stems persist for just a single year. Leaves are mostly 5 to 10 cm long; leaf shape varies from narrowly to widely…

New and “Resurrected” Endemic Plants of Virginia’s Shale Region

By VNPS Communications | January 2, 2019

Back in 2014, John Townsend, VNPS Director at Large and Staff Botanist for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, wrote about A Tale of Shale: Virginia’s New Violet describing unique plant populations in north central Virginia. In this new report, John provides an update on the Viola and the discovery of two new potential taxa…