There are about 2,100 plant species in Maine ranging from the beautiful and protected lady slippers to the dreaded milfoil. Shoreline plants help protect against erosion and absorb storm water runoff. LEA encourages planting with hardy, native varieties.
Maine has four species of lady's-slippers including: the pink lady's-slipper, ram's head lady's-slipper, yellow lady's-slipper, and showy lady's-slipper. Of the four species, two are rare on a state-wide basis; the ram's head lady's-slipper and the showy lady's-slipper. The ram's head lady's-slipper is also globally rare. Please see the Rare Plant List for the complete listing of all rare plants in Maine.
The lady's-slipper orchids are among the showiest orchids in the eastern United States and are vulnerable to collection. Lady's-slippers require highly specific habitats in order to grow, thus collecting lady's-slippers, even the common ones, is discouraged. Over-collecting of lady's-slippers could make even the common species rare over a short time period.
A self-seeding annual, jewelweed typically grows two to five feet in height. It has weak, watery stems and alternately-arranged, oval-shaped leaves with toothed margins. Seedlings sprout in early spring and reach maximum size by August. Flowering begins in mid-summer and continues until frost kills the plant. The fruit is an elongated capsule, which, when ripe, bursts open at the slightest touch. Jewelweed resembles the closely-related pale touch-me-not , which can be distinguished by its yellow flowers.
We all know about the dreaded milfoil but there are other invasive plants. An invasive plant is defined as a plant that is not native to a particular ecosystem, whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. There are currently approximately 2,100 plant species recorded from Maine. Approximately one third of those are not native. Of those plants that are not native, only a small fraction are considered invasive, but these have the potential to cause great harm to our landscape. Click here for more information on invasive plants.