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Alphabetical List of Perennial Flowers: Perennial Flowers M-P

This is the fourth installment in the Alphabetical List of Perennial Flowers. In this article, flowers which begin with the letters M through P will be listed and briefly described. As with the previous articles in this series, some flowers on this list actually broadly describe an entire genus, comprised of thousands of different species and cultivars. To keep this list brief, we won't go into that level of depth.

Skip to section: M   N   O   P

Perennial Flowers: M

Malva - Better known as Mallow in North America, the Malva flower is a five-petaled pink or white flower which grows at the tips of an herbaceous perennial plant. The particular hue of this flower inspired the name of the color 'Mauve.' The mallow plant is cultivated as an ornamental, though in North America, it is sometimes considered to be an invasive species. It is both edible and medicinal and is used to treat certain skin conditions in herbal medicine.

Marigold - Generally speaking, Marigolds are members of the Calendula family, and are bright yellow to orange flowers which attract pollinating insects. They are edible and medicinal and have properties that are beneficial in the treatment of skin conditions and hemorrhoids. Marigolds are commonly planted in vegetable gardens to attract pollinators and beneficial insects to their garden. Marigolds are considered to be an astringent plant, which is relatively rare for a perennial flower.

Matthiola - Matthiola has powerfully scented blooms which are commonly referred to as "Stock" flowers. Matthiola is generally cultivated as a garden ornamental. The flowers typically have four petals, which can be white, purple, pink or blue. The petals can be rounded, ovate or square, depending on the species.

Meconopsis - Meconopsis are native to the Himalayan Mountains. These are commonly called the "Blue Poppy," as the flower has blue to white colored petals with loose clusters of red and yellow florets in its center. This perennial is difficult to cultivate, as it naturally sets seeds after flowering, and then dies.

Meadowsweet - Meadowsweet is an herbaceous perennial that gets its name from its natural habitat; meadowsweet likes to grow in meadows. A member of the rose family, this plant has white clusters of airy flowers which smell powerfully sweet. Meadowsweet has a delicious flavor and is used extensively in cooking. It is also medicinal and can be used as a source of salicylic acid in the production of aspirin. Traditionally used to ease the symptoms of gout, infections, and fever, Meadowsweet is one of nature's anti-inflammatory substances.

Mimosa - Mimosa flowers are truly special. The long, tendril-like petals resemble single strands of fiber optic cable which can be brightly colored pink, white or yellow. Mimosa is used in Chinese Medicine and in traditional herbal medicine. It is said to relax the nerves and balance the Qi in the body.

Monarda - This is an entire genus of plants, within the Mint family. Monarda also goes by the name Bee Balm and Bergamot. This perennial herb is cultivated for its aromatic leaves and flowers which are famously used to create an essential oil that gives Earl Grey Tea its unique flavor.

Montbretia - Montbretia is a genus within the Iris family. This flower grows unusual corms at its base where the youngest corm is at the surface of the soil, and the oldest is buried in the soil. The inflorescences (clusters of flowers) are bright orange-red and are attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. In the USA, these are more commonly known as Falling Stars.

Mock Orange - Mock Orange is a large shrub which is covered in fragrant white perennial flowers, which themselves resemble orange blossoms. These flowers smell strongly of citrus, though it is entirely unrelated to the true Citrus family.

Monk’s Hood - These moisture-loving perennials grow in the wild in meadows and rocky mountainous soils in the Northern Hemisphere. Monk's Hood is an extremely poisonous plant with clusters of drooping flowers, which may be white, yellow, purple, pink or blue. One of its petals resembles a "Hood" that covers the top of the flower, which is how this one got its name. The poisonous properties of this plant are so profoundly toxic that it has been used to tip harpoons and that are used to kill whales.

Moonflower - Moonflowers are soft white, trumpet-shaped flowers which are incredibly poisonous. Also known as Jimson Weed, Moonflowers have been traditionally used by Shamanists to induce altered states of consciousness, though deep knowledge of the plants' toxic properties was critical in avoiding death. Some cultivars have multi-colored flowers which can be purple, pink, white or yellow.

Morning Glory - Morning Glories are vining perennials which are covered in flowers during the growing season. The Morning Glory gets its name because it tends to be covered in flowers in the morning, which all seem to curl and die by the evening. The next day, a new batch of flowers replace the previous. There are over 1000 different species of Morning Glory, which are available in many different colors, though the flower traditionally associated with this namesake have blue petals with yellow or white at the base of each petal.

Morning Glory

Moss Phlox - Moss Phlox flowers are five-lobed, purple, pink or white flowers which are no more than one inch in diameter, and grow in clusters called inflorescences that are low to the ground. Moss Phlox is native to the Appalachian Mountains, as far south as Georgia and as far north as Pennsylvania.

Moss Rose - Moss Roses are low-growing, succulent flowers which grow in every color and resemble the English Rose in shape. These are widely cultivated for their easy-to-grow, showy flowers which are easier to grow than true roses. These are not true roses and do not have the characteristic fragrance.

Perennial Flowers: N

Narcissus - This name describes a genus of perennial plants which are more commonly known as the Daffodil. Narcissus has been cultivated for its showy, tall-stalked flowers and for its medicinal properties since antiquity.

Nasturtium - The word Nasturtium literally means "nose-twister" and is named for its production of essential oils. The showy, brightly-colored flowers have five sepals, one of which is a Nectarie. These flowers may be yellow, orange or red, and have many uses including medicinal and culinary.

Nemesia - A South African native, Nemesia are beautiful, two-lipped flowers which are grown as bedding plants in different regions of the world. The flowers may be white, yellow, orange-red or pink, and the many blossoms can completely cover the ground when grown as bedding flowers.

Nemophila - These flowers are more commonly called "Baby Blue Eyes" because they have five rounded baby-blue lobes with white at their base. Generally speaking, Nemophila is somewhat natively isolated to California, though they can be found in other parts of the West Coast. Nemophila means "Woodland-loving," which refers to the areas one is most likely to encounter this perennial.

Nepeta - Also known as Catmint or Catnip, Nepeta is a genus in the mint family which comprises 250 species. Famous for its euphoria-stimulating effects in cats, Nepeta is an ornamental plant with small inflorescences of blue or purple flowers along its stem. This herbaceous perennial can grow invasively if left unchecked.

Nerine Bowdenii - Also known as the Cornish Lily, Nerine Bowdenii is a bulbous perennial lily which grows five-inch-wide pink, slightly trumpeted flowers with eight petals that have curved tips. The uniquely shaped flowers are faintly fragrant.

Nerium - Nerium is a genus with only one species: Oleander. Nerium is a highly-toxic perennial plant which grows up to 20 feet tall and has five-lobed inflorescences of pink, white or red flowers which grow at the end of each branch. The flowers are sweetly scented, but deadly if consumed.

Nicotiana - Better known as the Tobacco plant, Nicotiana enjoys a long, sordid history. Tobacco is most often grown for its leaves which are used in the production of Cigarettes, cigars and loose-leaf tobaccos. There are also ornamental varieties of Nicotiana which are grown for their sweet-smelling flowers and attractiveness to pollinators, such as moths. The flowers are generally white and can droop from the tips of branches in clusters of up to 10 to 20 flowers.


Perennial Flowers: O

Oenothera - Also commonly called the Evening Primrose, Oenothera grows clusters of beautiful flowers which open in the evening instead of the morning. The flowers are usually yellow but can be white, pink or red as well. This plant is used to produce Evening Primrose Oil, which is used in Herbal medicine to treat anything from labor pain to Cancer.

Orchid - Orchids are some of the most stunning flowers in the world, and are commonly cultivated for their showy, veiny, often speckled flowers. Vanilla comes from an orchid which grows pods of the flavorful beans, and it is the second-most expensive spice in the world behind saffron. The Orchid family is the second largest family of flowers, just behind the daisy family. There are over 28,000 known species, as the beautiful perennial has been bred into many hybrid varieties.


Oriental Lily - Oriental Lilies are taller than most other lilies, growing up to 6 feet and bearing large, pink speckled flowers with large stamen. The Oriental Lily is a large, fragrant and trumpet-shaped perennial flower.

Oriental Poppy - This poppy is a Turkish Native and has a single bright orangish-red flower with a black cluster of florets at its center. Extensive breeding has produced blooms in other colors, including white and pink. Oriental poppies do not produce illegal narcotic alkaloids but do produce Thebaine, a compound which is used to create some commercial opiate medications.

Ornamental Onion - The Ornamental Onion is a member of the allium family which produce rounded, ball-like clusters of tiny flowers. The flowers are five-lobed florets of blue, purple or white petals, which sit atop a stem that can be as tall as three or four feet. The inflorescences can be as large as a cantaloupe. The bulb of the Ornamental Onion is not consumed like the commercial onion is.

Osteospermum - Osteospermum is a member of the Calendula genus within the Daisy family. The flower has quite unusual petals or tepals, which are available in every color, and some cultivars have spooned petals, rounded petals, or ovate ray florets.

Ox-Eye Daisy - The Ox-Eye Daisy is an herbaceous perennial which is used as Food in some cultures. It has bright white ray florets and a dense cluster of yellow disc florets at its center. The Ox-Eye Daisy is notable in that is has one of the highest pollen production levels of any Daisy.

Perennial Flowers: P

Painted Daisy - Painted daisies are distinguished by their amazing colors, where each flower resembles a colorful bullseye. The flower is generally made of rings of contrasting colors, with some common specimens having ray florets which are banded with purple, red and yellow. Other varieties have other colors of banded rays, while even other cultivars do not show banding but instead have disc and ray florets in contrasting colors. As with most Daisies, the disc florets are innumerable.

Pansy - Pansies are hybrids of the Viola (Violets) family. Pansies have characteristic petals, where there are two upper petals, two side petals, and one lower petal called a "beard." Pansies are multicolored and can be white, blue, yellow, purple, pink, red, black and any combination of these colors. It is notable that Pansies were once highly fragrant, but most species no longer produce the characteristic perfume. The Pansy is hardy to zone 4 but is generally grown as an Annual flower because they become leggy after the first season.

Passion Flower - Passionflowers are highly-unusual flowers which typically grow on vines, and the name Passionflower describes over 500 different species of perennial flowering plants. Passionflowers have tendril-like ray florets which themselves are banded in color. The Passionflower can be purple, blue, white or multicolored. Passionflower is used in traditional medicine to treat Anxiety and Insomnia, since it has sedative properties when brewed into a tea or tincture.

Peace Lily - Peace Lilies produce a single petaled flower which is always white and resembles a leaf or teardrop in shape and covers a Spadex of other florets. The Spadex resembles a small cob of corn. This perennial is native to tropical areas in the Americas and Asia and is cultivated as a houseplant. Peace Lily does not require high levels of light or water to survive.

Pearl Bush - This perennial plant is grown as a garden ornamental. Its flowers are five-petaled, white, and grow in clusters at the end of each shoot. The Pearl Bush is covered in tiny white flowers during the blooming season, which each resemble small pearls, giving this flower its trademark name.

Pelargonium - Also known as Geraniums, Pelargonium includes over 200 species of plants in its genus. These evergreen perennials are grown as showy garden plants which are prized for their characteristic fragrance. All Pelargonium supposedly share this characteristic fragrance, despite the wide range of cultivars.

Penstemon Rupicola - Native to the West Coast of the United States, the Penstemon Rupicola has showy, trumpet-like flowers that range in color from purple to pink. It prefers rocky, well-drained soil and forms mats of growth as a sub-shrub in the forest ecosystem.

Peony - There are 33 different species of Peony. Peonies are one of the most widely cultivated ornamental plants. They are soft-lobed flowers which can resemble a rose of any color, though some cultivars also have showy disc florets not commonly seen in roses. Some Peonies are edible and their petals are brewed as an herbal tea in China. It is one of the most significant and oldest flowers mentioned in certain traditional Chinese cultures.


Perennial Pea - Perennial Pea is a vine which is incredibly hardy and frost tolerant. It grows up to six feet long, though it is a slow spreader. In the Garden is can become invasive. The Perennial Pea produces either white or pink flowers, which have five petals. This herbaceous vine prefers full sunlight or partial shade.

Perennial Sage - Perennial Sage produces long leafy tendrils which are covered with blue or purple flowers during the Summer months. They are attractive to pollinators, and the foliage is highly aromatic. Like other sage, Perennial Sage is drought tolerant and prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

Persian Buttercup - Persian Buttercups are large, showy flowers which can be any color, including mixed. These flowers have many petals and resemble roses - especially the double bloom varieties.

Phlox - The Perennial Phlox flower is a five-petaled flower which grows in clusters atop simple green foliage. The flowers can be any color, and when cultivated in a garden, the Phlox plant resembles a small mound of flowers. These beauties prefer full sun and well-draining soil and are attractive to pollinators.

Pincushion Flower - Also known as Scabiosa, this member of the honeysuckle family grows large, showy flowers which are rich in nectar and attractive to bees and butterflies. The name "Scabiosa" refers to the traditional use of this plant to treat the disease Scabies.

Primula - An herbaceous perennial, Primula is native to the Northern Hemisphere's temperate regions. This plant grows dense clusters of brightly colored flowers with many florets each. The flowers can be purple, yellow, white, pink, blue or red. This plant has been extensively cultivated for hundreds of years and there are nearly 500 different species.

Purple Coneflower - Also known as Echinacea. This beautiful flower is cultivated to attract pollinators, as well as an ornamental garden plant. It is used in traditional medicine as well, since echinacea is said to strengthen the immune system.

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