Minnesota Plants

Subkingdom Embryophyta

Embryophyta (land plants) is a subkingdom of the kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants). Embryophytes are distinguished by having a life cycle that involves alternation of generations the ability to live on land. They include vascular plants, which are those organisms traditionally thought of as plants, as well as non-vascular plants, which include mosses, liverworts, and hornworts.

According to one estimate, there are 311,078 embryophyte species worldwide.

Riddell’s goldenrod



Distribution Maps

Plant occurrence data published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (PLANTS Database) includes only locations where a specimen has been collected by an herbarium. Rare species location data published by the Minnesota DNR is similarly constrained. Online sources of distribution data for plants in Minnesota rely on these two authorities. This results in published plant ranges that may be representative but are of necessity incomplete.

The distribution maps on MinnesotaSeasons.com are derived from multiple sources. Each map is accompanied with links indicating which sources were used in creating the map. Those sources include University of Minnesota Bell Herbarium, USDA PLANTS Database, and the Minnesota DNR Rare Species Guide. However, they also include online databases, such as the Minnesota State checklist of vascular plants (MnTaxa); Biota of North America Program (BONAP); Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System (EDDMapS), and iNaturalist; and print resources, such as Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota and Native Orchids of Minnesota, both by Welby R. Smith; and Vascular Plants of Minnesota by Ownbey and Morley. The maps also include sightings by MinnesotaSeasons.com, and sightings by contributors to MinnesotaSeasons.com that have been verified by the inclusion of a photo sufficient to identify the species.

The distribution maps at the right show the occurrence of red mulberry in Minnesota as reported by PLANTS and by MinnesotaSeasons.com.


Range Map

red mulberry



Range Map

red mulberry







Recent Additions
Hairy honeysuckle

Hairy honeysuckle (Lonicera hirsuta) is a common woody vine of the Great Lakes region of North America. It is common in the northeastern third of Minnesota, where it is at the southwestern extent of its range. It is found in moist woodlands, forest edges and openings, thickets, and swamps. It grows under full or partial sun in sandy or rocky soil. It sometimes creates loose colonies.

Hairy honeysuckle vines are usually 8 to 10 long but can reach 16 or longer. They climb on adjacent vegetation (twining) or creep along the ground (trailing). When twining, they spiral counter-clockwise, from the lower left to the upper right. When trailing, they produce roots where the stem contacts the ground. The stem detaches at that point, creating a new plant. The leaves are opposite and broadly oval. The uppermost pair of leaves, sometimes the uppermost two pairs, are fused together at the base to form single diamond-shaped to elliptic or round leaves. The inflorescence is a cluster of yellow flowers at the end of the stem. The flowers appear after the leaves are fully developed and peak from mid-June to mid-July. In Minnesota they are likely pollinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths. The fruit is a small, orangish-red berry. It matures in late July to mid-September, and remains on the plant until picked off by a bird or mammal.

  hairy honeysuckle
Pincushion moss

Pincushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum) is a common, large, tall, tuft-forming moss. It is very common in the eastern United States, and common in eastern Minnesota, where it is at the western extent of its range. It is found under partial sun to medium shade in forests, bogs, and swamps. It grows in acidic soil, on rotting logs and stumps, on the bases of trees, and on rock ledges. It is tolerant of disturbance and is often found in cemeteries, in city parks, on trailsides, and in the shade of large buildings.

Pincushion forms a large, smooth, dome-shaped, green or light green to whitish cushion on the ground. The cushion is a dense tuft of numerous individual stems that clearly radiate from a central point of origin. The stems are closely packed and difficult to separate. In favorable conditions the cushion can be up to 5 tall 40 in diameter.

  Pincushion moss
  Photo by Luciearl
Japanese barberry

Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is an exotic, invasive, thorny shrub. It is native to Japan and has been cultivated around the world as an ornamental. It was introduced into North America in the 1800s where it occasionally escapes cultivation. It is now common from Maine to Minnesota south to North Carolina and Missouri, with scattered populations in the west. In Minnesota it is common in the eastern half of the state with scattered populations in the western half. It is found in open, bottomland and upland woodlands; woodland edges and openings; pastures, meadows, and old fields; and roadsides and other disturbed places. It grows in well-drained, moist to dry soil under full sun to medium shade. It is a restricted noxious weed in Minnesota. The state recognizes – and prohibits – 25 cultivars in addition to the parent species.

Japanese barberry is a dense, compact shrub that sometimes forms large, impenetrable thickets. The shrubs are usually no more than 3 tall but can be much taller. The narrow, spatula-shaped leaves appear in tight clusters on short shoots along the stems and branches. There is a single, half-inch long spine at the base of each leafy shoot. In May and early June clusters of 1 to 5 small yellow flowers appear at at the ends of the shoots. These are replaced in late summer by bright red juicy berries. The berries remain on the plant throughout the winter.

  Japanese barberry
Tall beggarticks

Tall beggarticks (Bidens vulgata) is a common, widespread, native but often weedy wildflower. It is native to Europe and North America. It occurs across the United States but is most common in New England, the upper Midwest, and the Pacific Northwest. It is common in Minnesota. It grows in loamy or silty soil, under full sun to partial shade, in wet to moderately moist sites. It is found on the banks of rivers and streams; on the margins of lakes and ponds; in wet forests and meadows; and in ditches, railroads, roadsides, and other open disturbed sites. It is weedy in moist disturbed sites.

Tall beggarticks is a robust annual with an inconspicuous inflorescence. It is usually 12 to 20 tall but in favorable conditions it can reach 60 or more in height. The leaves are divided onto 3 or 5 leaflets. At the base of each flower head there is a whorl of 10 to 21 modified leaves (bracts). The flower head has up to 150 yellow disk florets and either no ray florets or just 1 to 5 small yellow ray florets.

  tall beggarticks
Lewis flax

Lewis flax (Linum lewisii var. lewisii) is an uncommon, non-native, prairie wildflower. It is native to western North America as far east as North Dakota. It is uncommon in Minnesota where it is considered adventive—it is not fully established and the populations in the state may not be self-sustaining. The first recorded observation in Minnesota was in 1959. It continues to spread as it is often included in seed mixes used on prairie restorations.

Lewis flax is semi-evergreen, with at least some foliage remaining green throughout the winter. Flowers are not produced until the third year or, if conditions are favorable, the end of the second year. Bright blue flowers appear from May to July. The petals open at sunrise and fall off by late afternoon.

  Lewis flax
Dwarf raspberry

Dwarf raspberry (Rubus pubescens) is a perennial, low-growing, non-woody subshrub. In the United States it occurs in the northern tier of states south to New Jersey, Colorado, and Oregon. In Minnesota it is common throughout most of the state but absent in the west-central, southwest, and south-central counties. It is found in moist to wet woodlands and meadows and in various wetlands including shrubby swamps, bogs, and fens.

Short, erect, leafy stems rise from a creeping runner that can be up to 80 long. The 2 to 5 leaves are each divided into three leaflets. In mid-May to late June 1 to 4 small white flowers appear at the end of the stem. In early to mid-summer, each flower is replaced by a small, bright red to dark red fruit. The fruit is tasty but small, and it does not easily separate from its core.

  dwarf raspberry
Other Recent Additions

long-beaked sedge (Carex sprengelii)

one-sided wintergreen (Orthilia secunda)

hairy wood mint (Blephilia hirsuta var. hirsuta)

American fly honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis)

water speedwell (Veronica catenata)

common speedwell (Veronica officinalis)

spring speedwell (Veronica verna)

  hairy wood mint








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