Native Plant Descriptions

shadbushShadbush Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) blooms in early spring with a profusion of small white flowers. This tree is adaptable to a wide variety of habitats, from wet swampy areas to dry uplands. Shadbush, or shadblow or Juneberry, grows from 10 to 20 feet tall and flowers best in full sun. It suckers quite freely. The hard red fruits ripen in June, providing an early summer feast for many species of birds, including scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, American robin, hermit thrush, red-bellied woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, tufted titmouse, cedar waxwing, blue jay, and gray catbird.

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chokeberry Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) is a hardy shrub that grows to about 8 feet in height, and half that in width. It can tolerate both wet and dry soils.  Full sun produces the most fruit. Nice leaf color in the fall. It has umbels of white flowers that produce clusters of bright red berries later in the summer that attract several birds, including wild turkey, black-capped chickadee, eastern meadowlark, and cedar waxwing.

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clealn01Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) grows 6 to 8 feet tall with very fragrant white flowers in upright spires. Blooming in mid-summer, sweet pepperbush is attractive to bees and butterflies. It likes damp areas along the edges of swamps and streams and is perfect for naturalizing these areas. It can thrive in other moist areas if kept well-watered during drought. It spreads from suckers, forming thickets. In addition to the typical white-flowered shrub, we are offering the variety ‘Ruby Spice’ which bears lovely deep pink blooms. Acidic soil and full sun are preferred for both varieties.

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dogwood-silky Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum)  is a multi-stemmed tree with a rounded growth habit, growing to about 10 feet tall and wide. Umbels of creamy white flowers bloom in late spring, with deep blue clusters of fruits in the summer.  Likes moist soils and is a good plant to use on wet sites for mass border plantings. The fruits attract many birds, including wood duck, wild turkey, northern flicker, downy woodpecker, gray catbird, thrushes, northern mockingbird, and northern cardinal.

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winterberry Winterberry (Ilex verticillata) ‘Red Sprite’ can grow to 10 feet in height. Its tiny white flowers bloom in June; you’ll need at least one male plant to pollinate the female plants to produce berries. Unlike other hollies, the dark green leaves are deciduous and its bright red berries crowd its bare winter stems, making a spectacular show. Winterberry is a plant of wet areas, but will do reasonably well under dry conditions.  Acid soil is preferable, and full sun will produce the most berries. It is a favorite of many bird species including American robin, hermit thrush, eastern bluebird, yellow-bellied sapsucker, and white-throated sparrow.

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honeysuckle Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) is a twining vine with round to oval leaves.  The lovely, tubular flowers make quite a show in late spring to early summer and are a favorite of ruby-throated hummingbirds.  Encourage vine to climb a trellis or other support. ‘Manifich’ is orange with a clear yellow throat.

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rosvir00Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana) is a native rose with lovely, fragrant, 2-inch pink blossoms in June that turn to red rose hips in August. The fruit is edible and persists on the canes through the winter. Plant grows 4 to 6 feet tall; give it plenty of room since it spreads rapidly by suckering. Established thickets provide protective cover and nesting sites for birds. The nutritious hips provide winter/spring food for wild turkey, brown thrasher, American robin, eastern bluebird, northern mockingbird, northern cardinal, cedar waxwing, and American goldfinch.

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lowbush Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium - myrtilloides) is a wonderful little groundcover that is not too fussy as to soil type.  Grows to about 18 inches tall, with shiny leaves. White urn-shaped flowers in early summer produce small blueberries in August. Birds known to enjoy the bonanza include wild turkey, scarlet tanager, American robin, eastern bluebird, northern flicker, gray catbird, blue jay, and orioles.

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highbush Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) is a 6 to 8 foot shrub with glossy leaves that turn spectacular colors in the fall, including dark mahogany. Though it grows in dry, open fields, it is happiest in wet, boggy areas where soil is peaty and acidic. White urn-shaped flowers in early summer produce delicious berries in mid-summer that are loved by wild turkey, scarlet tanager, most thrush species, black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, gray catbird, blue jay, eastern towhee, and orioles.

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viburnum-pPossumhaw  Viburnum (Viburnum cassinoides/nudum), aka Witherod, grows about 8 to 10 feet in height and produces flat-topped clusters of small white flowers in early summer. Its fruits turn from green to pink with purple centers as summer progresses. Peaty damp soil is preferred; it can grow along the edge of ponds in very wet conditions. Wild turkey, brown thrasher, American robin, eastern bluebird, northern cardinal, pileated woodpecker, and cedar waxwing eat the fruits.

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viburnum-cCranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum) ‘Wentworth’ grown in full sun can be quite spectacular when in bloom with its showy white 3 to 4 inch wide flower clusters.  This large shrub grows 8 to 10 feet in height with a spread of about the same.  It has three lobed, shiny leaves and likes moist soil with good drainage.  Bright red fruit clusters mature in September and can hang on the plant into the winter, providing food for wild turkey, various thrushes, cedar waxwing, and northern cardinal.

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Asclepias_syriaca_-_Common_MilkweedCommon Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a perennial herb that grows to a height of 2-6 feet. It grows in sandy and loamy soils in full sun. Its purple flowers attract milkweed beetles, bumble bees, and other bees. Its seeds can be collected in fall after the pods open and immediately sown on the new location.

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Ascelpias_incarnata_swamp_milkweedSwamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is a native, perennial wildflower growing 3-6 feet tall. Bright pink, white and purple clusters of flowers appear in summer at the tops of the stems. As its name would suggest swamp milkweed grows in moist or wet soil; it prefers a sunny location, although it tolerates partial sun. Native bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are attracted to the flowers.

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Monarch_caterpillar_(Danaus_plexippus)_on_Asclepias_tuberosa_(butterfly_milkweed)_(2284495213)Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a 1-3 foot tall perennial that has striking yellow and orange flowers that are attractive to many insect species, including milkweed beetles, many native bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It grows in full sun or part shade and tolerates moist to dry soil.

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EupatoriumfistulosumHollow Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium fistulosum) is a 5-10 foot tall perennial that grows in moist, rich soil in full sun or partial shade. Its huge, domed flower head is composed of several branches bearing tiny pinkish-lavender florets. Honey bees, bumble bees, other native bees, and butterflies visit the flower heads for nectar and pollen. Swamp sparrows eat the seeds.

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Wild_Bergamot_(Monarda_fistulosa)Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is an erect 2-4 foot perennial with pale purple to pink flowers that grows in full to partial sun. It will do well in a range of soil types from sandy to loamy and dry to wet. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds use the plant for nectar.

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OohangousouCutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata) is a sunflower-like perennial growing to 3-6 ft. tall in moist soil with any light conditions. Each flowers is 3-4 in. across, with cone-shaped, greenish-yellow centers and back-tilted golden rays. The center cones elongate and become brownish as the seeds ripen. It has been called a “pollinator magnet” that attracts butterflies, bees, wasps, and flies. Birds will eat the seeds.

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New_England_asterNew England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is a native perennial which grows from 2½ to 6 feet tall with individually stalked flower heads that have bright pink to purple, petal-like ray flowers surrounding a central yellow disk. It grows in moist soil with partial shade. Bees, butterflies, flies, beetles, moths, and hummingbirds are drawn to its nectar and pollen.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANew York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) is a tall, clump-forming perennial, growing 5-8 feet in height in sun or partial sun. In the wild it grows in moist soil; under cultivation it will flourish in regular or dry soil. Branching stems bear a cluster each of reddish-purple flowers at the ends of branched flat-topped clusters. Butterflies, bees, and other pollinators are attracted to the flowers and birds to the seeds.

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Though many of these plants grow in the understory in the wild, all will produce more flowers and fruit when grown in full sun. Images: fruits -  www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/list.php; perennials - wikimedia.org , Butterfly Milkweed - Marshal Hedin, Wild Bergamot - Joshua Mayer;