Wildflowers of North Carolina
A Community Photo Exhibit
North Carolina is home to over 3,000 species of wildflowers. We want you to help us showcase the beauty and diversity of our native flowers. Get outside and take pictures of them, and then submit them here. We’ll share them in a digital gallery, and at the end of the year, we’ll display selected images in an exhibit in our DeBerry Gallery.
We’re looking for photographers of all ages and skill levels. Only have a smartphone? No problem! Prints will be at most 8×10 inches. We plan to display hundreds of photos!
Submissions: Open now! The final deadline for submissions is October 1, 2020. But the sooner you submit, the more likely you’ll be featured. You can use the submission form more than once to submit photos at different times, but we will not accept more than five total photos taken by one individual.
Acceptance: We’re accepting submissions on a rolling basis. We’ll send you an email letting you know if your image(s) will be featured in the show. We’ll send final acceptances by October 16.
Exhibit Dates: November-December, 2020 (and possibly beyond!)
Native wildflowers in North Carolina. What’s a native wildflower? Jump to our definition.
Flowers should be the focus. Animals can be a part of the scene, as can people (with their permission) – they just shouldn’t be the primary subject. Close-up shots, landscape views, and anything in between are all welcome.
Anywhere in North Carolina: it could be a park, a public garden, a roadside, or a yard.
Smartphone photography is welcome. Please send photos in JPEG format (the default for most phones) and in the highest quality. We will not accept watermarks. During the exhibit, each photo will be labeled with the photographer’s name.
Taken anytime, in any year. We want photos from all seasons, not just when our native flowers are blooming. Seed heads are welcome!
You can submit a maximum of five photos. We may accept some, all, or none.
You can be any age and live anywhere in the world, as long as you took the photos you’re submitting in North Carolina. You must be the sole owner of the images you submit.
The fine print
By submitting your photographs, you give the North Carolina Botanical Garden permission to reproduce and show them on our websites, social media, and other digital and print materials. We may display some selected photos on social media before the start of the exhibit.
By submitting your photographs, you give the North Carolina Botanical Garden permission to sell prints of your image. All proceeds will return directly to the North Carolina Botanical Garden.
What’s a native plant?
A native plant grows and reproduces naturally in an area. It wasn’t introduced by humans like many ornamental plants. It has evolved for thousands, if not millions, of years with the land and wildlife around it. A native plant is part of a complex, interconnected community of plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms that work together to help each other survive.
At the North Carolina Botanical Garden, we focus on the southeastern United States as our native region. For this exhibit, any plant native to the southeastern U.S. and found in North Carolina will work!
What’s a wildflower?
For the purposes of this exhibit, a wildflower is a native flowering plant without woody parts like trees or shrubs. This means that flowering, non-woody vines are wildflowers, as are native grasses!
How do I know if a plant is native?
If you know the name of a flower, the easiest thing to do is Google it. Lots of resources (Wikipedia, the USDA Plants Database, etc) will tell you its native habitat. If you’re starting out around town, you might be surprised at how many typical landscaping plants are not native to our area.
If you’ve found a cool flower but don’t know what it is, there are a few ways to get an answer. There are more and more smartphone apps (Picture This, PlantSnap, Seek, iNaturalist) that will identify (or get close) a plant in a photo you upload.
More of a printed word kind of person? We’ve got a new book out: Wildflowers of the Atlantic Southeast. It’s organized by flower color and features over 1,200 common wildflowers in our area.
Where should I go to find native wildflowers?
If you live in the Triangle, the best place to start is your nearest native plant garden…that’s us! At the North Carolina Botanical Garden, we cultivate hundreds of native plant species in our display gardens.
Throughout the state, nature preserves and other natural areas are a good bet. Check labels at botanical gardens to see if the plants displayed are native. Roadsides are a mixed bag: some of our rarest wildflowers grow there, but so do introduced invasive species.
If it’s all sounding a little confusing, here are a few examples to get you started. You might recognize plants like orange coneflower, bluets, and milkweed. These are native!
Common Native Wildflowers of North Carolina
But lots of plants you’ll see on roadsides or in the woods are actually not native, like daffodils and Queen Anne’s lace. Many common ornamental plants, like hybrid garden roses and lantanas, originated in other parts of the world. Because they’re not native here, they don’t support our native wildlife. Sometimes they even crowd out important native species.
Here are some examples of plants you might see around town that aren’t native wildflowers.
Common Introduced (Non-Native) Flowers in North Carolina
Go forth and photograph! If you have questions, please contact our communications and exhibits coordinator, Emily Oglesby.
2020: Year of the Wildflower
Wildflowers of North Carolina: A Community Photo Exhibit is part of our 2020: Year of the Wildflower garden-wide focus. Find out more about the wildflower-themed classes, events, and exhibits we’ve got going on.