When you learn about plant families, you start to see all the similarities between species. All the flowers pictured below, except the burnet, are just so clearly rosaceous. Click on the goatsbeard picture and zoom in; you’ll see it there, too.
southern agrimony, small-flowered agrimony, swamp agrimony, harvestlice
Five species of agrimony are found in the Maryland piedmont. I love this one particularly for the fantastically complicated leaves (click on the image for a larger view). I’ve only ever found one of these plants, but I visit it every season. It’s on the Cabin John Trail, and grows to about three feet tall amid a stand of Japanese knotweed.
goatsbeard, bride’s feathers
This is an impressively large perennial, growing as tall as six feet in wet soils when it has enough sun. You really have to zoom in to see the characteristic rose family structure of the flowers.
In Maryland this species is only found in Garret and Baltimore counties; this photograph was taken in Iceland. If you zoom in you can see some of the typical rose family leaves, but most of the green in this picture comes from horsetails through which the strawberry is flowering.
Some people consider this a weedy plant; it certainly can grow aggressively. It can be found in almost every Maryland county, and indeed over most of the eastern US.
purple avens, mountain avens, water avens
Only a few sources show this species occurring in Maryland, but there’s no county data. Based on county data from nearby states, I’ll guess that if it does grow here, it will be in Allegany and Garret counties. It’s a lovely low-growing herb with multi-colored flowers. These plants were photographed in Iceland.
This is one of the least eye-catching flowers I’ve ever spotted, but it is in the rose family. Those flowers are about one-eighth of an inch across.
This very low-growing, vining plant seems to like dry, rocky soils. It’s easily found near Carderock; look for it blooming from late April to late May.
Very similar looking to dwarf cinquefoil, but the plants seem to be more aggressively vining. The specimen shown here was part of a large mass twining through other plants.
This small shrub bears its flowers singly and can be found throughout the Maryland piedmont. I planted a small one in my garden last year and the rabbits got it, damn them. Will try again this spring, with rabbit repellent on hand. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an informal hedge comprising native roses?
The fragrant flowers are borne on panicles, and although the fruits are edible they aren’t very palatable. It’s a suckering shrub, like other Rubus species. Look for it growing wild in Maryland in Montgomery County and all the counties to the west.
Rubus species (maybe R. flagellaris or R. hispidus)
I didn’t have clear enough pictures to say for sure which species this is, but this is a typical dewberry flower and habit (the canes tend to trail along the ground rather than arching like blackberries and raspberries do).
Canada burnet, American burnet
Carrol County is the only Maryland piedmont location for this species, listed as S2/threatened. It’s threatened or endangered in eight other states, too. This specimen was photographed in Nova Scotia. The flowers are borne on a spike and have no petals, just a four-lobed light green calyx and many long stamens.
This short shrub, with flowers borne in panicles, can be found in most of the Maryland piedmont (but I took the picture in Nova Scotia). It’s range includes the upper Midwest and New England, Canada, and along the Appalachians into the South. It’s endangered in Kentucky and Tennessee.