Flowering plants native to Arkansas range from the small species fitting as ground cover to large trees suitable for shade and specimen plants. Arkansas's northern counties are in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 6 -- the same zone as parts of states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut. The southernmost counties are within zone 8, where winters are much milder. The rest of Arkansas falls within zone 7, where these flowering plants sometimes encounter readings of 0 degrees Fahrenheit during the coldest winters.
Devil's Walking Stick
Whether it is a shrub between 10 and 15 feet, or a tree as tall as 35 feet, the devil's walking stick (Aralia spinosa) always has pronounced thorns on its stems and branches. The devil's walking stick withstands drought and the pollution associated with urban settings, growing in sun or shade. The plant flowers during July and August, with bees attending the small, white blooms. Devil's walking stick is an interesting flowering species for naturalized areas in Arkansas. Plant it away from foot traffic due to the potential for a run-in with the spines.
If you love hummingbirds, plant coral bean (Erythrina herbacea) in Arkansas. This shrub grows to 20 feet on rare occasions, but most specimens stay in the 6-foot range. Coral bean produces tubular, scarlet flowers from April into June, their nectar being a major attraction to hummingbirds. The coral bean is a tropical species common in Mexico, with Arkansas at the northern fringe of its range. The flowering plant dies back in winter but grows again in spring from its roots. Coral bean highlights any landscaping scenario, working especially well along fences.
The male and female flowers of white ash (Fraxinus americana) bloom during the latter half of April. The flowers are small and mixtures of black, green and purple. White ash has compound leaves, with each leaf made up of from five to nine leaflets, each as long as 6 inches. The foliage turns shades of yellow and purple in fall. The tree grows throughout Arkansas with the exception of the far eastern counties. White ash grows to 70 feet in full sun as a shade tree, lawn tree or species appropriate as a street tree.
Purple clematis (Clematis pitcheri) attaches itself to trees, shrubs and other plants in the wild. Place it near fences or trellises, and this Arkansas flowering native vine will climb on them. Purple clematis blooms in May, but its flowers typically last into August and September. The flowers have shades of purple on the outside, and combinations of green, white, red and purple on the interior. Purple clematis grows to lengths of 10 feet, dying all the way to the ground during autumn before coming back strong the next spring.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Aralia Spinosa
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Aralia Spinosa
- University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences: Erythrina Herbacea
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Erythrina Herbacea
- University of Connecticut Plant Database: Fraxinus Americana
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Clematis Pitcheri
The Best Ground Cover for Shade
In shady areas where grass doesn't grow well, shade-loving ground covers are a good, and often colorful, alternative to turf.
Flowering Shrubs That Can Take the Full Sun
Shrubs are plants with woody stems that are smaller than tall trees. Within this definition, you find an almost endless number of...
What Flowers Can I Plant in Early Spring?
Many flowers can be planted in early spring as soon as the ground is soft enough to work. In some cases, they...