Late Summer Color: Native Plants of CVNP

August 17, 2017

The lazy days of August are upon us! Feeling sluggish? Perk up your outdoor adventures with the bright hues of late summer in the Cuyahoga Valley.

There are plenty of unique plants coming into bloom in our national park this month. The deep color of purple tall ironweed stands out in grasslands, while orange jewelweed sparkles in wetlands and marshes.

Here are a five of our favorite late summer plants and where to find them in the national park:

Orange Jewelweed

Orange jewelweed has brightly colored, earring-shaped flowers that show off a silvery color when wet. The most unusual thing about this species is its ability to forcefully project its seeds when lightly touched, giving it the nickname “touch-me-not.” Look for these blooms at the Beaver Marsh and adjacent wetlands.

Purple Tall Ironweed

Don’t miss this dazzling species in the meadows and grasslands along the Towpath Trail and other open areas of the park. It boasts a deep red stem with saucer-like clusters of purple blooms and can grow up to four feet tall! Its flowers and seeds will attract butterflies and birds all month long.


Goldenrod is easy to spot in meadows and fields, as well as along roadsides and the edges of woodlands, such as south of the Boston Store Visitor Center. Its bright yellow color and high concentration of nectar attract butterflies and other insects throughout the fall. Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod is not the plant that causes fall allergies—that’s ragweed, a less showy plant that happens to bloom around the same time.


This water-loving plant goes by many names: spatterdock, yellow pond lily, cow lily. Whatever you call it, you can find it floating across the deep water of the Beaver Marsh this month. Look for yellow flowers that appear to be only half-opened.

Staghorn Sumac

Staghorn sumac has large, red, cone-shaped seed clusters that can sometimes resemble cardinals perching on top of the plant. This shrub gets its name from the velvety texture and forking pattern of its branches, similar to antlers. Look for its red seed clusters this month and its bright foliage in the fall near the Beaver Marsh or other wetland and woodland edges.

Do you have another favorite late summer plant native to CVNP? Have you snapped any great photos in the park? Send your stories and photos to—we’d love to hear from you!