Flora and fauna

Maple, birch, beech, oak, pine, hemlock, and larch cover the Massachusetts uplands. Common shrubs include rhodora, mountain laurel, and shadbush. Various ferns, maidenhair and osmund among them, grow throughout the state. Typical wildflowers include the Maryland meadow beauty and false loosestrife, as well as several varieties of orchid, lily, goldenrod, and aster. Listed as threatened or endangered plants in 2003 were northeastern bulrush, sandplain gerardia, and small whorled pogonia.

As many as 76 species of mammals, 74 of them native species, have been counted in Massachusetts. Common native mammals include the white-tailed deer, bobcat, river otter, striped skunk, mink, ermine, fisher, raccoon, black bear, gray fox, muskrat, porcupine, beaver, red and gray squirrels, snowshoe hare, little brown bat, and masked shrew. Among the Bay State's 336 resident bird species are the mallard, ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail, ring-necked pheasant, herring gull, great horned and screech owls, downy woodpecker, blue jay, mockingbird, cardinal, and song sparrow. Native inland fish include brook trout, chain pickerel, brown bullhead, and yellow perch; brown trout, carp, and smallmouth and largemouth bass have been introduced. Native amphibians include the Jefferson salamander, red-spotted newt, eastern American toad, gray tree frog, and bullfrog. Common reptiles are the snapping turtle, stinkpot, spotted turtle, northern water snake, and northern black racer. The venomous timber rattlesnake and northern copperhead are found mainly in Norfolk, Hampshire, and Hampden counties. The Cape Cod coasts are rich in a variety of shellfish, including clams, mussels, shrimps, and oysters. Twenty-one Massachusetts animal species were classified as threatened or endangered in 2003. Among them were the American burying beetle, the bald eagle, puma, shortnose sturgeon, five species of whale, and four species of turtle.