• Image of swamp, bayou, and marsh

    Jean Lafitte

    National Historical Park and Preserve Louisiana

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  • Labor Day Closures

    All park sites closed Monday, September 1, for Labor Day. Follow the link for information about park hours and days and about access to the Barataria Preserve and Chalmette Battlefield/Chalmette National Cemetery on holidays. More »


A bee hovers near a purple iris while yellow flowers bloom in the background
The yellow flowers----called butterweed or yellowtop----are easy to spot in the preserve in spring. The once abundant wild irises nearly disappeared but are now making a comeback; find out why below.

South Louisiana's long growing season and abundant rain means it's a great place to be a plant. The Barataria Preserve contains three major plant systems: hardwood forest, swamp, and marsh, and is a good place to see over 400 species of plants.

In the spring, the wildflowers fill every corner of the Barataria Preserve, although the giant blue iris population was greatly reduced for several years (find out why here and read about their comeback). The freshwater marsh turns bright green in the summertime, forming a complex system of reeds, sedges, grasses, and shrubs. Fall in the preserve brings the bright crimson of swamp (red) maples and the brilliant yellow of burmarigolds. Even in the winter, many plants stay green.

Barataria Plants

Chalmette Plants

Fall Wildflowers of Barataria

Spring Wildflowers of Barataria


If you want to get into keying out a species, or looking a little further afield than the Preserve, check out this resource from the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center website and "Southern Wetland Flora" by Robert H. Mohlenbrock.

Did You Know?

Young alligator crawls through vegetation.

Alligators have two eyelids! The second inner eyelid is clear and used like goggles while the alligator is under water. These amazing reptiles have been around since before the dinosaurs, and they are designed for life in the water.