Native Plant Flash Cards

This deck of 155 cards is not intended to replace a comprehensive field guide, but can help you memorize common and botanical names.

Flash cards to help you memorize native plants of the Upper Midwest.
Deck One | 155 species | ©2020 all photos by Dan Barron

I created these flash cards to include a sampling of plant species native to the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. That said, most species featured in this deck will be found well beyond the Driftless. Each card is printed on sturdy card stock and shows one or more of my plant photographs on the front, which also includes general growing conditions. The plants family, genus and species are revealed on the back, in addition to well known common names.

This deck was designed and assembled in Wisconsin and printed in Illinois.


In June of 2013, I was about to start a new job at Prairie Moon Nursery (Winona, MN). After working in printing for 12 years, my daily practice with scientific names was definitely minimal. I was having trouble keeping all of the botanical names straight, with the often varied common names. I decided to try channeling a simple grade school technique. I wrote common plant names on one side of a note card and botanical nomenclature on the other. While not perfect, the attempt worked.

My original flash cards from 2013.

For years I have wanted to update my flash cards. Luckily, over time I’ve come to know and photograph many plants native to the Upper Midwest. These cards include a sampling of individuals that you might encounter in or near the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. Some are common, while others are fairly conservative.

These cards will give you a chance to practice pairing a photo of each plant, with its common name or family, genus and species. The best way to learn about plants is to observe them in your garden, or better yet, in the wild. Over time you may even start to identify familiar species streaming along the roadside during your drive.

However you observe native plants, you’ll inevitably begin to notice associated insects and the seemingly endless relationships that result. I hope you’ll find these observations as enriching as I have.

– Dan Barron

Learn Native Plants of the Upper Midwest | Deck One

This deck contains the following species:

Actaea pachypoda, Doll’s Eyes
Actaea rubra, Red Baneberry
Allium tricoccum, Wild Leek
Anemone canadensis, Canada Anemone
Anemone cylindrica, Thimbleweed
Anemone patens, Pasque Flower
Anemone quinquefolia, Wood Anemone
Anemone virginiana, Tall Thimbleweed
Thalictrum thalictroides, Rue Anemone
Angelica atropurpurea, Angelica
Antennaria neglecta, Prairie Pussytoes
Aquilegia canadensis, Columbine
Aralia racemosa, Spikenard
Arisaema dracontium, Green Dragon
Arisaema triphyllum, Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Artemisia ludoviciana, Prairie Sage
Asarum canadense, Wild Ginger
Asclepias exaltata, Poke Milkweed
Asclepias incarnata, Swamp Milkweed
Asclepias syriaca, Common Milkweed
Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed
Asclepias verticillata, Whorled Milkweed
Asclepias viridiflora, Short Green Milkweed
Baptisia alba, White Wild Indigo
Baptisia bracteata, Cream Wild Indigo
Campanula americana, Tall Bellflower
Campanula rotundifolia, Harebell
Castilleja coccinea, Indian Paintbrush
Castilleja sessiliflora, Downy Painted Cup
Caulophyllum thalictroides, Blue Cohosh
Chamaecrista fasciculata, Partridge Pea
Cirsium discolor, Pasture Thistle
Claytonia virginica, Spring Beauty
Comandra umbellata, Bastard Toadflax
Coreopsis palmata, Prairie Coreopsis
Dalea candida, White Prairie Clover
Dalea purpurea, Purple Prairie Clover
Cardamine concatenata, Toothwort
Desmodium canadense, Showy Tick Trefoil
Desmodium glutinosum, Pointed-leaved Tick Trefoil
Desmodium illinoense, Illinois Tick Trefoil
Dicentra cucullaria, Dutchman’s Breeches
Dodecatheon meadia, Midland Shooting Star
Echinacea pallida, Pale Purple Coneflower
Erythronium albidum, White Trout Lily
Erythronium americanum, Yellow Trout Lily
Eupatorium altissimum, Tall Boneset
Eutrochium maculatum, Joe Pye Weed
Eupatorium perfoliatum, Boneset
Eutrochium purpureum, Sweet Joe Pye Weed
Ageratina altissima, White Snakeroot
Euphorbia corollata, Flowering Spurge
Eryngium yuccifolium, Rattlesnake Master
Fragaria virginiana, Wild Strawberry
Galium boreale, Northern Bedstraw
Geranium maculatum, Wild Geranium
Geum triflorum, Prairie Smoke
Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium, Sweet Everlasting
Helenium autumnale, Sneezeweed
Helianthus strumosus, Woodland Sunflower
Helianthus grosseserratus, Saw-tooth Sunflower
Helianthus occidentalis, Western Sunflower
Helianthus pauciflorus, Showy Sunflower
Heliopsis helianthoides, Early Sunflower
Hepatica acutiloba, Sharp-lobed Hepatica
Heuchera richardsonii, Prairie Alumroot
Hydrophyllum virginianum, Virginia Waterleaf
Impatiens capensis, Spotted Touch-me-not
Impatiens pallida, Yellow Jewelweed
Lespedeza capitata, Round-headed Bush Clover
Liatris aspera, Button Blazing Star
Liatris cylindracea, Dwarf Blazing Star
Liatris ligulistylis, Meadow Blazing Star
Lilium philadelphicum, Prairie Lily
Lobelia cardinalis, Cardinal Flower
Lobelia siphilitica, Great Blue Lobelia
Lobelia spicata, Pale Spiked Lobelia
Lupinus perennis, Wild Lupine
Mertensia virginica, Virginia Bluebells
Mirabilis nyctaginea, Wild Four O’Clock
Mitella diphylla, Bishop’s Cap
Monarda fistulosa, Wild Bergamot
Monarda punctata, Spotted Bee Balm
Opuntia macrorhiza, Plains Prickly Pear
Osmorhiza claytonii, Sweet Cicely
Oxalis violacea, Violet Wood Sorrel
Parthenium integrifolium, Wild Quinine
Pedicularis canadensis, Wood Betony
Pedicularis lanceolata, Marsh Betony
Penstemon gracilis, Slender Beardtongue
Phlox divaricata, Wild Blue Phlox
Phlox pilosa, Prairie Phlox
Podophyllum peltatum, May Apple
Polemonium reptans, Jacob’s Ladder
Polygonatum biflorum, Solomon’s Seal
Prenanthes alba, Lion’s Foot
Pycnanthemum virginianum, Mountain Mint
Ranunculus fascicularis, Early Buttercup
Ratibida pinnata, Yellow Coneflower
Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia laciniata, Wild Golden Glow
Rudbeckia triloba, Brown-eyed Susan
Sanguinaria canadensis, Bloodroot
Scrophularia lanceolata, Early Figwort
Scrophularia marilandica, Late Figwort
Packera plattensis, Prairie Ragwort
Silphium laciniatum, Compass Plant
Silphium perfoliatum, Cup Plant
Sisyrinchium campestre, Prairie Blue-eyed Grass
Maianthemum racemosum, False Solomon’s Seal
Maianthemum stellatum, Starry Solomon’s Plume
Solidago flexicaulis, Zig Zag Goldenrod
Solidago juncea, Early Goldenrod
Solidago nemoralis, Old Field Goldenrod
Solidago rigida, Stiff Goldenrod
Solidago speciosa, Showy Goldenrod
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, New England Aster
Symphyotrichum laeve, Smooth Blue Aster
Symplocarpus foetidus, Skunk Cabbage
Thalictrum dasycarpum, Purple Meadow Rue
Thalictrum dioicum, Early Meadow Rue
Tradescantia ohiensis, Ohio Spiderwort
Trillium grandiflorum, Large-flowered Trillium
Uvularia grandiflora, Bellwort
Verbena hastata, Blue Vervain
Verbena stricta, Hoary Vervain
Veronicastrum virginicum, Culver’s Root
Viola pedata, Bird’s Foot Violet
Viola pedatifida, Prairie Violet
Viola pubescens, Downy Yellow Violet
Zigadenus elegans, White Camass
Zizia aptera, Heart-leaf Golden Alexanders
Zizia aurea, Golden Alexanders
Andropogon gerardii, Big Bluestem
Bouteloua curtipendula, Side-oats Grama
Bouteloua hirsuta, Hairy Grama
Bromus kalmii, Prairie Brome
Carex pensylvanica, Common Oak Sedge
Carex sprengelii, Long-beaked Sedge
Elymus canadensis, Canada Wild Rye
Elymus hystrix, Bottlebrush Grass
Schyzachyrium scoparium, Little Bluestem
Scirpus atrovirens, Dark-green Bulrush
Sorghastrum nutans, Indian Grass
Hesperostipa spartea, Porcupine Grass
Amorpha canescens, Lead Plant
Ceanothus americanus, New Jersey Tea
Celastrus scandens, Bittersweet
Cephalanthus occidentalis, Buttonbush
Clematis virginiana, Virgin’s Bower
Physocarpus opulifolius, Prairie Ninebark
Rosa arkansana, Prairie Wild Rose
Rosa carolina, Pasture Rose
Sambucus canadensis, Elderberry
Viburnum trilobum, American Highbush Cranberry