Chalk Maple is a small, deciduous tree native in the Southeast from NC to Texas. In NC, it occurs in slightly acid to circum-neutral rocky soils, in full sun, part shade and full shade, on riverbanks and ravines in the Piedmont counties. Chalk Maple is desirable because it has all the visual splendor of a full-size Sugar Maple but in diminutive form. Its height at maturity is on the order of twenty-five feet. Its leaves and seed-bearing samaras (which ripen in fall) are smaller and more delicate than those of the Sugar Maple, but its Fall colors are equally superb (yellows, oranges, reds). It is not fussy about moisture, being more drought tolerant than the Sugar Maple or Red Maple. Chalk Maple is often multi-trunked with handsome chalky mature bark, for which it is named, and is very well suited for the upland garden. This tree is seriously underused as a residential ornamental landscape tree. Its seeds attract Grosbeaks, Nuthatches and Finches.
Black Cohosh, Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Common Black Cohosh, Fairy Candles
Black Cohosh is an upright rhizomatous perennial native to eastern North America. It is found in a variety of woodland settings from Maine south to Georgia and west to Missouri and Arkansas. It prefers rich moisture-retentive soils in partial to full shade and can be slow to get established. Ideally, it wants 2-3 hrs of morning sun. if light is too limited, it may fail to flower. Plant in an area protected from strong winds as it can grow to heights of 6 or more feet.
This plant adds a vertical accent to the back of the border of a shady cottage garden or woodland setting. The leaves are attractive and the showy flowers are followed by interesting seedheads. although the flowers have an unpleasant, somewhat medicinal odor, the seedheads are often utilized in flower arrangements. It is attractive to wildlife.
Scientific Name: Actaea racemosa
Common Names: Black Cohosh, Black Snakeroot, Bugbane, Common Black Cohosh, Fairy Candles
Southern Maidenhair Fern is a clumping, deciduous fern cultivated worldwide for its delicate, frilly looks and hardy nature. It is native to a huge part of the Earth, in temperate and tropical regions from the Southern half of the U.S. to Central America, South America, Europe, large parts of Asia and Africa, thriving in moist (but not saturated) habitats in warm climates. It is endangered in North Carolina, due to loss of Appalachian habitat. The plant is small, rarely more than 12 inches in height, and attractively delicate with fronds composed of triangular, lobed pinnules held in flat planes which flutter in a breeze. It is found in neutral to basic soils.
Scientific Name: Adiantum capillus-veneris L.
Common Names: Southern Maidenhair Fern, Venus Hair Fern, Venus Maidenhair Fern, Common Maidenhair
Northern Maidenhair Fern, native to moist woods throughout Eastern U.S. (except Florida), is a lovely addition to any wooded landscaped area, with its wire-like reddish brown-to-black stems and drooping, frilly fronds that start to grow outward in a flat whorl. Fiddleheads are pinkish/purple. Averaging 12-18 inches tall, it will thrive in consistently moist, humusy soil, and requires little sunlight. Clump-forming, it nevertheless can spread by rhizomes into attractive colonies.
Scientific Name: Adiantum pedatum L.
Common Names: Maidenhair Fern, Northern Maidenhair
Although not actually native to NC (it naturally occurs in mid-Alabama), Bottlebrush Buckeye is a favorite shrub in our area because of its show-stopping, 8-12-inch tall panicles of white, feathery flowers with prominent reddish anthers and pinkish filaments. These attract numerous butterflies and other pollinators in early summer and then are followed by large, bright seed capsules in the Fall. Although Bottlebrush Buckeye may be grown as a single 6- to 12-foot individual in a shady border, to show off its colonial character to full advantage, more space and more light are required. It displays horizontal branching near the ground, resulting in a large mounded shape. The fall foliage of Bottlebrush is bright gold, and the leaves persist on the plant well into fall, unlike the Red Buckeye and the Painted Buckeye. Like all Buckeyes, Bottlebrush Buckeye is deer resistant.
Scientific Name: Aesculus parviflora Walter
Common Names: Bottlebrush Buckeye, Dwarf Horse Chestnut
Aesculus pavia or Red Buckeye is a deciduous, clump-forming shrub or small tree (ten to fifteen feet) native to the Southeast from Virginia over to Texas and Oklahoma. In NC it is found in central Piedmont and southern Coastal counties. This shrub has much to offer in the mesic garden: its beautiful, tender young leaves emerge very early in the season, before much else in the woods is budding out. These become 5- to 10-inch, glossy, dark green, palmately compound leaves. Soon, 4-10-inch long panicles of erect, red to orange-red, tubular flowers follow for bright splashes of color. Red Buckeye attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and many other pollinators into the garden. In late summer it produces pear-shaped capsules containing handsome, shiny, inedible Buckeye seeds. While Buckeyes are among the earliest to bud out in our creek bottoms, they are also early to senesce, the fruit ripening and leaves dropping as early as August. Importantly, Red Buckeye is one of the very few really deer-resistant, smallish trees native to our area.
Scientific Name: Aesculus pavia L.
Common Names: Red Buckeye, Scarlet Buckeye, Firecracker Plant
Aesculus sylvatica, or Painted Buckeye, is a shrub about 6 feet tall commonly observed along streams and on open forest slopes of the Piedmont counties of NC and other Southeastern states. Painted Buckeye's appeal lies in the variety of subtle colors displayed by the tender leaves as they emerge in an otherwise brown, woody, winter landscape. These unfurl to become palmately compound, medium green leaves. The yellowish flowers, which are nectar sources for hummingbirds and butterflies such as the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, are not far behind. Painted Buckeye is first to emerge in the bottomlands, and also first to senesce, often dropping its foliage in August. This species is all the more prominent because it and other members of the Buckeye family are not consumed by deer, even when it is the only tender green tissue available in the woods. Although this shrub thrives naturally in the bottomlands, it also grows very well on open forest slopes and in the upland garden, tolerating full shade as well as full sun -- but benefiting from afternoon shade in these hot summers.
Agarista, or Florida Leucothoe, is a tall (8-12'), evergreen, shade-loving shrub, well suited to our hot and humid southern summers. It is found in coastal environments, in a few counties from NC to Florida, but it performs well in upland Piedmont clay-based soils. We have seen it planted under large, deciduous trees where it thrives with protection from the heat in summer, but with sunshine in winter. It can be a carefree, densely lush specimen with dark green, lustrous foliage, red-tinted new growth and a loose, arching habit. Alternatively, it can be maintained as a hedge as it responds so well to heavy pruning. In either case it produces lovely, honey-scented little white flowers in the spring which attract butterflies and bees.
Nodding Wild Onion is a delightful member of the onion family, a perennial herb which is beautifull as well as hardy and well behaved in the garden. Flat, grass-like leaves emerge as a clump from rhizomatous bulbs, followed by taller, round, leafless flowering stalks which bend over, dangling clusters of dainty little white, pink or lavender flowers with yellow exserted stamens and pistils ("cernuous" = "drooping, as a flower; nodding") This cool season flowering perennial, found in counties sprinkled across the NC piedmont and mountain regions, is soil adaptable, thriving in sunny habitats with well drained alkaline, neutral or even acidic soils. Pollinated mostly by bees (which can do their business upside down), Nodding Wild Onion is what most gardenerss appreciate most - a carefree and cheerful plant.
Hazel or Smooth Alder, Tag Alder, Hazel alder, Brookside Alder, Common Alder, Black Alder
Tag Alder is a multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub or small tree found on stream banks and in wet meadows in Eastern North America (Main to Florida; as far west as Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois). Leaves are alternate, elliptical, with serrated margins, deep green turning to yellow tinged with red in the fall. Alder is recognized by its unusual, drooping, yellowish male catkins and red female flower structures in spring and small, woody cones in fall. With its fibrous, shallow root system, Alder is a great choice for stream bank stabilization. Its water use is high, and it fixes its own atmospheric nitrogen, naturally forming thickets along watercourses. However, it also thrives in well drained upland soil where it is often used to improve wildlife habitat. Seeds are eaten by a variety of bird species (Woodcocks, Ruffed grouse), small mammals and rodents. Alders also serve as host plants for beetles, moth and butterfly caterpillars and other insects. Deer browse the leaves and bark. And finally, dense branching habit provides cover and nesting habitat for the American Woodcock, Rusty Grackle, and other birds. It is considered a critical cover component for Woodcock habitat and is an excellent choice for general enrichment of food and cover resources for our native fauna.
Scientific Name: Alnus serrulata (Aiton) Willd.
Common Names: Hazel or Smooth Alder, Tag Alder, Hazel alder, Brookside Alder, Common Alder, Black Alder
The Shadblow Serviceberry is a large shrub in the Rose family native to moist woods in the Eastern seabord of the U.S. and up into Canada. In NC it is found in counties of the lower Piedmont and Coastal plain. Serviceberry is beloved by native plant lovers for its many fine features: in spring it is covered with delicate, white, fragrant flowers which appear in racemes at the ends of branches before the leaves; in summer it produces beautiful, edible red berries which eventually mature to blue/black; in the fall it finishes the season with a very impressive golden/orange foliar display. In addition to providing nectar for the earliest pollinators of the season, Serviceberry's fruit support many birds, including goldfinches, chickadees, cardinals and robins. Serviceberry is versatile, thriving in many soil and water conditions. It is a bit slow to flower, but it is well worth the wait.
Native to the Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas, Bluestar is an upright, broad-spreading herbaceous perennial ~3' tall and wide, with clusters of terminal sky-blue flowers in spring. The leaves are very fine when compared to other members of the genus, creating a cloudlike texture. When grown in the sun, the soft foliage reliably turns beautiful yellows and golds in autumn, an unrivaled fall display lasting up to a month. Bluestar is tolerant of some shade, however, where the blue flowers tend to hold deeper color. Bluestar adapts well to a wide range of soil types. Some flopping over can occur in more shady locations. If allowed, plants will produce seed in attractive tubular seed pods that last into early winter. This is easily prevented by deadheading the flowers after blooming, not affecting the spectacular show of color in the fall.
Scientific Name: Amsonia hubrichtii Woodson
Common Names: Hubricht's Bluestar, Arkansas Amsonia, Threadleaf Bluestar, Arkansas Bluestar
Eastern Bluestar, or Willow Amsonia, is a showy, dependably beautiful, clump-forming hardy perennial about three feet in height and spread. The leaves are shiny, medium-green and willow-shaped, and can turn yellow in the fall. The flowers of Eastern Bluestar are a bright unusual blue color. They are star-shaped, and borne in loose panicles on the ends of the erect stems, making Eastern Bluestar a good cut flower for arrangements. The flowers are replaced by long, narrow cylindrical pods in fall. Although a low-maintenance plant, Amsonia should be cut back after flowering to control its height especially if grown in less than full sun. Eastern Bluestar is native to the Eastern U.S. from Texas to New York. In NC, it is found mostly but not exclusively in Piedmont counties.
Bushy Bluestem, Bluestem, Broomsedge, Bush Beard Grass, Bushy beardgrass
Bushy Bluestem is a tufting, sturdy, warm-season grass that may grow 2 to 6 feet in height. Interesting, beard-like flowers appear in fall. This plant prefers moist to damp sites and is not drought tolerant & has high flammability (do not plant near your home). This plant has green leaves in summer which turn copper-orange in fall and retain color well into winter. Foliage has a reddish tint.
This grass has great wildlife value; seed for songbirds, cover for small mammals, host plant for Common Wood-Nymph & Skipper butterfly larvae.
Scientific Name: Andropogon glomeratus
Common Names: Bushy Bluestem, Bluestem, Broomsedge, Bush Beard Grass, Bushy beardgrass
Splitbeard Bluestem is an attractive grass that adds great winter texture to any garden, especially for the southern gardener. Native to open fields in the South, Splitbeard Bluestem is happiest in full sun, hot temperatures and poor soils. It can grow up to three feet tall with a spread of one to two feet. In the summer the grass is a deep blue-green color, then in early fall, fluffy silver seedheads sparkle in the sun and can often last into winter. The tufted tops are divided in the center giving it the "split beard". Splitbeard Bluestem is a beautiful addition as a specimen in gardens (do not fertilize it) or on hillsides, in meadows and prairies. Like many native grasses, it is deeply rooted and drought tolerant.
Scientific Name: Andropogon ternarius
Common Names: Splitbeard Bluestem, Splitbeard Broomsedge, Paintbrush Bluestem
Antennaria plantaginifolia, or Pussytoes, is a herbaceous perennial, native ground cover in the Asteraceae family. The plant consists of a basal rosette of leaves and an erect stem bearing the flowers. It does best planted in full sun in lean, dry rocky soil with little organic matter. It suffers in soils too rich in organic matter or that drain poorly. It forms mats of soft woolly gray stems and paddle-shaped leaves.
During the spring, a central stem develops from the basal leaves. At the apex of the central stem is a small cluster of about 3 to 6 staminate or pistillate flowerheads. The blooms occur mid- to late spring, lasting about 2-3 weeks. There is no noticeable floral scent. The flower-bearing part of the plant dies down during the summer, but the rosette of basal leaves persists. Occasionally, this plant forms stolons that take root a short distance from the mother plant.
Wild Columbine, Eastern Columbine, Wild Red Columbine
Generous, easy to grow, cheerful and carefree, Wild Columbine is a favorite in perennial gardens from the simplest to the most sophisticated. Native to the entire eastern half of North America, it thrives in partial shade, but tolerates full sun (if not too hot or dry) as well as full shade. Wild Columbine adapts to various soils as long as they are well drained. It's delicate foliage belies its tough nature, and the nodding red and cream flowers are plentiful and sweet. We have seen Wild Columbine used as a filler in shady gardens, providing a rich, whimsical tone all but effortlessly. Wild columbine is a great wildlife plant and draws butterflies, hummingbirds and bumblebees. Deadheading will prevent self-seeding.
Scientific Name: Aquilegia canadensis L.
Common Names: Wild Columbine, Eastern Columbine, Wild Red Columbine
Jack-in-the-pulpit, Common Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Bog onion, Brown dragon, Devil's dear, Dragonroot , Indian Jack in the pulpit, Indian Turnip, Memory root, Pepper turnip, Starch wort, Three-leaved indian turnip, Wake robin, Wild turnip
Jack in the Pulpit is easily recognizable and is a unique spring ephemeral. The fleshy stalk and leaves lend an almost tropical aura to the plant. This perennial plant is about 1-2' tall and wide. It loves part to full shade in woodland gardens and moist to wet conditions. Flowering plants initially produce only male flowers, but become hermaphroditic as they further age (male flowers on upper part of the spadix and female on lower part). The plant has light to dark green leaves. The outside of the "hood" is usually green or purple and the inside is usually striped purple/brown/greenish white, though considerable color variations exist. Most plants in a colony will become dormant and vanish by mid-summer, but the mature, flowering plant will produce a cluster of red berries which becomes visible as the spathe withers in mid to late summer.
Scientific Name: Arisaema triphyllum (L.) Schott
Common Names: Jack-in-the-pulpit, Common Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Bog onion, Brown dragon, Devil's dear, Dragonroot , Indian Jack in the pulpit, Indian Turnip, Memory root, Pepper turnip, Starch wort, Three-leaved indian turnip, Wake robin, Wild turnip
Red Chokeberry is a charming, multi-stemmed, deciduous woody shrub native to Atlantic and Southeastern states. It is found in swamps and wet places, and is therefore very useful for wet areas, but is happy in upland gardens as well and established plants even tolerate drought. This shrub is hard to beat for both aesthetic and wildlife value. It is six to eight feet tall (or taller if wet), and although each stem is slender and single, if given a little space it will colonize, assuming a vase-shape sillhouette in the garden. It is a very rewarding plant to have in several seasons, beginning with the sweet, fragrant spring flowers and all the critters attracted to them. Over time these flowers become bright red, persistent berries which, probably because they are astringent, persist well into the winter before becoming food for many birds. In the fall, the foliage takes on beautiful bright orange to yellow colors and interesting texture, the geater the available light, the more dramatic the color. Its exfoliating bark is attractive in winter with the accents of red berries. Red Chokeberry is easy to grow and trouble free. Although not invasive, it will require some control on its suckering habit -- a very small price to pay fto have this outstanding plant.
Aronia prunifolia or Purple Chokeberry is a natural hybrid between A. arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry), and A. melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry), a more mountainous species. All three Chokeberries have very diferent distribution maps. Purple Chokeberry is much less abundant than the Red Chokeberry. It is much like Red Chokeberry in habit, that is, a deciduous, multi-stemmed, colonial shrub, and it also tolerates wet conditions, but is a bit shorter (5'-6'). Its flowers are slightly larger, the berries also a bit larger and a deep purple in color. It is true from seed in its geographic range but may cross with other members of the genus if nearby in the garden. Purple Chokeberry lends itself to mass plantings in an informal border where it provides spectacular fall foliage color and wildlife food. It is particularly useful in boggy swales or naturalized areas generally, where spreading can be unrestrained.
Asarum, or Wild Ginger, is an herbaceous perennial which grows in colonies in shady woodland locations especially in the more northerly Eastern U.S. Each plant consists of two heart-shaped leaves emerging from a fleshy root/rhizome complex. Between these two leaves a single, somewhat inconspicuous maroon flower arises in May/June, most often hidden by the foliage. The flower is 3-parted, and missing petals, the sepals curve back emphasizing its triangular shape. It is believed Wild Ginger is self pollinated. The fruit is a dry capsule which opens in place. The seeds have an oily appendage called an elaiosome which attracts ants, which then disperse the seed across the forest floor. The leaves of Wild Ginger can reach 6 inches across and they persist throughout the growing season, forming an excellent ground cover. It prefers medium to moist, well drained, slightly acidic soil. It is reported to be deer resistant. As a member of the Pipevine family (Aristolochiaceae) it is a host for the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. It is often confused with Hexastylis, a superficially similar-looking member of an entirely different, but related, family, the Acanthaceae.
The Pink Swamp Milkweed, being a milkweed, is important support for the Monarch butterflies But it is also a stunning perennial wildlfower and therefore deserving of a place in the perennial border. Even though it is found in wet meadows and swamp margins, it is also happy in a well drained upland garden soil in full or mostly full sun. It has a tap root and multiple stems which grow four to five feet high each season. Leaves are tapering and willow-like, and its pink, upright, fragrant flowers occur in somewhat flat umbels at the top of the stems in June-August. Like other milkweeds, it has a white, milky exudate from cut stems, and pods releasing seeds with silky, fluffy tails. In addition to serving as a food source for the Monarch larvae, the flowers provide a nectar source for adult butterflies of many types, and for bees as well. It is reported to occur in most of our states excepting the West coast, and in NC it is found mostly in mountain and upper piedmont counties.
Butterfly Weed, famous for its relationship to the endangered and beloved Monarch butterfly, nevertheless deserves a place in a perennial garden purely on aesthetic merits. It is a sun-loving, 1-2-ft, mound-shaped plant with dark green foliage and contrasting, bright orange, long-lasting flower clusters. These, in time, produce lovely pods of silky-threaded seeds which are carried by wind. In addition to providing foliage to feed the larvae of the Monarch, its flowers are also nectar sources for many other species of butterflies as well as for bees and other insects. Butterfly Weed has a deep taproot, and so is not easily transplanted. This root material was used in the past to treat Pleurisy, accounting for one of its common names. Butterfly Weed may seed out some, if seeds are not collected first. This member of the genus does not exude latex when cut as other milkweeds do. It is a roadside inhabitant, and appears to be deer resistant as well as drought tolerant. It is native to most of our states, and within NC it is reported to occur in all counties but one.
Whorled Milkweed is a tough, attractive herbaceous perennial easily grown in dry, sunny locations in naturalistic as well as garden settings. It is on the small side, reaching 2.5 feet high and wide, with bright white flowers and delicate, whorled foliage. Like all Milkweeds, it is toxic to livestock, so it is not found in cultivated pastures. But this is a pioneer species and one of the few clone-forming milkweeds -- it vigorously colonizes disturbed roadsides, ditches and railroad rights of way by means of its rhizomatous habit as well as by wind distribution of the silken-tasseled seeds. In open, sunny areas with exposed soil, this plant can spread aggressively. It is very widely distributed, all the way from the great plains eastward (in NC, mostly in the Piedmont). Since it is among the last milkweeds to go dormant, it is an important late-season food source for Monarch butterflies and their caterpillars. There is little reason not to have this wildflower, considering its value to Monarchs and other butterflies, its adaptability and ease of cultivation and visual attractiveness.
Scientific Name: Asclepias verticillata L.
Common Names: Horsetail Milkweed, Eastern Whorled Milkweed
The Pawpaw is a fun little tree (25-35 feet) to cultivate. In a favorable place, it will send out rhizomes and colonize. In spring there are lovely, dark red flowers emerging just as the leaves begin to unfurl. If there is another genetically distinct individual nearby, these flowers will give rise to the wonderful yellow-fleshed fruits. The fruit of the Pawpaw are prized by many small mammals as well as by people. Be warned: some people have a poor reaction (nausea) to the fruit. The colonizing root sprouts are easily controlled in this species, and should not deter a person from having at least one or two of them. They contribute to the beauty of the garden in the fall, with their large, rather floppy, tropical-looking leaves turning strong, bright golden before dropping. When scouting for seeds, we go to the patches of Pawpaw on the floodplain of the Haw River and shake trees with stems large enough to indicate that the tops are in the sun -- the key to fruit production. Pawpaw is a larval host for the Zebra Swallowtail and the Pawpaw Sphinx butterflies, and the fruit is popular with all manner of small animals.
Scientific Name: Asimina triloba L.
Common Names: Paw Paw, Indian Banana, Poor Man's Banana, Prairie Banana, Hoosier Banana
Spiked Wild Indigo, Narrow-pod White Wild Indigo, White Wild Indigo
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Baptisia albescens is a bushy, leguminous herbaceous perennial with foliage about two feet high supporting much taller spikes of white, pea-like flowers, hence the common name of "Spiked Wild Indigo". Wider than it is tall, the plant has bluish-green foliage and is more shrub-like in the landscape during the growing season. Baptisias are drought-tolerant and durable and unfussy about soil, due to their very deep tap roots and their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen. They may not flower for a season or two from seed, but they are very long-lived and can give pleasure for decades if undisturbed. Plant them where you intend to keep them, as they are not easily transplanted. Found in the Sandhills and Piedmont areas of NC, they are fully adapted to dry, open conditions (full sun) and regular fire.
Scientific Name: Baptisia albescens Small
Common Names: Spiked Wild Indigo, Narrow-pod White Wild Indigo, White Wild Indigo
Wild Blue Indigo is a tall (three to four feet), sturdy, sun-loving, shrub-sized perennial with upright racemes of pea-like flowers ranging from bright blue to deep indigo held above the foliage. Being a legume, it can fix nitrogen and therefore tolerates poor soils gracefully. It blooms in May and June. The blue of the flowers complements the bright green foliage which remains attractive all summer, even after blooming. The flowers are wonderful as cut flowers, and the ensuing dark black seed pods are valued for dried arrangments as well. It often has low seed viability, but it does reproduce by rhizomes. Being deeply rooted, Wild Blue Indigo is difficult to move once established, but also fairly drought tolerant. This is a long lived plant, flowering for many years. It is known to be host to some beautiful butterflies, among them the Eastern Tailed Blue, Orange Sulphur and Clouded Sulphur butterflies.
River Birch is a graceful, medium-sized (fifty to eightyt feet) deciduous tree with an irregular, open, spreading crown. It is the most heat tolerant of the birches and the only birch that grows in lower elevations in NC. Although it is often found in floodplains and river bottoms, and tolerates wet conditions, it is also adaptable to upland sites. In addition, then, to adding charm to naturalized areas such as streambanks, River Birch is used as an ornamental shade tree in suburban yards as well. It grows both single-stemmed and multi-stemmed. Its most distinctive ornamental feature is its bark, which is gray/brown in color, usually exfoliating in curly, papery sheets revealing a lighter inner bark beneath. Foliage is dark green, with doubly-toothed margins. Its foliage supports an array of butterfly and moth larvae and the seeds are eaten by birds such as Ruffed Grouse, Greater Prairie Chicken, Pine Siskin, White-Winged Crossbill, Purple Finch, and Black-Capped Chickadee. The canopy casts only light shade below which allows shade-loving perennials to thrive underneath. The River Birch is a medium- to fast-growing tree, is beautiful and generally trouble-free, and generous in its support of wildlife.
Scientific Name: Betula nigra L.
Common Names: River Birch, Red Birch, Black Birch, Water Birch
Downy Wood Mint is a wildflower in the mint family native to the central and eastern part of the U.S.A. Plant it in the full sun to partial shade in well drained soil and enjoy its blue-purple flowers from late spring to mid-summer. Minty leaves can be eaten raw and used in teas. It spreads slowly and won’t become aggressive like other mint species sometimes do.
Named 2022 Wildflower of the Year by North Carolina Botanical Gardens
American Beautyberry, Spanish Mulberry, French Mulberry, Bermuda Mulberry, Sourberry, Sowberry
If you think the outrageous color of Beautyberries is as much fun as we do, do not hesitate to grow this loosely open shrub on your property. It is robust and trouble-free, spectacular to look at, and attracts all manner of butterflies and birds. At the same time, it is highly recommended as a tick repellent! How desirable can one plant get? Some folks let it go completely, especially in a partial shade location, and it can become quite a presence (six feet x six feet), but most prune it back when the birds have had their feast of berries, to control its top growth. Some even cut it to 12-18 inches from the ground each season, with no negative consequences as its tiny pink blossoms emerge on the new growth. It thrives in full sun, and flowering and fruiting are best in high light. This plant is a gift to the beginner as well as to the experienced gardener. It occurs in woods, swamps and stream banks of the Southeastern U.S. from Virginia to Florida, West to Texas.
Scientific Name: Callicarpa americana L.
Common Names: American Beautyberry, Spanish Mulberry, French Mulberry, Bermuda Mulberry, Sourberry, Sowberry
Sweetshrub, or Carolina Allspice, is a deciduous woody shrub six to ten feet in height and equally wide famous for its heady aromas. In nature it is found on streamsides and in moist woodlands from Western NC into Tennessee and south into Alabama (Southern Appalachians and Piedmont), but being an old timey landscape plant, it is also found in many old Southern gardens and yards. Sweetshrub is densely branched, with opposite, leathery, leaves which are aromatic in their own right and turning golden in late autumn. But the plant also produces fragrant, upright, long-lasting burgundy-red flowers in early summer which develop into pendulous, wrinkly brown seed pods in fall. Though Sweetshrub thrives in partial shade, flowering and aroma are greatest when grown in full sun -- but full sun also increases the suckering nature of this species. Siting the plant in partial to full shade will hold back its growth rate. Seedlings in nature vary greatly in the quality and strength of the fragrance.
Scientific Name: Calycanthus floridus L.
Common Names: Eastern Sweet Shrub, Carolina Allspice, Strawberry Shrub, Spicebush, Sweet Betsy, Sweet shrub, Sweet Bubby Bush
Sweetshrub, or Carolina Allspice, is a deciduous woody shrub six to ten feet in height and equally wide, famous for its heady aromas. In nature it is found on streamsides and in moist woodlands from Western NC into Tennessee and south into Alabama (Southern Appalachians and Piedmont), but being an old timey landscape plant, it is also found in many old Southern gardens and yards. Sweetshrub is densely branched, with opposite, leathery, leaves which are aromatic in their own right and turning golden in late autumn. The plant also produces fragrant, upright, long-lasting burgundy-red flowers in early summer which develop into pendulous, wrinkly brown seed pods in fall. Though Sweetshrub thrives in partial shade, flowering and aroma are greatest when grown in full sun -- but full sun also increases the suckering nature of this species. Siting the plant in partial to full shade will hold back its growth rate. Seedlings in nature vary greatly in the quality and strength of the fragrance. To avoid obtaining a less desirable individual, one can purchase a vegetatively propagated cultivar such as 'Michael Lindsey". We offer this cultivar because the dark flowers are exceptionally fragrant and reliably so, and foliage is darker and shinier than the species. Its form is dense and compact. Fall color is bright yellow. It is also of fully native genetics, whereas several cultivars in the market today are hybrids with partially exotic, usually Asian, heritage. The USDA plant distribution map linked below is for the species.
Harebell, Bluebell Bellflower, Bluebell Of Scotland, Bluebell, Witches' Thimble
A delicate perennial with graceful, slender stems, usually in clusters, rising in height from 4-15 in. The stems can be weak so that the entire plant bends over. Its rounded, basal leaves wither early while the narrow, stem leaves remain. Blue-violet bell-shaped flowers hang singly or in clusters along the top parts of nodding, thread-like, mostly unbranched stems that grow in small patches. The nodding, bell-shaped, lavender flowers are borne in loose clusters at stem tips.
The genus name, from the Latin campana ("bell"), means "little bell." The name Harebell may allude to an association with witches, who were believed able to transform themselves into hares, portents of bad luck when they crossed a person's path.
Scientific Name: Campanula rotundifolia
Common Names: Harebell, Bluebell Bellflower, Bluebell Of Scotland, Bluebell, Witches' Thimble
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Golden Canna is a beautiful, wet-loving, long lived herbaceous perennial plant and is the only yellow Canna. It was originally described by William Bartram, who found it blooming along the rivers of coastal Georgia. It occurs naturally in wetlands, including marshes, savannas, and the edges of ponds and lakes, on the coastal plain from South Carolina to Florida and Texas. Golden Canna is an emergent plant that only needs to have “wet feet” (damp soil) and usually grows up to 4 feet tall. Leaves are narrow, blue green, about 2 feet long by 6 inches wide, wrapping around the stem at the base. Flowers are strongly yellow, and fragrant, borne in clusters at the tops of sturdy stalks. Each flower head sends out one flower in the evening which then dies in the heat of the following day. The floral display can continue for a few months (August to October). The green, warty, immature seed pods are also attractive, and mature to a dry brown full of 1/3-inch, round, dry seeds. Golden Canna thrives in consistently damp to saturated, acid to circumneutral soils, and will spread both by seed and rhizomes under ideal conditions. It tolerates partial shade, but it grows best under full-sun conditions. Canna species have an amazing number of uses around the world including agricultural uses (see Wikipedia entry). Interestingly, Canna flaccida is used to extract undesirable pollutants in wetlands because of its high tolerance for contaminants. A planting of Golden Canna at the edge of a pond adds wonderful, low maintenance color and structure to the landscape.
Scientific Name: Canna flaccida Salisb.
Common Names: Golden Canna, Bandanna of the Everglades
Not all sedges are the same and this one is a beauty! The finely textured, medium green leaves of Appalachian Sedge grow between 12-18 inches in length, but the clumps arch gracefully over to the ground, actually only 6 to 10 inches tall. It can be grown as a specimen, where it provides beautiful textural contrast to broad leaf neighbors in the garden, or it can be grown en masse, catching the light and creating terrific visual movement as it swirls around rocks or trees, especially on a hillside. Native in dry woodlands from Canada to South Carolina, it tolerates poor soils (as long as it is not wet) and is a great plant for a no-mow lawn alternative in various levels of light, from shade to dappled sun to part sun in our part of the country (Piedmont).
Scientific Name: Carex appalachica J. Webber & P.W. Ball
Carex pensylvanica, or Oak Sedge (or Pennsylvania Sedge) is found in dry woods mostly in Northeastern U.S. In North Carolina it occurs naturally in the mountain counties. This is one of the more popular sedges for gardeners and landscapers in our area because of its versatility. Plants are about 8 inches high (less than 12 inches when flowering), leaves are grass-like and delicate, and the habit is arching and graceful. Like many other sedges it grows well in part shade to full shade, but it stands out because it tolerates more sun (if moist) and spreads by rhizomes as well as by seed. It thrives as a living mulch under trees, shrubs and taller perennials. Pennsylvania Sedge can aslo be used as an alternative "No Mow" lawn to great effect, but it does not tolerate foot traffic. It prefers medium to dry soils, but because it can withstand wet conditions also, it is a good choice for rain gardens. It provides cover for small mammals and ground loving birds, and since it flowers and fruits early in the season before the warm season grasses, it is an early food source for a range of animals.
Old Field Sedge, Rosy Sedge, Curly Wood Sedge, Reflexed Sedge
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Old Field Sedge, or Reflexed Sedge, is a clump-forming, evergreen, grasslike plant usually found in dry, deciduous forests throughout Eastern North America. In NC it occurs in some of the piedmont counties, including our own Chatham County. It grows best in bright shade or partial sun environments and can thrive in both moist and dry conditions. Over a broad area, the clumping is not so evident and the effect is delicate and lawn-like. It does produces seed heads which add visual interest to the otherwise smoothe surface. Eight to ten inches in height, and tolerant of light foot traffic, this sedge lends itself well to the low-maintenance "No-mow" alternative lawn movement. It spreads and thickens by seed, not by rhizomes. Old Field Sedge has proven itself to be a useful textural element and ground cover under broad-leaved shrubs and trees.
Scientific Name: Carex retroflexa Muhl. ex Willd.
Common Names: Old Field Sedge, Rosy Sedge, Curly Wood Sedge, Reflexed Sedge
American Hornbeam, Blue Beech, Musclewood, Ironwood, Water Beech
Ironwood is a small to medium-sized (twenty to thirty-five feet) deciduous, understory tree that grows in woods throughout Eastern North America. It has handsome, smooth-textured, rippling bark ("Musclewood") and alternate, doubly-serrated, oval leaves with a corrugated texture. The timber of Ironwood is of greater-than-average hardness and durability as suggested by its common name. It bears separate male and female catkins on the same individual tree (monoecious), the female catkins developing into the characteristic chain-like clusters of winged nutlets. Being an understory tree, it prefers part shade to full shade conditions and medium moisture. Ironwood can display bright color in autumn and has the great advantage of being low maintenance, and very low on the deer list of edible trees. The ssp. virginiana ("northern" is found more in our mountains, grading into the ssp. caroliniana on the coastal plain. Differences in leaf shape and bracts subtending the seeds are subtle.
Scientific Name: Carpinus caroliniana Walter
Common Names: American Hornbeam, Blue Beech, Musclewood, Ironwood, Water Beech
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
The Pignut Hickory is one of the tallest (eighty to one hundred-foot range) hickory trees comprising the Oak-Hickory Forests of Eastern North America. The trunk is generally straight and the crown of the tree slender, casting an open shade. Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, eight to twelve inches long, with 5 (sometimes 7) leaflets. Leaflets are lance-shaped with serrated margins. In the fall they turn a briliant yellow which lasts longer than those of other hickory species. The nuts are one to two inches long, ripening in the fall. The foliage supports the larvae of a very large number of butterflies, moths, beetles, leafhoppers, etc. whch in turn attract insectivorous songbirds. The nuts support squirrrels of various types, as well as other small mammals and large birds. The Hickory wood is hard, used for all sorts of implements, and makes excellent fuel for wood-burning stoves. Although a desirable tree, it is difficult to transplant because of its early-developing tap root. One of our top favorite shade trees.
Scientific Name: Carya glabra (Mill.) Sweet
Common Names: Pignut Hickory, Swamp Hickory, Smoothbark Hickory, Broom Hickory
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
The Shagbark Hickory is a stately deciduous tree important in the Oak-Hickory Forests of Eastern North America. It is easily recognizable due to its bark, which peels off in large, loose strips. It commonly has a narrow, oval crown and grows to a height of eighty to one hundred feet or more. The leaves of Shagbark Hickory are glossy and dark green, one to two feet long. They are alternate, pinnately compound, usually with five toothed leaflets that turn bright shades of yellow in fall. The timber is heavy, hard, and tough, used to make implements requiring strength, including axes, axe-handles, and bows for native American Indians. The fruit are showy and roundish, and produce edible seeds. These high-value seeds are rich in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates, sweet and nourishing. They thus are important in the diets of many forest animals. They were a dietary staple of Native Americans, as described in William Bartram’s Travels of 1791.
Mockernut Hickory, Big Bud Hickory, White Hickory, Whiteheart Hickory, Hognut, Bullnut
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Mockernut Hickory is the most abundant of the Hickories in its range in the Eastern U.S., and one of the most long-lived, reaching up to 500 years of age. This is a fifty- to one hundred-foot tall, slow-growing tree, with a straight trunk up to three feet across and spreading branches. Trunk bark of adult Mockernut Hickory is dark gray to brown and coarse, with irregular, intertwining furrows. The wood of the Mockernut Hickory (like the other Hickories) is valued for its strength, hardness and flexibility. The toughness of its wood made this tree very important to the Cherokee nation, who used the Mockernut Hickory to make tool handles and arrow shafts. The wood is still used today for a range of implements for the same reasons. Mockernut Hickory produces good crops of relatively large nuts, which are an extremely important food for wildlife. Although the nutmeat is edible and sweet, it is difficult to remove, giving rise to its common name.
Scientific Name: Carya tomentosa (Lam.) Nutt.
Common Names: Mockernut Hickory, Big Bud Hickory, White Hickory, Whiteheart Hickory, Hognut, Bullnut
Chinquapin (Chinkapin), Allegheny Chinquapin (Chinkapin), Dwarf Chestnut, Bush Chestnut
Allegheny Chinquapin is a colonial, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree usually around 15 feet tall, taller if grown with single stem or cultivated with little competition. It is native to dry woods and ridges in the Southeastern states, and grows well where summers are hot. It is considered undervalued as a nut tree because its nuts are very sweet and edible, the plants bear nuts early (after only 3-4 seasons) and close to the ground, and they are quite prolific. However, the nuts are sometimes difficult to separate from the burr in which they grow, and also dificult to harvest en masse because they ripen gradually over time, limiting their commercial potential. Consequently, the shrub is valued more as an excellent source of wildlife food and habitat. Small mammals and many bird species feed voraciously on the nuts and the low lateral branches and suckering shoots offer cover for Wild Turkey and Grouse. Closely related to the American Chestnut, it is less susceptible to the Chestnut Blight but not totally resistant. Trees can more often than not recover, but are susceptible to the blight. For this reason it is less often planted by land managers, exacerbating the problem of habitat loss to development. We highly recommend Chinquapin for wildlife, if not for formal landscaping.
Scientific Name: Castanea pumila (L.) Mill.
Common Names: Chinquapin (Chinkapin), Allegheny Chinquapin (Chinkapin), Dwarf Chestnut, Bush Chestnut
Catalpa, Southern Catalpa, Cigar Tree, American Catalpa, Bean Tree, Indian Bean Tree, Catawba, Caterpillar Tree, Cigar Tree, Eastern Catalpa, Fish Bait Tree, Fisherman's Tree, Indian Cigar, Katalpa, Lady Cigar, Shawnee Wood, Smoking Bean, and Worm Tree.
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Southern Catalpa is a medium-sized (twenty-five to forty feet, sometimes taller) highly ornamental tree bearing large, heart-shaped leaves and strikingly beautiful flowers after about 6 years of age. The leaves are barely expanded in summer when the flowers appear, great numbers of trumpet-shaped, creamy white flowers speckled with bright gold and purple. The flowers develop into very long, slender, pendulous seed pods, which provide considerable visual interest in fall/winter. Southern Catalpa is used as an ornamental tree (think: substitute for the invasive Powlonia!) but not as a street tree as it is somewhat messy, dropping all those spent flowers. It prefers moist soil and full sun. In the South, the leaves may be stripped by the Catawba Sphinx caterpillar, but it releafs easily and the Catawba worm serves as fish bait! The species originated in a narrow geographical band across the Gulf states, but has naturalized along the entire Eastern U.S. as well as some western states and Canada. Having the showiest flowers of any native American tree, it has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Scientific Name: Catalpa bignonioides Walter
Common Names: Catalpa, Southern Catalpa, Cigar Tree, American Catalpa, Bean Tree, Indian Bean Tree, Catawba, Caterpillar Tree, Cigar Tree, Eastern Catalpa, Fish Bait Tree, Fisherman's Tree, Indian Cigar, Katalpa, Lady Cigar, Shawnee Wood, Smoking Bean, and Worm Tree.
New Jersey Tea, Redroot, Jersey Tea Ceanothus, Mountain Sweet, and Wild Snowball
New Jersey tea is a compact, deciduous shrub that most often grows to only three feet tall and equally wide. It is common on dry plains, prairies, or similar open areas, on soils that are sandy or rocky, throughout Eastern North America and in the majority of NC counties. Leaves are deep green, serrated, broadly ovate and pointed. The foliage is aromatic, and the common name recalls its use as a tea-substitute in Revolutionary War days. The pure bright white flowers of New Jersey Tea, oval clusters of many tiny flowers, are also fragrant, and showy, occurring in clusters. Requiring little maintenance, New Jersey Tea will thrive in well-drained soil in sun or partial shade and can tolerate drier conditions once established due to its deep, red root system. These deep roots also make the plant difficult to transplant, however. New Jersey Tea is a larval food source for the mottled Dusky-wing, and Spring Azure Butterfly and attracts hummingbirds as well.
Scientific Name: Ceanothus americanus L.
Common Names: New Jersey Tea, Redroot, Jersey Tea Ceanothus, Mountain Sweet, and Wild Snowball
Buttonbush is an open, woody, deciduous shrub usually 5-8' tall (sometimes taller), with an irregular crown graced with many white, golf ball-sized, spherical flower clusters in June. The shrub is very ornamental, and the white, long lasting, pin-cushion like flowers are more often than not being visited by enthusiastic butterflies and/or bees. It is semi-aquatic. Although common, therefore, in wet habitats of the Eastern U.S. such as swamps, floodplains, pocosins and pond edges, even in standing water, Buttonbush can be cultivated in an upland garden setting with consistently moist but well drained soil as well. Seeds persist in attractive, compact balls into winter, providing food for various birds. Buttonbush flowers most prolifically in full sun and is tolerant of a range of circumneutral soils. It profits from hard pruning as flowers occur on new growth.
Scientific Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis L.
Common Names: Button Bush, Button Willow, Honey Bells
Eastern Redbud is a lovely, small, (15-20 feet tall x 15-20 feet across) understory tree occurring along streams and wet bottoms as well as on dry slopes and ridges in the Piedmont and some of the mountain counties of the Carolinas. Eastern Redbud is deciduous, very hardy (tough as nails) and highly ornamental. It is especially noted for its striking, rosy, pea-like flowers emerging in clusters on bare, grayish branches - and even on the trunks - before the foliage emerges in spring. And the flowers are edible! They develop later into pendulous, leguminous pods about 4-5 inches long which persist into winter. Leaves are alternate, simple, heart-shaped and pleasing. Branches are gracefully arching. The cultivars of Redbud selected for unusual color seem always to disappoint compared with the subtle hues of the native trees in their breathtaking spring display.
Atlantic White Cedar, Southern White-cedar, White-cedar, Swamp-cedar, False-cypress
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
The majestic Atlantic White Cedar is actually a Cypress, not a Cedar. It is a medium-to-large (50-ft), coniferous, evergreen, wetland tree well known for the excellent quality of its light, strong wood. Its range is coastal (less than 200 feet elevation) from southern Maine to northern Florida and a disjunct population occurs in coastal Mississippi and Alabama. The bluish-green foliage of the Atlantic White Cedar is softer than that of Red Cedar. The seed cones are small and roundish. Historically the wood has been in great demand as a material for boat-building, shingles, siding, and any product that would be in contact with water. Commercially over-harvested for years for its high quality timber, efforts are now underway to restore White Cedar in freshwater coastal areas from Maine to Georgia and the Gulf Coast. In the Carolinas, White Cedar stands are still found in in bogs in coastal and Sand Hills swamp forests. Atlantic White Cedar will grow nicely in upland sites and bear seeds, but a high water table is necessary for the tree to spread. It is not adapted to fire.
Fringe Tree, Flowering Ash, Grandfather Graybeard, Grancy Graybeard, Greybeard, Old Man's Beard, Snowflower Tree, White Fringetree,
Found in moist woods, stream banks, limestone glades and rocky bluffs from Virginia south to East Texas, Fringe Tree is an outstanding ornamental shrub or small tree (twelve to twenty feet) well adapted to our climate in the Carolina piedmont. It thrives in moist, fertile, well-drained soils in full sun to partial shade. The masses of fragrant flowers are extremely showy, frilly white and delicate, appearing in late April to early May just before or with the foliage. Fringe Tree is dioecious (separate male and female plants), with the male flowers very slightly more showy than the female. However, the female plants sport attractive, bluish-black, olive-like fruit in clusters in the late summer, attracting birds such as Cardinals, Bluebirds, Mockingbirds, Woodpeckers. In addition, the foliage hosts many butterfly and moth larvae (caterpillars), including several Sphinxes. Fringe tree has no serious pest or disease problems. With the decline of our beloved Dogwood, Frige Tree is being called upon to provide bright white flowers on a small tree form in suburban landscapes. It is very useful in urban plantings as it is tolerant of air pollution.
Scientific Name: Chionanthus virginicus L.
Common Names: Fringe Tree, Flowering Ash, Grandfather Graybeard, Grancy Graybeard, Greybeard, Old Man's Beard, Snowflower Tree, White Fringetree,
Southern Green-and-Gold, Gulf Coast Green-and-Gold, Golden Knees, Golden Star
Green-and-Gold, of which there are several forms, is a hardy, low-growing, long-blooming herbaceous perennial found along woodland edges and clearings on the East coast from New York south to Florida and west to Louisiana. With attractive, semi-evergreen foliage, bright yellow 1.5-inch daisy-like flowers on fuzzy stalks for much of the growing season, and an unfussy attitude about soils (as long as they are well drained), Green-and-Gold is considered a work horse in the native garden. Wiith sufficient even moisture, it can take full sun but prefers protection, especially in the afternoon, and grows best in dappled or morning sun. Leaves are opposite, oval and softly pubescent with a crenate (round-toothed) margin. Flowering peaks in May, decreasing in the heat of summer and then flowering again late in the season. Weakley presents this form as Chrysogonum australe, a separate species (others consider it a natural variety of C. virginianum). It is found in Northern and central Georgia through the Florida panhandle to some counties in southern Alabama and Mississippi ("australe" means "southern"). It's growth form is distinctly stoloniferous, with flowering stalks only 4-5 inches high, the stolons (above-ground rhizomes) up to 2 feet. 'Eco-Laquered Spider' is a cultivar of C. australe, and it is easily grown as a successful, attractive groundcover on its own or as a base for larger plants. The USDA plant distribution map linked below is for the variety australe.
Scientific Name: Chrysogonum australe Alexander ex Small, synonym Chrysogonum virginianum L. var. australe (Alexander ex Small) H.E. Ahles
Common Names: Southern Green-and-Gold, Gulf Coast Green-and-Gold, Golden Knees, Golden Star
Green-and-gold is a hardy, low-growing, long-blooming herbaceous perennial found along woodland edges and clearings on the East coast from New York south to Florida and west to Louisiana. With attractive, semi-evergreen foliage, bright yellow 1.5-inch star-like flowers on fuzzy stalks for much of the growing season, and an unfussy attitude about soils (as long as they are well drained), Green-and-Gold is considered a work horse in the native garden. Wiith sufficient even moisture, it can take full sun but prefers protection, especially in the afternoon, and grows best in dappled or morning sun. Leaves are opposite, oval and softly pubescent with a crenate (round-toothed) margin. Flowering peaks in May, decreasing in the heat of summer and then flowering again late in the season. There are 3 forms of this plant (see "Habit"). This one, the natural variety C. virginianum virginianum is the most northerly of these three forms. Twelve to fourteen inches in height, it is considered a groundcover if planted closely, but this form is upright, not stoloniferous. It spreads by seeds, though offsets are easily divided for transplant. The USDA plant distribution map linked below is for virginianum.
Scientific Name: Chrysogonum virginianum L.
Common Names: Green-and-Gold, Golden Knee, Golden Star
Maryland Goldenaster is a Southeastern short-lived herbaceous perennial about 2.5 feet tall which occurs on roadsides, in dry, open, rocky woods and sandhills throughout NC. It thrives in full sun and well drained soils and is considered drought tolerant. Each plant is short-lived, but persists in the garden by seeding out and/or producing new plants at the ends of short rhizomes. Early on there is a basal rosette of spatula-shaped leaves, followed in late summer through fall by stems with small, alternate, sessile leaves and silky hairs which tend to disappear as the season progresses. Flowers are borne in terminal clusters, with both disk and ray flowers bright golden yellow. Honored in 2018 as the NC Botanical Garden's Wildflower of the Year! May be included in fire-managed plantings. Asteraceae family.
In North Carolina, Yellowwood is found only in a few of our western-most counties bordering Tennessee, and is among the rarest of our native trees. It is thirty to fifty feet high and nearly that wide at maturity and is prized as an ornamental for its form, for its smooth, Beech-like bark, pendulous strands of very showy, strongly fragrant, white, leguminous flowers in late spring, and its excellent yellow or orange leaf coloration which it often - but not always - shows in the fall. An important feature is its low-branching form, with zigzag stems, but pruning is recommended in early years to improve a tendency for poor branch angle development. The tree will flower when 8-10 years old, with a spectacular display, and will flower heavily every second or third season thereafter. Yellowwood grows at a medium rate and is tolerant of wide pH range. It is deeply rooted (& drought tolerant). It is named for the color of its freshly cut wood. Yellowwood won a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Award in 1994. And, the Society of Municipal Arborists selected Yellowwood as its Urban Tree of the Year for 2015.
Scientific Name: Cladrastis kentukea (Dumont de Courset) Rudd
Common Names: Kentucky Yellow Wood, Yellow Wood, Gopherwood, Virgillia
Leatherflower, described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, is a belle of the Southeast. This slender, herbaceous perennial vine is valued for its sheer delicate beauty. The nodding, reddish-purple, bell-shaped flowers are thickly textured and the rosy, recurved petals are cream-colored at the tips and inside. But they do more -- the flowers attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies and then mature to become beautiful, dramatic seed heads for birds to enjoy. In nature, it grows along wood edges and stream banks under tree canopies from Pennsylvania to Missouri and south to Georgia and Mississippi. In the garden, it climbs - by tendrils - to a mere 10 to 12 ft in bright shade with average soil moisture, adaptable and easy to grow. Any stems remaining from the previous season can be cut to the ground, as all the flowering will come on the new growth in late spring and summer. The achenes with their feathery tails extend the attractiveness of the vine into the fall.
Scientific Name: Clematis viorna L.
Common Names: Leatherflower, Vasevine, Northern Leatherflower
'Ruby Spice' is a cultivar of one of our most beautiful native shrubs, Clethra alnifolia or Sweet Pepperbush. They are deciduous shrubs of medium stature with rich, dark green foliage, and flowers with head-turning, sensuous, honey-sweet scent in mid- to late-summer when few other shrubs are flowering. The flowers of 'Ruby Spice', however, are a rich rose/pink rather than the bright white of C. alnifolia. They are upright panicles 3.5-4 inches tall, and hold their color well. 'Ruby Spice' is a little shorter than C. alnifolia (4-6 feet x 3-5 feet) and spreads a bit less aggressively. Both thrive in moist, slightly acid soils and can even tolerate wet conditions. Growth is most vigorous in full sun (if kept moist), but the foliage benefits from some shade, which causes the leaves to be deeper green and more lush. Flowering also occurs in part shade (and some say, even in full shade). Like C. alnifolia species, 'Ruby Spice' attracts butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators in abundance. Fall color is a good strong yellow to honey brown. It does not appear to have any serious insect or disease problems, and is even reported to be deer resistant. A beautiful shrub for foundation plantings, shrub borders, natural areas near ponds or streams, rain gardens, or in mixed hedges. Planted near a patio, though, its butterflies, hummingbirds and wonderful scent will be all the closer. The USDA plant distribution map linked below is for the species.
Sixteen Candles' Clethra is a more compact cultivar of Clethra alnifolia, a wet-tolerant and beautiful coastal shrub all along the eastern seaboard and southern coastal states. Like the species, 'Sixteen Candles' is long-blooming, having sweet-fragrant flowers in the heat of the summer against a rich, medium-to-dark green foliage. But the plant is much more compact (2-3 feet x 2-3 feet) than the species and the flowers as upright as the cultivar name implies. These flowers attract many kinds of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, and the dry peppercorn-like seeds attract birds in winter. Ideal light conditions include dappled sun or morning sun and afternoon shade, but it can tolerate full sun with sufficient moisture, and full shade (with fewer flowers) as well. Fall coloration is a generally attractive gold and mottled honey brown. Ideal soil conditions are moist, well drained, acidic, organically amended soil, but it is not really fussy. Well established plants can tolerate short drought periods. If pruning is desired, the best time would be late winter since flowers occur on new growth. 'Sixteen Candles' is not burdened with insect/disease problems and is reported to be deer resistant. It performs well in a shrub/perennial border or woodland garden, and being rhizomatous and tolerant of soggy soils, it would be a fitting choice for stream bank stabilization, rain gardens, or pond-side natural areas. 'Sixteen Candles' (and 'Ruby Spice') have garnered the RHS Award of Garden Merit. The USDA plant distribution map linked below is for the species.
Coastal Sweet Pepperbush, Clethra, Summersweet, White Alder
Sweet Pepperbush is a beautiful, multi-stemmed woody shrub native to our East coast from Nova Scotia and Maine down to Florida and over to Texas. In NC it is found in swamps and moist woods on the coastal plain and outer piedmont. Clethra is rhizomatous by nature, and if allowed, can form colonies between five and seven feet high. Like many plants that tolerate the wet conditions of swamps, Clethra is hardy and thrives trouble-free in upland gardens as well. Walking past in mid-summer one is struck by the delightful, heady scent of the bright white flowers and the audible buzz of pollinators. The flowers form on new growth and flower heads develop into peppercorn-like seeds reflected in the common name. In fall, the foliage is bright yellow and soft honey brown. Grows in full sun; foliage is more attractive in part shade. Named by Linnaeus himself, and selected Wildflower of the Year for 2015 by the Virginia Native Plant Society.
Scientific Name: Clethra alnifolia L.
Common Names: Coastal Sweet Pepperbush, Clethra, Summersweet, White Alder
Blue Mistflower is a shrub-like herbaceous perennial native to the south-central and eastern portions the U.S. In NC, is is present in most non-mountainous counties. Growing two to three feet tall and as wide, it has opposite, triangular-shaped leaves and masses of tiny, whimsical, fluffy, bright blue-purple disc flowers in clusters, totally lacking in ray flowers. It stays in bloom through most of the hottest part of summer and well into fall. Blue Mistflower spreads by rhizomes and can be aggressive in the right (or wrong) growing conditions. It should be divided in early spring to control its spread if grown in a perennial border, but it can be allowed to spead as a groundcover in a less controlled siting. It grows well in full sun, with sufficient moisture, but in our experience it tends to stay in bloom longer if given partial shade. Formerly called Eupatorium coelestinum.
Scientific Name: Conoclinium coelestinum (L.) DC.
Common Names: Blue Mistflower, Hardy Ageratum, Blue Boneset
Coreopsis auriculata, or "Mouse-eared Coreopsis", is a sun-loving favorite for the native perennial garden in the Southeast. The flowers are single, about 2 inches across, with a center of golden disk flowers and 8 golden, characteristically toothed petals or ray flowers. They are held at 12 - 24 inches high, well above a deep green mat of foliage which remains green in the winter. 'Nana' is a short cultivar with flowers topping out at 9 or 10 inches. Basal and stem leaves are simple, hairy, ovate, about 3" long, and some of them have small, lateral lobes at their base reminding someone of mouse ears. Butterflies are drawn to the flowers April to June, and a few weeks later, when the disk flowers have developed into seeds, birds begin to visit as well. The plant spreads by way of stolons. 'Nana' seeds are said to be fewer in number than the species, and the new plants would revert to the species in height, so 'Nana' should be propagated by clump division in spring or from stolon sprouts. These are a favorite in the South because they thrive in our heat and humidity. The USDA plant distribution map linked below is for the species.
Scientific Name: Coreopsis auriculata (L) 'Nana'
Common Names: Dwarf Tickseed, Dwarf Lobed Tickseed, Dwarf Mouse-eared Coreopsis, Dwarf Eared Coreopsis, Dwarf Early Coreopsis
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Lance-leaf Coreopsis or Lance-leaf Tickseed, is a perennial wildflower 2-3 feet tall with striking golden 2-3-inch flowers characteristic of the genus, that is, with about 8 notched sterile ray flowers surrounding a center of many fertile, yellow disk flowers. The flowers are held on vertical stalks above a mat of evergreen foliage. The fertile disk flowers develop into small, flat-ish brown, winged seeds ("tick" like).The plant is naturally found in rocky prairies, glades, bluffs, sandy open ground, roadsides, railroads. It is a popular garden plant because: the flowers are strikingly beautiful; it is very dependable and prolifically flowering; because it has few problems with insects or disease; because it will thrive in conditions of high heat, drought and humidity; and because it draws butterflies, bees and birds to the garden. It prefers full sun and moist, well drained soil, and may sprawl a bit if planted in overly rich or moist garden soil. This is a short-lived perennial which readily self-seeds, traits which make it a great candidate for a meadow or wild garden. The tendency to seed so readily has unfortunately earned this species and high place on the Japanese invasive plant list.
Scientific Name: Coreopsis lanceolata L.
Common Names: Lance-leaf Coreopsis, Sand Coreopsis
Silky Dogwood, Red Willow, Silky Cornel, Squawbush, and Indigo Dogwood.
Silky Dogwood is a hardy, spreading shrub that grows in moist habitats, mostly by stream banks and wet lowlands in the eastern U.S. While attractive, its ability to draw wildlife to it is also a very strong attribute. It is a medium-size shrub, growing up to ten feet tall and wide, adaptable to a wide range of sun, water and soil conditions. It will colonize from runners, if allowed to, and low branches touching the soil can even root in. The young stems are reddish and turn gray as they mature. Leaves are single, opposite, ovate, pointed, with the curved veins typical of the genus. Two-inch, flat-topped clusters of small, white flowers bloom in May and June followed by dainty indigo-colored fruit in September. Silky Dogwood is an excellent choice for a moist, naturalized area close to windows or frequently visited sites as it attracts a very broad range of birds to feed on its caterpillars in summer and its fruit in fall.
Scientific Name: Cornus amomum Mill.
Common Names: Silky Dogwood, Red Willow, Silky Cornel, Squawbush, and Indigo Dogwood.
American Hazelnut is a medium-sized, deciduous shrub found in moist to dry-mesic woodlands throughout Eastern North America. It is notably absent in the deep South. In North Carolina it is reported only in piedmont and mountain counties. This shrub is valued for its sweet nuts, which are edible either raw or used in cooking, its fall foliage colors, which range from reds and oranges to purple and yellow, and for its all around excellent wildlife value. It is 12-15 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide, colonial in nature, and recognizable by the nuts encased in a leafy husk. It is sun-loving and will thrive in a wide variety of soils if they are well drained. Although it will grow in partial shade, the nut production and fall foliage display will both suffer some. Densely branched with large, doubly serrated leaves, American Hazelnut provides excellent cover for a variety of small animals and habitat for songbirds. The foliage supports an array of insects and larvae of butterflies and moths as well as browse by deer and rabbits. The nuts are favored by game birds such as Bobwhites and Ruffed Grouse. Being colonial, it is best used as a hedge or screen or in a natural area where this trait serves as an asset rather than a maintenance item.
Titi, Swamp Cyrilla, Swamp Titi, Littleleaf Titi, He-Huckleberry, Leatherwood, Red Titi, White Titi, Black Titi, Palo Colorado
Swamp Titi is an extremely interesting and underused shrub or small tree for our area. It grows to perhaps 20 feet (more often 12-15 feet) and can be described as having both lustrous evergreen or tardily deciduous leaves and colorful fall foliage! Its trunk(s) and branches are very nicely contorted, with cinnamon-colored bark (maturing to grayish, exfoliating), and it puts on a long-lasting, stunning floral display in the summer, followed by seeds attractive to birds. In the Southern U.S., it is found in swamps. bogs, pocosins, wet places in the piedmont and coastal plains from Virginia around to Texas and is associated with Bald Cypress, Pond Cypress, Tupelos, Sweetbays, Redbays and Atlantic White Cedar. But its range extends much further, through the Caribbean to Central and northern South America. In these tropical places the trees are much taller, and evergreen. We have collected seeds from shrubs/trees growing in thickets or colonies pond-side in the Sandhills. Like many plants originating in wet places, Titi grows well in upland soils as well. This is a beautiful plant.
Scientific Name: Cyrilla racemiflora L.
Common Names: Titi, Swamp Cyrilla, Swamp Titi, Littleleaf Titi, He-Huckleberry, Leatherwood, Red Titi, White Titi, Black Titi, Palo Colorado
Dutchman's Breeches is a shade-loving, spring ephemeral wildflower found in undisturbed mesic woods of most of the eastern U.S. In NC it is reported to occur in several mountain and piedmont counties, including our own Chatham County. Averaging six to ten inches tall, it has a basal rosette of finely-divided leaves spreading several inches across. From the center of this base the flower stalk arises, a semi-erect raceme of two to six dangling pairs of white, upside-down breeches-shaped flowers with yellow tips. As a spring ephemeral, the plant blooms early and goes dormant during the hot part of the summer. It forms colonies in the woods as its seeds are spread by ants (see below). Being delicate and pretty, this is a favorite shade garden plant, and can be propagated from bulblets on the roots. It is called Dutchman's Breeches because the flowers are thought to resemble the uniform of the Dutch imperial solider, hanging out to dry.
Georgia or Mountain Bush Honeysuckle, 'Troja Black' Mountain Bush Honeysuckle, Hairy Bush Honeysuckle
Mountain or Georgia Bush Honeysuckle is a selection of our native Bush Honeysuckle, a small shrub endemic to our southern Appalachians. This low, spreading shrub (3-4'h x 3-5'w) with an arching habit grows well in full sun to part shade at lower elevations like our Piedmont as well as in the mountains. The foliage emerges with a burgundy tint turning to green, and then becoming purplish in the Fall. From June to August, branches are topped by clusters of bright, lemony-yellow tubular flowers which contrast well against the bronze-tinted foliage, and which attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Spreads by rhizomes. This plant is considered "somewhat threatened" (Nature Conservancy).
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Southern Bush Honeysuckle is a low-growing (3'-5') deciduous shrub native to the Southern Appalachians and Great Smokey Mountains. Its arching stems are square in outline, its leaves opposite, lustrous, medium green, and lance-shaped, with serrated margins. Although it shows only so-so fall coloration, it has other valuable traits: It is attractive for its clean foliage and its sweet, yellow blooms in high summer. It is rhizomatous, fast-growing and very tough. It can take both very cold and hot/dry/sunny conditions in stride as well as a wide range of soil pH. Thus it is an ideal groundcover for difficult locations such as stabilizing a steep, sunny bank, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds and bees and providing cover for small animals and birds.
Scientific Name: Diervilla sessilifolia Buckley
Common Names: Bush Honeysuckle, Southern Bush Honeysuckle
Common Persimmon, Eastern Persimmon, American Persimmon, Possumwood, American Ebony, White Ebony, Bara-bara, Boa-wood, Butterwood, Possum Apples, Sugar-plum
Eastern persimmon is a lovely small- to medium-sized tree (up to sixty feet tall x thirty feet in spread) with lustrous foliage, dark green in summer and rich golden in fall, and beautiful bark. A member of the Ebony family, it is prized for its high quality, hard heartwood (used to be used for golf club heads) as well as for its abundant, sweet fruit. It is tolerant of a wide variety of growing conditions, and is found in deep, moist alluvial soils of stream bottoms, and also in drier, upland sites of the Piedmont and upper Coastal Plain. The fruit is mouth-puckering tart until the first frost, after which it becomes delicious. The sweet fruits are eaten by a great many birds and mammals as well as by people, and the foliage supports many insects and serves as host for native caterpillars, including the breathtaking luna moth caterpillar. So it is a great food source for people AND a great wildlife plant. Grow it in full sun or part shade, away from sidewalks, and learn to make tantalizing, delicious persimmon-based culinary treats.
Scientific Name: Diospyros virginiana L.
Common Names: Common Persimmon, Eastern Persimmon, American Persimmon, Possumwood, American Ebony, White Ebony, Bara-bara, Boa-wood, Butterwood, Possum Apples, Sugar-plum
Log fern is a fertile, naturally occurring, semi-evergreen hybrid between D. ludoviciana (Southern Shield Fern) and D. goldiana (Goldie's Wood Fern) with a range in central, eastern and southeastern U.S. Log fern grows rapidly with wide, shiny, deeply cut, dark green fronds and dark stripes along the central rib. The sori, the spore-producing structures, are round and are found in a single row on either side of the midrib of the fertile pinnae. One of Log Fern's best features is its vigor. Growing to about 4' ("celsa" means elevated, lofty, erect), Log Fern will thrive in bright shade and prefers soil with high organic matter that is not too dry. It is often seen growing in rotten logs in the woods, hence its common name. In the garden, Log Fern is trouble-free and dependable and contrasts beautifully with its more finely textured neighbors there.
Scientific Name: Dryopteris celsa (Wm. Palmer) Knowlt., Palmer & Pollard ex Small
Marginal Wood Fern is a smallish ( 1.5 - 2 foot high), well behaved, evergreen fern found in shady, rocky slopes in most of eastern U.S. In North Carolina, is is found in mountain counties and a few piedmont counties. It is clump-forming and non-colonizing, propagated by root crown division and by spores.The fiddleheads of Marginal Wood Fern arising in spring are golden brown and furry, expanding into handsome, leathery, deeply green, arching fronds. In the garden it plays very well with wildflowers and offers cover for small critters. Marginal Wood Fern can thrive in both moist/well drained and somewhat dry locations that are shady or semi-shady. The common name of Marginal Wood Fern refers to the location of the sori or spore-containing structures on the very margins of the underside of the fronds.
Purple Coneflower is found naturally in meadows and roadsides throughout the Central U.S. The few western counties of NC where Purple Coneflower is reported to occur consitute the easternmost edge of its natural range at our latitude. However, this plant must be the all-time favorite native wildflower for sunny pollinator gardens and meadows throughout the south. The ray flowers are shades of pink and droop around a protruding spiny dome of coppery-orange disc flowers. Blooms up to four inches across are borne on the tips of strong stems two to four feet tall, which make these wonderful cut flowers. Purple Coneflower provides bold color from May to September, attracting myriads of butterflies and hummingbirds. Although it will seed out, it is not difficult to control. Purple Coneflower is resistant to drought, is low maintenance, and if left in the garden in the fall will provide food for Goldfinches and many other birds.
Scientific Name: Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench
Common Names: Eastern Purple Coneflower, Hedgehog Coneflower
The genus of Scouring Rush Horsetail, or Puzzlegrass, is the only living genus of a class of plants which for over one hundred million years dominated the understory of late Paleozoic forests (Wikipedia)! And Puzzlegrass does, indeed, have a primitive look. It now favors wet areas along railroad embankments, stream banks and roadsides in mountain and piedmont counties of NC as well as the rest of North America. Horsetail is an evergreen, spreading, reed-like perennial with cylindrical, hollow, photosynthetic stems with tiny appressed, residual leaves. The stems are jointed, usually unbranched, with longitudinal ridges. Horsetail grows in full sun to part shade and tolerates total immersion of its roots in water. It spreads aggressively in the shallow edges of water bodies, so it is best cultivated in a pot unless you want it to take over an area. This plant has truly interesting form, and may serve as an accent either at the edge of a pond or upland among other, contrasting leaf forms.
Scientific Name: Equisetum hyemale L.
Common Names: Scouringrush Horsetail, Puzzlegrass, Rough Horsetail
Rattlesnake Master is a forb characteristic of the tall grass prairie but it is native to the eastern portion of the U.S. south of West Virginia. It has unusual form -- some say architectural -- as well as color (greyish green throughout), reminding one of a desert plant. Rattlesnake Master has a heavy crown and tap root, which provide drought-hardiness but which make it difficult to transplant. It is best grown in full sun with well drained soil in a range of pH, like the warm season grasses which are so visually complementary and which can help it remain upright. The dominant leaves, long and strap-like, appear as a basal rosette and are up to 2 ½ feet long, 2 ½ inches across, ("yuccifolium" = leaves like a Yucca plant). This foliage supports one or two 3-5-foot, branched flowering stalks each with 4-5 "button" inflorescences. The stalks and inflorescences are similarly greyish greenish white and fragrant. The button-like inflorescence contains many white, stalkless flowers subtended by spiky, prickly bracts, and the flower head resembles a thistle. It is pollinated by many insects, especially wasps, and it is valuable for supporting insect diversity.
Scientific Name: Eryngium yuccifolium Michx.
Common Names: Rattlesnake Master, Button Eryngo, Button Snake-root, Yucca-leaf Eryngo, Corn Snakeroot, Water-eryngo, Rattlesnake Flag, and Rattlesnake Weed.
Recognized by its paired, green-and-brown/maroon spotted leaves (like trout), the Trout Lily is sometimes called Dogtooth Violet for its white underground corm. Trout Lily is a lily, not a violet. It is a common spring ephemeral wildflower that grows in woodland colonies in Eastern North America, except for Florida. In North Carolina is is found more in piedmont and mountain counties than on the coastal plain. Trout Lily has no stem except for when it flowers and then a single, yellow, nodding, 6-petaled flower appears on the stem. Only plants with 2 basal leaves will produce a flower. Trout Lily attracts numerous bees and insects for its easily accessible nectar. It should thrive in deciduous forest habitat where it can receive sufficient sun in the early spring. Absolutely stunning as a ground cover when a colony is formed.
Sweetbells Leucothoe is a handsome, deciduous, colony-forming, understory shrub which is naturally found in the Coastal Plain and Piedmont swamps, bogs and wetlands of Southeastern states. It can be cultivated easily in upland sites as well, reaching up to ten feet tall in consistently moist and shady locations. Arching, mostly unbranched stems bear bright green, finely serrated leaves and long racemes of delicate, fragrant, urn-shaped flowers. The foliage assumes beautiful red, orange and purple color in fall, unusual for a shady shrub. Although colonial, it is not aggressive and adds a pleasing form and texture to a woodland landscape.
Strawberrybush, or Hearts-a-Bustin', is a unique, rhizomatous shrub with an unusual form that occurs in shady woodlands throughout the Southeast to Eastern Texas. Plants are 4-6 feet tall and multi-stemmed. The individual shoots are pencil-like and green with little branching. Leaves are long (~2 inches), opposite, and lance-shaped, colorful in fall. Most of the season it blends in with plants in woodlands or wood edges, with somewhat inconspicuous 5-parted flowers occurring in late spring. Then in the fall it makes a statement with it's bright orange-to-scarlet berries dangling from warty, pink capsules. It is not a long-lived plant, but spreads easily by rhizomes providing the gardener with ready replacements. Although the berries are not edible by people (a very strong laxative), they support songbirds, wild turkeys and small mammals. Deer do adore to eat the stems and leaves of this plant, so much so that the presence of Strawberrybush is an indicator of low deer pressure.
Scientific Name: Euonymus americanus L.
Common Names: Strawberry-Bush, Hearts-a-Bustin', Brook euonymus, Bursting heart, Wahoo
Boneset, American Boneset, Thoroughwort, Agueweed, Feverwort, Sweating-plant, Indian Sage, Teasel, Vegetable Antimony
Boneset or Thoroughwort is a hardy perennial which is found throughout the Eastern half of North America in sunny, low, wet roadsides and fields. The plant grows three to four feet in height with multiple, hairy stems branched only near the top. These terminate in bright white clusters, up to eight inches across, of ten to twenty aromatic florets. Boneset's leaves are coarse, pointed, and arranged in pairs (opposite arrangement) with the bases joined so that the stem appears to grow through them (perfoliate). It is not fussy about its soil, and spreads by rhizomes as well as by its wind-borne seeds. There are many internet references to Boneset's use as a folk remedy, "probably no plant in American domestic practice having more extensive and frequent use" (Botanical.com). Boneset's flat-topped flowers in August/September attract a wide range of pollinators (bees, moths, butterflies, wasps, beetles) like its famous cousin, Joe-Pye weed, and the leaves are larval food for various Lepidoptera.
Scientific Name: Eupatorium perfoliatum L.
Common Names: Boneset, American Boneset, Thoroughwort, Agueweed, Feverwort, Sweating-plant, Indian Sage, Teasel, Vegetable Antimony
White Wood Aster is a two foot-tall, rhizomatous, drought-tolerant herbaceous perennial which grows in open, dry woods and shady clearings in much of the Eastern U.S., including many mountain and piedmont couties in NC. This plant lights up shady, dry woodland sites with delicate white daisy-like flowers from September to November. The heart-shaped basal leaves make an attractive ground cover in spring and may be cooked and eaten as greens. White Wood Aster is a vigorous plant, even in dry shade, and thus can play an important role in difficult locations. Excellent for wildlife, it attracts butterflies and provides food and nesting material for Juncos, Sparrows and Goldfinches in winter, if left standing after flowering.
Dwarf Joe Pye Weed, Coastal Joe Pye, Joepye Thoroughwort, Three Nerves Joe Pye
Coastal Plain or Dwarf Joe Pye, E. dubium, is a tough, rewarding late-season herbaceous perennial whose family must be represented in the native garden. It is very handsome, the fragrant mauve to pink flowers appearing in cone-shaped clusters on red stems in late summer and lasting through fall, similar in many ways to its famous taller cousin, Eutrochium fistulosum (Joe Pye Weed, up to 8' tall). It's most outstanding garden quality, though, which it shares with its botanical cousins, is its ability to attract amazing numbers of butterflies, especially Swallowtails and Monarchs, during its long flowering from July to September. It grows well in moist, sandy soil with lots of sun but will still flower in shadier areas.
Like so many of our favorite garden plants, the species E. dubium is found in nature in wetlands, ranging from coastal Maine south to South Carolina. It grows 3-5 feet tall x 2-4 feet wide. The cultivar 'Little Joe' (which is a patented plant) is said to grow 3-4 feet tall by 1-3 feet wide. In our experience, height is rather variable with both species and cultivar, depending on light and moisture. 'Little Joe' is also marketed on the basis of a more compact growth habit, greater tolerance for dry soil and resistance to powdery mildew. Either one, E. dubium species or 'Little Joe', allows folks with limited garden space, who are intimidated by the height of the full-sized Joe Pye Weed (E. fistulosum), to support and enjoy the great pollinators down at the height where people can better appreciate them. Dwarf Joe Pye plants combine well with ironweed, goldenrods and native asters. Since cultivars don't have a natural distribution, the USDA plant distribution map linked below is for the species.
Scientific Name: Eutrochium dubium (Willd. ex Poir.) E.E. Lamont cv. 'Little Joe', formerly Eupatorium
Common Names: Dwarf Joe Pye Weed, Coastal Joe Pye, Joepye Thoroughwort, Three Nerves Joe Pye
Joe Pye Weed, Trumpetweed, Queen of the Meadow, Hollow Joe-pye Weed, Purple Thoroughwort, Tall Joe Pye Weed
Joe-Pye Weed is an impressive (six to nine feet), erect, sun-loving perennial which is found mostly in wet thickets and stream margins from Quebec to Texas. Leaves are lance-shaped and whorled around the hollow stem (a diagnostic character for the species). The stems, which are mostly unbranched, are green below with purple markings, turning more uniformly purplish above. The plant is dramatic looking in its color as well as its architectural height. It's mauve, rosy pink, fragrant flowers appear as cone-shaped inflorescences on the purplish stems in late summer. It is excellent for attracting wildlife to the home landscape - birds, bees and butterflies flock to this plant!
Scientific Name: Eutrochium fistulosum (Barratt) E.E. Lamont
Common Names: Joe Pye Weed, Trumpetweed, Queen of the Meadow, Hollow Joe-pye Weed, Purple Thoroughwort, Tall Joe Pye Weed
American Beech, White beech, Red Beech, Ridge Beech, Beechnut tree
American Beech is one of the most beloved trees of Eastern North America, a late-successional tree reported in many counties of NC from the mountains to the coast. It is a medium to large tree, growing usually to 80 feet (but observed also at 100 feet tall or more), and can spread between 40 to 70 feet. The bark is very smooth, silver gray, with occasional characteristic lesions. American beech can be easily identified in the winter by its bark, its elongated, pointy vegetative buds with overlapping scales, and its tendency to hold its leaves well into the winter on the juvenile parts of the tree (proximal stems). Beechnuts are edible by people and constitute an important part of the diet of a large number of mammals and birds. Trees usually begin bearing seeds at around 40 years, with a total life span of more like 300 years. American Beech leaves are oval, bright green and shiny in summer, turning shades of gold in fall. It is a climax species that grows slowly underneath an overstory of conifers or hardwoods, eventually ascending into the overstory. Suckering is an important part of its reproductive strategy in the wild.
Scientific Name: Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.
Common Names: American Beech, White beech, Red Beech, Ridge Beech, Beechnut tree
Dwarf Fothergilla is a marvelous, slow-growing, deciduous shrub typically about three feet tall at maturity. In nature it is found in bogs (pocosins) and moist lowlands and savannahs in coastal areas of the Southeast from North Carolina to the Florida panhandle and Alabama. The soft, white bottle brush inflorescences are strongly and wonderfully fragrant and attract both honey bees and butterflies. It is monoecious, with tiny, apetalous male and female flowers present in the inflorescence, but only the male flowers having showy parts. Dwarf Fothergilla flowers appear in April and May, conspicuous on the bare stems before the leaves emerge. In the fall, Dwarf Fothergilla has startlingly beautiful red, orange and yellow foliage (especially if grown in full sun), and in the winter, a twiggy, interesting form. Fruit is inconspicuous. In cultivation, Dwarf Fothergilla thrives in acidic, well drained but continually moist soil. It thrives in full or part sun if moisture is maintained, but can adapt to drier sites if shaded. It can form a colony, but is easily controlled if new plants are not welcome. This is an outstanding ornamental shrub.
Scientific Name: Fothergilla gardenii L.
Common Names: Dwarf Witchalder, Dwarf Fothergilla, Coastal Fothergilla
Ben Franklin Tree, Franklinia, Franklintree, Mountain Bay
One reason the Ben Franklin tree is grown is because it is attractive: fragrant, 3-inch flowers with delicate white petals and thick, bushy golden stamens, and foliage that is handsome, with outstanding fall coloration (red, purple, orange). But mostly it is grown because it is rare and has a great story. In colonial days, John Bartram, the king's official botanist for the colonies, came across a stand of this small, ornamental tree on the banks of the Altamaha River in Georgia. He and one of his sons, William, grew this tree in their garden in Philadelphia (America's first botanical garden), and named the tree after a friend of the family, Ben Franklin. The tree has been documented to occur naturally nowhere else than these few acres next to the river, and disappeared even from there in the early 19th century. So all of the living specimens of this species are descended from the collections of the Bartrams. "They" say the Ben Franklin tree is easier to grow in a pot than in soil, and happier in the north than in the south where it was native. It can be finicky, preferring well drained sandy soil with lots of irrigation in dry times, susceptible to root rot, but when it is happy it is happy and a treat to look at. Skinny if grown as a single stem, it is quite full and impressive when grown multi-stemmed, flowering from July into fall, even as the foliage is turning colorful. It is in the Theaceae, along with Camellias, Gordonia, and Stewartias.
Scientific Name: Franklinia alatamaha W. Bartram ex Marshall Synonyms: Gordonia alatamaha, Gordonia pubescens
Common Names: Ben Franklin Tree, Franklinia, Franklintree, Mountain Bay
Carolina Jessamine is a vigorous, evergreen, high-climbing woody vine native from Virginia to Florida, west to East Texas and down into Central America. It is a staple ornamental in the south because it has bright golden, fragrant flowers attractive to bees, butterflies and birds, including hummingbirds. Jassamine is a twining vine, 10-20' high, or if unsupported it will cover the ground in bushy mounds. Growing on the ground it does not seem to flower (a plant physiologist's graduate degree project!) but high in the trees along the roadsides or climbing a fence in the back yard in very early spring and sporadically thereafter, it is a delightful sight. Hardy and trouble free, it flowers profusely in the sun. However, be aware that all parts of this plant are toxic to humans, and also to European honeybees.
Spotted Geranium, Wild Geranium, Wood Geranium, Cranesbill, Alum Root, Alum Bloom and Old Maid's Nightcap.
Wild Geraniums are beautiful wild flowers of Eastern North America, reported to occur mostly in mountain and piedmont counties of the Carolinas. The plant is a clump-forming mound about 2 feet high, with generous, deeply lobed foliage topped by delicate, 5-petaled, upward-facing, pink flowers in late spring/early summer. Easy to grow in sunny, well watered locations or in part shade, Wild Geranium is a wonderfull plant for adding lush foliage and sweet color, as an individual specimin or in a natralized garden. It will slowly spread by rhizomes, as well as by seeds which are projected vigorously away from the mother plant when ripe. Wild Geranium attracts bees and butterflies to its nectar, and the foliage is also and important host for several species of moths.
Scientific Name: Geranium maculatum L.
Common Names: Spotted Geranium, Wild Geranium, Wood Geranium, Cranesbill, Alum Root, Alum Bloom and Old Maid's Nightcap.
Witchhazel Witch-hazel, American Witch-hazel, Common Witch-hazel, Winterbloom, Snapping Hazelnut, Striped Alder, Spotted Alder, Tobacco-wood, Water-witch
Common Witchhazel is a deciduous shrub 12-18' tall, and sometimes taller, famous for producing its aromatic, crinkly yellow flowers as it drops its foliage in late October/early November. Seeds from the previous season are ready for dispersal at the same time, and are expelled with some force from their capsules. Witchhazel can be single-stemmed with a trunk up to 1 foot across, or have several somewhat twisted basal stems, forming an irregular open crown. It occurs throughout eastern North America, from Nova Scotia to Florida and from the Great Lakes to eastern Texas. Early settlers learned from Native Americans how to use forked limbs of the Witchhazel as dowsing or divining rods, a practice that persists into our science-dominated era. Also, the bark is still gathered in large quantities in the Southern Appalachians, as the source for witchhazel liniment. But this interesting shrub is grown most often because of its spark of fresh, bright yellow flowers at a moment when all else of color has faded from the woods. Witchhazel is an understory plant and greatly prefers rich, moist soils in dappled sunlight, as on a north-facing slope, though full light can stimulate more flowering if soil moisture is sufficient.
Scientific Name: Hamamelis virginiana L.
Common Names: Witchhazel Witch-hazel, American Witch-hazel, Common Witch-hazel, Winterbloom, Snapping Hazelnut, Striped Alder, Spotted Alder, Tobacco-wood, Water-witch
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Purple-Headed Sneezeweed is a winning native perennial, found in wet, sunny habitats in the Eastern half of the U.S. In NC, it is reported to occur in scattered counties in the mountains, piedmont and coastal plain. It is popular because the flowers are charming in the garden or the naturalized meadow as well as in flower arrangements. Their spherical or thimble--shaped brown/purple flower centers, surrounded by gracefully drooping, bright yellow petals (resembling a lady's skirt), occur at the tops of the winged stems. It is easily distinguished from other members of the Asteraceae by its spherical or thimble-shaped brown/purple center of disk florets, the 3-lobed, drooping ray florets, and the highly winged stems. Sneezeweed is happiest grown in full sun when the soil is well-moistened, but not highly fertilized. Even in full sun and lean soil, it benefits from being cut back in early summer to make it a sturdier and more floriferous plant. Purple-Headed Sneezeweed will stay in bloom from mid-summer to early fall, about 2 months, attracting butterflies and birds to its nectar and seeds. We had to look up why its called Sneezeweed: apparently the dried stem and leaves can be crushed into a powder and used as snuff.
Scientific Name: Helenium flexuosum Raf.
Common Names: Helen's Flower, Purple-Headed Sneezeweed, Purple Sneezeweed, Purplehead Sneezeweed
Swamp Sunflower is a clump-forming, upright, late-blooming perennial sunflower -- the latest flowering of the sunflowers (October and even November). It is found in bottomlands, swamps, and other natural wet habitats as well as in disturbed wet areas, on roadsides and in ditches. It thrives in full sun in moist soils -- but it can also withstand drought. In the garden, Swamp Sunflower is handsome, growing to a lofty 6 to 8 feet with attractive, roughly textured, threadlike foliage. The species, native to central and eastern U.S., is found in piedmont and coastal counties of NC. Although the flowers are not huge like some Helianthus sunflowers, there are a great many of them, and they attract a whole range of lively pollinators and then birds to consume the seeds. The flowers of the cultivar 'Mellow Yellow' are slightly smaller and of an unusual, softer and gentler yellow than the species, a different slant on fall color in the garden. Being such a late bloomer, the hue of 'Mellow Yellow' plays against the blues and purples of Climbing Aster, (Ampelaster caroliniana) and the Aromatic asters (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium), as well as the flaming fall foliage of woody shrubs such as Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) and the pink of Muhlenbergia. Gorgeous!
Scientific Name: Helianthus angustifolius L. 'Mellow Yellow'
Common Names: Swamp Sunflower, Narrowleaf Sunflower, Mountain Daisy
Heuchera, or Alumroot, or Coral Bells is a wonderful, low, evergreen perennial with beautiful foliage which remains attractive year 'round if its cultural requirements are met. It does flower, but is often grown purely for its rich, patterned foliage which shows a wide array of leaf colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes. The flowers are not strikingly showy, but they do add a touch of airiness to the feel. Well spaced (18"), Heuchera serves as a ground cover, especially along borders, and will add a lush texture to any shade garden. Leaf coloration is best with more sun, but in the heat of our piedmont climate some shade, particularly in the afternoon, is necessary to prevent scorching. Overall, it grows best in part shade or filtered sun, in moist, well drained, humus-rich soil. Plants require good drainage and tolerate drought and rocky soils. It is a tidy plant, and looks great in a container on the deck. The plant is native to central and eastern North America and in NC, grows mostly in mountain and piedmont counties.
Scarlet Rosemallow, Red Hibiscus, Swamp Hibiscus, Texas Star Hibiscus, Crimson Rosemallow, Wild Red Mallow
Although Scarlet Rosemallow in nature grows in wet places (the Wetland Indicator Status is "Obligate"), this herbaceous perennial thrives in upland gardens, and should be invited to do so! Adjectives such as "statuesque" and "architectural" come to mind. If given a sufficiently large sunny space, Rosemallow will express its full natural form with several sturdy upright stems up to 8 feet tall when mature, bearing dark green, palmately 3-5-lobed, marijuana look-alike leaves and stunning, 6-inch, deeply red blooms. The flowers are both vibrantly red and delicate, with exserted, showy stamens. They last but a day -- but new buds continue to open daily over a long bloom season, late summer/early fall. Found in ditches and wet habitats in coastal plane Virginia to Florida and over to Louisiana and Arkansas.
Scientific Name: Hibiscus coccineus Walter
Common Names: Scarlet Rosemallow, Red Hibiscus, Swamp Hibiscus, Texas Star Hibiscus, Crimson Rosemallow, Wild Red Mallow
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
The Halberdleaf Rosemallow is a big (3-6 feet), wet-loving herbacious perennial found in a few coastal and piedmont counties in NC but which is much more common in the Mississippi River valley and midwestern states. The plant consists of several glabrous, round, largely unbranched stems rising from the crown, with beautiful 5-inch blooms that are white to pale pink with a deep maroon throat, and a prominent central stalk bearing both male and female parts. Flowers open daily from below to above, blooming from mid-summer to fall, supporting hummers, bees and insects of many types. The common name refers to the presence of halberd-, or dagger- shaped 3-lobed leaves alternately arranged on the stem. Like the other Hibiscus' which are found in wet places, these plants thrive in moist well drained upland gardens in full sun.
Scientific Name: Hibiscus laevis All.
Common Names: Halberdleaf Rosemallow, Smooth Rosemallow, Halberd-leaved Marsh-mallow, Showy Hibiscus
Crimson-eyed Rosemallow is a robust wetland herbaceous perennial native to most of Eastern North America up to New York. It is shrub-like, with multiple, unbranched stems 3-7' in height. Large, single flowers occur in upper leaf axils, with delicate petals ranging from white to pink but always with a maroon "eye". Individual flowers are only open a single day, but they continue to open daily for a long season and are followed by attractive seed capsules. Crimson-eyed Rosemallow grows well in full sun to partial shade and in soils ranging from upland garden soil to very wet. It can be pruned mid-season for a shorter flower display. It attracts long-tongued bees, hummingbirds and a variety of butterflies and moths to the garden.
Scientific Name: Hibiscus moscheutos L. ssp. moscheutos
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
There is disagreement and confusion about whether Hibiscus moscheutos and Hibiscus palustris constitute separate species, subspecies, or varieties, and we are not in a position to clarify! We are proceeding with propagating and selling the form with the clear (no maroon throat) pink flowers, and ovate, pointed leaves occasionally 3-lobed (as compared to ssp moscheutos, which has mostly white flowers with reddish-purple centers and lower leaves that are often three-lobed). This Rosemallow palustris is a very showy, vigorous herbaceous perennial 6-7' tall occurring on edges of swamp forests in the piedmont, coastal plane and mountains of NC. Flowers range from pure white to to pure deep pink with a prominent staminate column and interesting fruits. Flowers are axillary, borne along the stems. Rosemallow palustris grows very well in sunny, moist- to-wet locations but also in upland garden sites. It attracts bees and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. The USDA distribution map linked below is for H. moscheutos.
Scientific Name: Hibiscus moscheutos L. ssp. palustris (L.) R.T. Clausen
Common Names: Rosemallow, Rosemallow palustris, Sea Hollyhock
Oakleaf Hydrangea, the quintessential flowering shrub for the native garden, is a deciduous shrub native to our southeastern states with outstanding ornamental value. Its growth form is broad, rounded, with lower stems sweeping the ground; with beautiful exfoliating bark and bold, handsomely lobed, deep green leaves, holding aloft great pyramidal, fragrant flowerheads covered with creamy white showy sterile flowers and less apparent fertile flowers. The flowers persist through fall and into winter, slowly taking on shades of pink as the supporting leaves take on hues of wine, mahogany and orange. The flowers eventually dry to tan, in winter. On top of all this, the plant is easy to grow in slightly acid to circumneutral, organic soil and is happiest in part shade. Oakleaf Hydrangea is basically trouble free, needing only minor pruning of winter-damaged branches in spring. It sends up offspring nearby which are easily dug and shared with friends. There are a large number of cultivars in the trade, often of smaller stature and/or brighter pink, showier flowers, but it is the non-showy fertile flowers that pull in the buzzing insects.
Until recently, Hydrangea radiata was considered a subscpecies of Hydrangea arborescens, and they are very similar. Both are fast-growing and short-lived woody shrubs 3-6 feet high and wide. Both present a rounded form, with many, scarcely branched, twisting stems, shreddy bark, and white, flat-topped floral assemblages called corymbs, 3-6 inches across, of both sterile and fertile florets. Unlike "mophead" Hydrangeas which have only the open, sterile, petaled flowers, both of these species support a wide range of pollinator insects. Both grow well in part shade, in medium-moisture, organic, well drained, acid soil conditions. They are often treated like herbaceous perennials in the garden because, since they set flower buds on new, woody growth each year, they profit from semi-hard pruning sometime before spring, similar to a perennial. Against these similarities with H. arborescens, H. radiata stands out because of the bright white/silver underside of its leaves, which show up whenever a breeze blows, and because its flowers have more of the open, petaled florets on the perimeter of the corymb, making a showier show! Whereas H. arborescens is found in forests and roadside seeps from southern New York to the panhandle of Florida, and west to eastern Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas, H. radiata is found in a relatively small area near the junction of western North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. This plant is much loved for sparking up the shady edge of the woods with its elegant white flowers at a time in the summer when not much there is flowering. Unlike some of their Asian cousins, the color of these Hydrangeas is not affected by pH or the presence of Aluminum in the soil but is reliably sparkly white.
Hypericum frondosum, or Golden St. Johnswort (the species) is a small, semi-woody shrub which grows in states all across the Southeast, but is not common. In NC, it is reported to occur in only two counties (in the mountains). Nevertheless, it thrives in our hot and humid piedmont, and should be considered for a shrub border or specimen because it is beautiful. Golden St. Johnswort is 3-4 feet high x 3-4 feet wide, sun-loving, straight-stemmed, with bluish-green, deciduous foliage, reddish, flaky bark on mature stems, and attractive, bright golden-yellow flowers in mid-season which attract many pollinators. The opposite leaves of Golden St. Johnswort are evergreen to semi-evergreen in the southern part of its growing range. In fall the plant is pretty too, with purplish leaves and covered with masses of little reddish fruits. The preferred soils are circumneutral pH, moist, well drained to dry, and it shows drought tolerance when established. The cultivar "Sunburst" is known for its larger-than-average bright yellow flowers (up to 2 inches) with especially long stamens, and more compact growth habit (3 feet). Since cultivars do not have a natural plant distribution, the USDA distribution map linked below is for the species.
St. Andrew's Cross, Low, Creeping, Straggling, Decumbent or Reclining St. John’s-Wort, Low, Creeping, Stragging, Decumbent or Reclining St. Andrew's Cross
In spite of its intimidating scientific appellation, St. Andrew's Cross is a humble little "subshrub", one that is not found elsewhere in the trade. It occurs in dry woods from Long Island south and over to Texas and Oklahoma. We are very fond of it as it volunteers along paths inside our deer fence in the central piedmont of NC. It is small, neat, well formed, cheerful, and trouble-free. It is a woody, much-branched little mound (10" tall x 24" wide) with shreddy bark and small, sessile, oval-shaped leaves, deciduous in our area but holding its leaves in our cold frames or further south. It has many, tiny, perfect, X-shaped yellow flowers in late spring/summer which then develop into seeds enclosed between two brownish bracts in late summer/fall. St. Andrew's Cross tolerates dry clay soil and complete neglect and is an endearing small friend along the path or filling nooks and crannies of the garden, if it is not overly shady.
Scientific Name: Hypericum stragulum W.P. Adams & N Robson
Common Names: St. Andrew's Cross, Low, Creeping, Straggling, Decumbent or Reclining St. John’s-Wort, Low, Creeping, Stragging, Decumbent or Reclining St. Andrew's Cross
Possomhaw Holly is a deciduous shrub or small, understory tree, averaging fifteen to thirty feet tall (shorter when grown in full sun), with gray, twiggy, horizontal branches. In nature, it occurs in dry woods but more often in river bottoms and wet habitats, from Maryland south to Florida and west to Texas, Oklahoma and even Kansas. The mature tree has a rounded crown and marked, 90-degree branch angles. Possumhaw has attractive glossy, oval, serrated dark green leaves which persist until late autumn, when they rapidly decline and fall. Like all Ilexes, the flowers of Possumhaw are not conspicuous, but grown in adequate sun, it can be a stunning specimen in the autumn and winter when the bare branches are covered with numerous bright red, ripe berries. It is a dioecious species, so a prominent female specimen can be pollinated by a conveniently nearby male of the same species, or even by a nearby American Holly (Ilex opaca). Happily, this tree is not only beautiful, it also serves as an important nectar source for all manner of bees and other pollinators, and as winter food source for song birds. Opossums, raccoons and other mammals also greatly desire the fruit, should they be lurking in the vicinity.
Ilex glabra, or Inkberry Holly, is a colonial evergreen shrub with an erect but rounded form, 8 - 10 feet high. If you are not normally fond of prickly holly leaves, Inkberry may be the holly for you: it differs from all other evergreen hollies by lacking spines on the leaves. Inkberry leaves are dark green, shiny, roughly oval, and slightly toothed near the tips. It is a dioecious species, with male and female flowers appearing on separate plants. The flowers of Inkberry are usually 6-petaled, small, white and green (inconspicuous). The male flowers are in clusters, while female flowers are singular. Berries are a black with hints of red. This species is found in the coastal plain of all US states along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. In NC, it is reported in all lower piedmont and coastal plain counties. Inkberry thrives in rich, consistently moist, acidic soils in full sun, but it adapts really well to a wide range of light regimes (full sun to full shade), moisture levels and soil types, from sandy to heavier, peaty soils. It's downside is that with age, the lower stems drop their leaves, creating an unattractive, leggy look in a more formal setting, but less important in a naturalistic planting. Inkberry is an understory plant in pine woods, and is stimulated by regular controlled burning, It is said to respond well to shearing for both rejuvenation and height control.
American Holly, Common Holly, Christmas Holly, White Holly, Prickly Holly, Evergreen Holly, Yule Holly
American Holly is a slow-growing, medium sized, evergreen tree known and loved throughout the mid-atlantic, south-central and Gulf state lowlands (in NC, is reported in most counties throughout). An understory tree in our deciduous forests, it generally reaches 40 to 60 feet, with pyramidal form, occasionally much taller. In cultivation, however, it is generally shorter, in the range of 30 feet. Evergreen, with bright red berries, it is of course closely associated with winter holidays and are much used in decorations. American Holly is the only Ilex species in America with the spiny points on the leaves. The tree is slow growing, but long lived (~150 years). Like all Ilexes, flowering is dioecious, so a flowering male tree of the same species must be somewhere nearby for pollination to see heavy berry production on the female. The berries are consumed by a large number of songbirds, gamebirds and mammals, but the berries are bitter and eaten when other resources are depleted, so they are beautiful well into the winter season. There are over 1,000 cultivars of this species in the ornamental trade!!
Scientific Name: Ilex opaca
Common Names: American Holly, Common Holly, Christmas Holly, White Holly, Prickly Holly, Evergreen Holly, Yule Holly
Winterberry is a handsome deciduous shrub, averaging twelve to fifteen feet tall, with gray, twiggy, horizontal branches and spectacular red berries in winter.. It is native to swampy, wet areas of Eastern North America. Winterberry prefers full sun and moist, well drained, acidic, organic upland soil. However, it can also tolerate "wet feet". The glossy, oval, serrated, dark green leaves of Winterberry turn a nice yellow during the fall before dropping off for winter. Like all hollies, Winterberry is dioecious (separate male and female plants). Small, whitish, inconspicuous flowers bloom in mid-summer, attracting bees and other pollinators. If a male of the same species is nearby, flowers on female plants will give rise to the thick clusters of red berries among the green leaves, or packed around the grey stems after leaf drop. The fruit of the Winterberry is very tart and only becomes the food of choice to animals in the late winter, assuring us a long season of "winter interest". This dramatic and long-lasting splash of bold color accounts for the popularity of this plant among gardeners. In addition to being beautiful, these shrubs also support birds in large numbers late in the season, even into early spring. A number of cultivars exist for this species in the horticultural trade, although the cultivars are not as favored by either insects or wildlife (MinnesotaWildflowers.Info). It is a great plant for use in rain gardens.
Scientific Name: Ilex verticillata
Common Names: Winterberry, Winterberry Holly, Common Winterberry, Michigan Holly, Black Alder, Brook Alder, Canada Holly, Coralberry, Deciduous Winterberry, False Alder, Fever Bush, Swamp Holly, Virginian Winterberry
Yaupon, Yaupon Holly, Cassina, Cassena, Cassine, Evergreen Holly, Indian Black Drink, Christmasberry
The Yaupon Holly is a distinctive evergreen native holly found in coastal counties in NC and other Southeastern states over to Texas. It tolerates a whole range of moisture regimes (wet to dry), soil types and pH, sunlight conditions (full sun to shade, but more sun makes more berries), and is both cold and heat tolerant. All this adaptaibility makes Yaupon exceptionally valuable for landscaping, and there are many cultivars in the trade. The species is considered a shrub or a shrubby tree, finely textured, often with a vase-shaped form upon maturity. Another outstanding trait of Yaupon is its superb prunability, and its natural form is almost never observed in landscaped areas. Yaupon lends itself to being shaped into hedges, arbors, espaliers, topiary, lollipop-shaped street trees, all kinds of ornamental shapes. In the wild it can reach as tall as 30 feet. Yaupon Holly is easily identified by it's upright, rigid, almost-white branches. It's leaves are ovate, leathery, glossy, and evergreen with rounded serrations which, the USDA points out, distinguishes it from the similar looking but horribly invasive Chinese Privet, Ligustrum sinense. Yaupon is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants) and the flowers appear in April. They are fragrant but generally inconspicuous. If a male is nearby, female flowers develop into strongly red berries of high clarity which persist into winter and are an important source of nourishment for a number of bird species. Yaupon can also be pollinated by nearby male specimens of either Ilex opaca (American Holly) or Ilex decidua (Possumhaw Holly).
Scientific Name: Ilex vomitoria
Common Names: Yaupon, Yaupon Holly, Cassina, Cassena, Cassine, Evergreen Holly, Indian Black Drink, Christmasberry
This cultivar of Yaupon Holly, fully embraced by the nursery trade like few other native plants, is very popular as a foundation plant around homes and office buildings and it functions admirably in this role.'Schiling's Dwarf' is included in our inventory specifically for those who want a formal hedge, but with native plants. It is a slowly growing, compact, male cultivar of the wild type Yaupon Holly, but only 4-7 feet high (if allowed to grow) by 6-10 feet wide, with a rounded form, and small, alternate leaves of glossy green. It is extremely versatile due to its tolerance of soils from wet to dry and light regimes from full sun to light shade. It tends to grow slowly, laterally more than vertically, so it lends itself to hedging. Spaced 2.5 to 3 feet apart, and at least 3 feet from the house or sidewalk, 'Schilling's Dwarf' Yaupon can be kept 2.5 to 3 feet tall for many years with minimal trimming. Generally free of pests and diseases, and bearing no fruit, it is not the most exciting of our offerings, but it definitely has a role to play, if only as a backdrop for the complexity of a naturalistic planting, or as a male pollen donor for female I. vomitoria Hollies such as 'Taylor's Rudolph'. Since selections do not have a natural plant distribution, the USDA distribution map linked below is for the species.
'Taylor's Rudolph' is a cultivar of a beautiful and hardy native species of Holly that grows in coastal NC as well as other Southeastern states. Both 'Taylor's Rudolph' and the species are evergreen; both are very adaptable, thriving in a range of cultural conditions from moist to dry, in full sun to part shade; both have a lovely texture, composed of small, lustrous, dark green leaves; and both undergo pruning beautifully. What is special about the cultivar is its size (only 3-4 feet high by 5 feet wide at maturity) which makes 'Taylor's Rudolph' ideal for shearing into a formal hedge or using individually as a foundation plant. It is also reliably female with a heavy load of translucent red berries clinging to the stems through the winter, attracting birds and providing distinct winter interest. ('Rudolph' evokes a red nose, though it sounds male!) 'Taylor's Rudolph' fills out to the ground, so it does not require any filler to cover bare lower stems like some other evergreen shrubs. It must be noted that it is intolerant of urban pollution and should be sited accordingly. Being a female, its pollination requirements can be met by either a male cultivar (such as 'Schilling's Dwarf') or by a nearby male Ilex decidua (Possumhaw) or Ilex opaca (American Holly). It is drought- and disease-resistant and provides beautiful material for a formal garden planting while also providing the benefits of being native, i.e., it supports native pollinators and bird life! Since selections do not have a natural plant distribution, the USDA distribution map linked below is for the species.
Dwarf Crested Iris is beloved in southern gardens as it is a beautiful and easy groundcover. In nature, it is found in rich or rocky wooded slopes and stream banks in Eastern states, well inland from the coast, and in NC is reported in mountain and piedmont counties only. Dwarf Crested Iris is short, the pointy sword-shaped leaves growing only to about six inches tall. It has many handsome, frilly blue-to-lilac-to-white, fragrant iris blooms with gold crests on 4-inch stems in May and June, flowering over a period of a couple of weeks. This beautiful, rapidly spreading, rhizomatous ground cover grows well even in the heat of the summer. Where it occurs on our property (we did not plant it), it thrives on a sunny, well drained slope, though it clearly would appreciate some afternoon shade, or a little more moisture. It is a drift of lovely color. Maintenance consists of removing tree seedlings popping up every now and again, and dividing the plants to thin every 2-3 years. The famous American Quaker botanist, John Bartram, introduced Iris cristata to England, where it has been grown since 1766. European gardeners have enjoyed it ever since.
Virginia Sweetspire, Tassel-white, Itea, Virginia Willow
Iteaceae is a family of only one genus of trees and shrubs, and of the 27 species in that genus, Itea is the only one found in the U.S. (the vast majority of the others being from east Asia). Virginia Sweetspire, as often known as Itea, is a versatile and lovely shrub which grows to 8 feet (more often to 6 feet), with abundant, deliciously aromatic 3-6" - long bottlebrush-like flower spikes in early summer. These spikes dangle from slender branches and flower from the base towards the tip. Itea is popular because of those lovely flowers but also because it thrives in sun or shade, and in wet to average soil and is not fussy about pH. And not to be forgotten, the dark green leaves turn stunning shades of maroon to crimson in fall and can last into winter. The seed heads attract songbirds and its growth habit -- spreading by root suckers (if allowed to) -- provides nesting habitat for birds and cover for critters.
Scientific Name: Itea virginica L.
Common Names: Virginia Sweetspire, Tassel-white, Itea, Virginia Willow
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Black Walnut or American Walnut is a large tree of central and eastern North America which can grow well over 100 feet, but which averages fifty to seventy five feet. The trunk is straight and the crown is broad and spreading. This tree is treasured for its beauty and is grown simply as an ornamental, but even more for its edible nuts and for the quality of its wood. It is considered a pioneer species, and is shade intolerant, requiring full sun for optimal development. It favors moist habitats, and occurs along streams, floodplains and in woodlands, but is not happy in either standing water or dry, sandy areas -- Black Walnut prefers deep, rich, well-drained soils. Total lifespan of Black Walnut is about 130 years. Planting a Walnut tree is an investment in the future, as the wood of a mature tree is so valuable. (Wikipedia reports a tree-poaching case, involving a 55-foot tree worth US$2,500). The wood is a favorite for cabinets, furniture, and even guns as it is hard, heavy, straight-grained, strong, shock resistant and yet can be easily split and worked. In the landscape (before harvesting!) the nuts are a food source for both humans and animals, such as squirrels, mice, and other wildlife. There are cultivars of Black Walnut developed for timber and others for seed production and still others for both. Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Eastern Red Cedar, Pencil Cedar, Carolina Cedar, Virginia Red Cedar, Baton rouge, Juniper, Virginia Juniper, Red Juniper, Savin, Red Savin, Cedar Apple,Cedar tree
Eastern Red Cedar is a sturdy, aromatic, evergreen, pyramid-shaped or columnar tree which usually grows to about 60 feet, though it can reach 90 feet. This species is considered a pioneer tree that colonizes sunny areas that are relatively dry and sterile. Adapted to dry habitats, it is native throughout central and eastern North America and is reported in mountain, piedmont and coastal plane counties of NC. Red Cedar is a wonderfully useful resource. The darker brown-red heartwood (the inner wood) is fragrant, light and durable, even in contact with soil. Because of its rot resistance, the wood is used for fence posts. Because it is aromatic and avoided by moths, it is widely used as lining for clothes chests and closets. Also, the fruits and young branches contain aromatic oil that is used in medicines. Red Cedar is dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants). The male cones are brown and papery, the female cones resemble waxy blue berries. The female berries are used to flavor gin. Red Cedar can spread and colonize in fields if left untended long-term, and in some parts of the country is problematic now that fire is no longer allowed to control it. Birds, like the cedar waxwing, eat the waxy blue berry-like cones (a process that greatly increases seed germination rate). It is an important food source for many other birds, as well as mammals, and it provides very high quality shelter within its thick foliage for many animals, especially in winter. Eastern Red Cedar (which is actually a Juniper, not a Cedar) is a relatively long lived tree, up to 300 years in favorable conditions. Because there is so much variability in the form of individual trees, many cultivars have been developed from outstanding individuals, propagated asexually.
Scientific Name: Juniperus virginiana
Common Names: Eastern Red Cedar, Pencil Cedar, Carolina Cedar, Virginia Red Cedar, Baton rouge, Juniper, Virginia Juniper, Red Juniper, Savin, Red Savin, Cedar Apple,Cedar tree
Juniperus virginiana is a tough, widely distributed native evergreen tree with many outstanding attributes (see our listing for the species) and ‘Poyo’ is a dwarf, spreading cultivar which displays most of the attributes of the species, but answering a need for a shrub-like form. Since it is asexually propagated (is a clone), it's shape is predictable -- one attribute in which it differs from the species! Wider than it is tall, growth is largely horizontal with the same luxuriously dense foliage as the species, in a bright blue-green. An individual will grow to 3' high x 4' wide with a full center and gracefully arching branches. 'Poyo' is a clone of a female selection, so it displays the blue, waxy-fleshy and berrylike seed cones, sweet-tasting to birds, and resinous, ripening in September - October. ‘Poyo’ thrives in full sun and average to dry soil, on a sunny slope or as a foundation plant, wherever you want a beautiful and wildlife-friendly, short evergreen. Ours are from Sunlight Gardens in Tennessee. A "Plant of Promise' at the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference along about 2005. Since selections do not have a natural plant distribution, the USDA distribution map linked below is for the species.
Scientific Name: Juniperus virginiana L. cv. 'Poyo'
Many people know Mountain Laurel as a stunning native shrub which is a spectacular sight in our mountains in May and June, but many don't realize that it also grows in rocky floodplains of our rivers in the piedmont. Since we collect our seed from natural stands on the Haw River, our plants are adapted to lower elevations, and we consciously call our plants Piedmont Mountain Laurel. The shrub is common in the Appalachian Mountains, plateaus, piedmont, and coastal plains from southeast Maine to the Florida panhandle, west to Louisiana, and north through southern Indiana to southern Quebec. The shrub is slow-growing, 8-12' high (much taller and a tree form in certain environments), with contorted, attractively exfoliating bark, handsome evergreen foliage and amazing flowers which vary from white through various shades of rose with contrasting markings -- jewels in the spring sunshine. Sunshine enhances flowering, but partial sun is best, as well as moist, well drained, acidic soil conditions, with emphasis on both acidic and well drained adjectives. This is a magnificent, fascinating, but slow growing plant, so think Beauty for the Future!
Scientific Name: Kalmia latifolia L.
Common Names: Piedmont Mountain Laurel, Calico Bush, Ivy Bush, Spoonwood, Calico Bush, American Laurel.
Seashore Mallow, Virginia Saltmarsh Mallow, Virginia Fen-rose, Salt Marsh Mallow, Seaside Mallow, Marsh Mallow, Pink Mallow, Sweatweed
Seashore Mallow is a lovely, salt tolerant herbaceous perennial (some call it a subshrub) native to the Eastern shore of the U.S. The toothed, roughly triangular leaves and stems are softly hairy with tiny stellate (star-shaped) hairs. An obligate wetland plant, it thrives in full sunlight and wet soil. It is commonly grown very successfully in average garden soil as well, but it must not be allowed to totally dry out. Seashore Mallow is late to emerge in spring but it attains full size by July when many small (2-3"), delicate, hibiscus-like flowers begin to appear, from pale to deep pink, in the axils of the leaves and in terminal panicles. Five petals surround an amazing, prominent golden structure consisting of fused stamens and styles. Flowers each last one day, but there are many of them, and the blooming period is long, continuing into November most years. Seashore Mallow grows larger each year, reaching 5'-6' in five or so seasons, at which time it might be a good idea to replace it with a younger individual. The Virginia Wildflower of the Year in 2004.
Scientific Name: Kosteletzkya virginica (L.) C. Presl ex A. Gray
Common Names: Seashore Mallow, Virginia Saltmarsh Mallow, Virginia Fen-rose, Salt Marsh Mallow, Seaside Mallow, Marsh Mallow, Pink Mallow, Sweatweed
Doghobble is a graceful, informal, evergreen shrub common in the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plain which shows off best when planted in mass. Stoloniferous, it is naturally found in drifts or colonies along banks of creeks or shady ditches and woodlines. Doghobble's arching form reaches 3-4 feet or 4-6 feet (reports vary) by an indeterminate width. Stems are rarely branched, but arching wih a zig-zag pattern, bearing thick, evergreen leaves, and clusters of white, fragrant, urn-shaped flowers in May. If grown in enough light, the leaves turn an ornamental purplish-bronze in winter. Well suited as a foundation plant or hedge, it thrives in shady yards or gardens. Doghobble is a slow grower and its growth form provides an attractive visual contrast to sheared evergreen foundation plants. Traditionally found in the same type of environments as rhododendrons, Doghobble prefers moist, acidic, organic, well drained soil and full to part shade, but will tolerate sun if the soil is kept moist.
Scientific Name: Leucothoe axillaris (Lamarck) D. Don
Dense Blazing Star is a clump-forming perennial found naturally in moist meadows in Eastern North America. In the Carolinas it is reported mostly in coastal counties. Dense Blazing Star gets its name from its spectacular bottle brush flower stalks, which rise straight and sturdy to four or five feet from grass-like basal leaves. The flower is pinkish purple and blooms from the top of the flower spike down. It prefers full sun and moist conditions but is drought tolerant once established. The plant is very popular in pollinator gardens not only because of the beautiful vertical accent when flowering but also because it attracts butterflies, bees, and birds (including hummingbirds) through late summer and into September (about 3 weeks). In addition, the flowers make excellent cut flowers. This is a fine garden plant and the most wet-loving of the genus.
Scaly Blazing Star is un upright herbaceous perennial found in high quality natural habitats including openings in upland rocky woodlands, dry ditches and and barren savannas from the eastern Great Plains eastward to Virginia and south. In NC it is reported mostly in piedmont counties. Scaly Blazing Star is one funky flower! "Dr. Seuss" flowers! The plant is only 2 - 2.5 feet high, with sturdy, unbranched shoots supporting the striking inflorescence. Individual flower heads, which are spaced along a terminal spike, are composed of tubular disk flowers (ray flowers are absent) with exserted styles, making for a tufted look. The overlapping bracts just beneath the flower are strongly reflexed and definitely part of the flower's charm. Planted in a dry site in full sun, Scaly Blazing Star will show off its hard-to-describe rosie-pink-purple color while it attracts hummingbirds, buttterflies, bees and other pollinating insects to your garden.
Scientific Name: Liatris squarrosa (L.) Michx.
Common Names: Scaly Blazing Star, Scaly Gayfeather, Scaly Liatris
Spicebush, Wild Allspice, Northern Spicebush, Benjamin Bush
Spicebush is a shrubby tree -- five to ten feet-tall (and often wider than tall) -- which has a great many attributes, beginning with its wonderfully spicy-citrusy aromatic foliage. The blooming period for Spicebush occurs during the mid-spring and lasts about 2 weeks. The males (yes, it is dioecious) have showier, but still tiny, pale yellow flowers along the still-leafless stems. But the females draw our attention in early fall when they're loaded with berries that turn from green to bright, glossy red, attracting lots of birds. Spicebush prefers dappled sunlight to medium shade, but more sun makes for more flowers and more berries and more birds! About the time the berries are the brightest red, the leaves turn a soft yellow as a backdrop to those shiny, red berries. While attracting birds is delightful, this interesting native plant also attracts a magnificent butterfly, the Spicebush Swallowtail, which attaches its eggs to the leaves If you grow Spicebush in a sunny or partly shady corner of your property (moist to mesic conditions, and a fertile loamy soil with decaying organic matter), you will eventually find Swallowtail caterpillars hiding in neatly folded leaves. By clipping small notches in the foliage, the larvae can bend the leaves over to create a tiny hiding place in which to grow. The black, orange and blue Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly is the prize, a real treat in the garden!
Scientific Name: Lidera benzoin (L.) Blume
Common Names: Spicebush, Wild Allspice, Northern Spicebush, Benjamin Bush
Tulip Poplar, Yellow Poplar, Tulip Tree American Tulip Tree, Whitewood, Fiddletree
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Tulip Poplar is a superbly shaped deciduous canopy tree, one of the tallest of the eastern hardwoods. Individuals have reached 190 feet in height, but the average Tulip Poplar is only on the order of 100-110 feet. Poplar prefers deep, rich, moist soil. naturally occurring near river banks and along sloped hills throughout eastern North America. It is a shade-intolerant species that is most commonly associated with the first century of forest succession. In full sun, it grows straight up, rather rapidly, shedding lower branches in favor of higher ones, which makes for high value timber. It is one of the few canopy trees with petalous flowers. Often unnoticed until they begin to fall to the earth, they are tulip-shaped, yellowish-green with orange centers. The uniquely shaped (catface) leaves turn a beautiful golden in fall. Most tulip trees have low tolerance for either drought or very wet conditions (although there are a couple of ecotypes-- a southeastern coastal plain ecotype and an east central Florida ecotype -- which occur in wetter soils with high organic matter). Because of its fast growth, gorgeous fall foliage and splendid form, and its high value as a nectar source, Poplar is a great choice for a shade tree.
Scientific Name: Liriodendron tulipifera L.
Common Names: Tulip Poplar, Yellow Poplar, Tulip Tree American Tulip Tree, Whitewood, Fiddletree
Cardinalflower is a handsome wildflower known for it vibrant red (occasionally white or rosie pink) floral spikes on sturdy, upright stems three to four feet tall and occasionally taller. It is valued by gardeners not just for the deep scarlet color and relatively tall, erect form but also because it attracts hummingbirds to the garden. The flowers consist of long tubes, are not easily navigated by short-tongued insects and depend on the hummers and long-tongued butterflies for pollination. Cardinalflower is widely occurring in nature, found in wet or damp, sunny or mostly sunny habitats throughout the eastern US as well as south central states all the way to California. Curiously for such a widespread plant, is is regarded as finicky and short lived. This may be because, according to Cullina (Growing and Propagating Wildflowers) Lobelias are not true perennials since the flowering stem and its associated roots die after setting seed. They are perennial in effect only because new offsets grow from the axils of the lowermost leaves and quickly put down their own abundant white roots. For the gardener who understands this, Cardinalflower's erect habit can lend late season height and stunning color to a pollinator garden, pondside, or damp woodland opening with rich, moist soil and full sun or partial sun, for many years. Recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
The Great Blue Lobelia is a colony-forming, clumping perennial which is well known for its long-lasting, deep violet-blue floral spires from late summer to mid-autumn. The deep blue floral racemes play exceedingly well against the dominant yellows of other fall garden greats, and draw their own share of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. In nature, Blue Lobelia is found in wet habitats throughout eastern U.S. It bears dense spikes of intensely blue, bilaterally symmetrical flowers on the tops of sturdy, two- to three-foot stems. The florets are tubular with a two-lobed upper lip and a more prominent three-lobed lower lip. In the garden, Blue Lobelia thrives in wet to moist soil and partial sun. Full sun is tolerated if the soil is consistently moist, and it will also grow in bright shade. The soil should be fertile and loamy, acid to circumneutral pH. After seeds are produced, the flowering stem and roots die, but new offsets are formed which generate their own roots. These small offsets should be protected for the following season.
Scientific Name: Lobelia siphilitica L.
Common Names: Great Blue Lobelia, Blue Cardinalflower
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
John Clayton' is a cultivar of Coral Honeysuckle's forma sulphurea (yellow form). It has the same charming leaf forms as Coral Honeysuckle and lovely warm yellow 2-inch trumpet-shaped flowers. It blooms in late spring, when the arriving hummers are drawn to the trumpet-shaped flowers, and continues flowering sporadically until fall. It also produces many inedible (for people), but very showy, orange/red berries for the birds. The vine is not as large as the species Coral Honeysuckle, and lends itself to fences or small trellises in full sun or mostly sun. It is evergreen in the Deep South. Honeysuckle ‘John Clayton’ was originally found (1991) on the grounds of a 17th-century Abington church in Virginia, and is named after a colonial botanist. This yellow Honeysuckle is a selection, not a natural variety, and is not listed with USDA separately from Coral Honeysuckle. It is beautiful, and obviates any need for a potentially invasive yellow honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)!!!
Scientific Name: Lonicera sempervirens L. cv. 'John Clayton"
It is a joy to write about Scarlet Honeysuckle today because as I write, the intensely scarlet flowers are brightening up the green world along my driveway. Because it is a climber, the deep crimson color meets the eye at different elevations (although it does not seem to flower on the ground). Here in the piedmont it is deciduous, though evergreen in the Deep South. This plant is adapted from Maine to Florida and over to Texas, but does not appear in the mountain counties of North Carolina or Virginia. It was adopted as Wildflower of the Year in 2014 by the Virginia Native Plant Society (vnps). Coral Honeysuckle is famous for attracting hummers, and in fact (according to the vnps.org) the combination of its bright red tubular flowers with abundant nectar and little floral odor typifies the usual pattern for hummingbird-pollinated species. Unlike its horribly invasive Asian cousin, Lonicera japonica, Coral Honeysuckle is a well behaved garden plant. It climbs by twining, and it will reward the gardener who plants it (in organically rich, moist but well drained soil, beneath a trellis or fence in full sun or partial sun), with a heart-lifting vision of deep scarlet flowers, usually with golden interiors, as well as of the visiting hummers.
Scientific Name: Lonicera sempervirens L.
Common Names: Coral Honeysuckle, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Woodbine
Shining Fetterbush ("lucida") is a commonly encountered evergreen shrub of the south, 3-5 feet tall and wide (or occasionally taller), found mostly in counties of the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains from Virginia south to Florida and west to Louisiana. The leaves are alternate, smooth, thick, and leathery. The sweetly fragrant spring flowers are urn-shaped, pink/white, hanging in clusters from the axils of the leaves all along the stems. Although in nature it is found in some dry habitats, it is much more often encountered in wet ones such as pocosins and bogs. Shining Fetterbush tolerates full sun with sufficient moisture, but thrives in partial sun to full shade with medium moisture requirements and moist, well drained soil. It reproduces by suckering, lending itself to forming an attractive evergreen hedge, and performing well in mixed shrub plantings. Mellichamp (Native Plants of the Southeast): ". . .one of the best evergreen shrubs we have tried (at UNC Botanical Gardens) . . . relatively unknown in cultivation and needs wider testing."
Piedmont Staggerbush is a cute little shrub, averaging three to six feet tall. It is an upright shrub with alternate, simple, and oblong leaves. The flowers bloom in clusters of racemes of columnar-shaped, white to pink flowers. It grows well along marshes and shrubby swamps, but also wood edges and well-drained soils. It has a lovely reddish fall color and is very deer resistant.
Ashe's Magnolia is a greatly underused, rare in cultivation, extremely ornamental small tree endemic to mixed hardwood forests and ravine slopes in a few counties in the "armpit" or panhandle of Florida. It is easily recognized by it's very large leaf size, one to two feet long by six inches to a foot across, together with its small overall size, 20-25 feet. The numerous saucer-shaped, bright white flowers, with purple spots at the interior base of the petals, are correspondingly large - ten to twelve inches across - and are sweetly scented. This species flowers very early -- we have seen it flower in a 1-gallon pot! -- so the beautiful flowers are easily observed at eye-height, unlike its very tall cousins such as M.macrophylla and M. tripetela. (Some botanists classify this plant as Magnolia macrophylla subsp. ashei.) The magnificent flowers are followed by red to purple cone-like fruits. Magnolia ashei does not get particularly tall, but requires a good bit of lateral space for maximal show. This is a fantastic small, ornamental tree for our area. It has been named the 2017 plant of the year by the Garden Club of America.
Scientific Name: Magnolia ashei Weath.
Common Names: Ashe's Magnolia, Deciduous Magnolia, Dwarf Bigleaf Magnolia
Sweet Bay Magnolia, Swamp magnolia, Beaver Tree, Laurel Magnolia, Swamp Bay, White Bay
Magnolia virginiana, or Sweetbay Magnolia, is a small tree or shrub at home in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains and piedmont as far north as New York.. With 3- to 5-inch, oval, leathery green leaves with silvery undersides, and beautiful, sweetly-scented, small (3" wide) ivory flowers in spring and summer, followed by showy red seed cones in fall, Sweetbay is a wonderful plant to have around. If can be grown with several stems, and will blend in to a shrub border, or as an upright, single-leader specimen yard tree with a wide-columnar form. Sweetbay is different from other magnolias in that it can tolerate saturated and flooded soils as well as droughty conditions, making it an excellent candidate for a rain garden. It can grow for 50 years. There is disagreement as to its ultimate height, as a southern natural variety, M. virginiana 'australis' is truly evergreen and grows to an unapologetic 60'. The largest known specimen of Magnolia virginiana (the evergreen form), 28m (= 92 feet) in height with a trunk diameter of 1.4 m (=4.6 feet), is recorded from Union County, Arkansas (American Forestry Association 1994). In the Northern part of its range, reports range from 20' to 40', and we have only seen 20-foot specimens in our area in the central NC piedmont.
Scientific Name: Magnolia virginiana
Common Names: Sweet Bay Magnolia, Swamp magnolia, Beaver Tree, Laurel Magnolia, Swamp Bay, White Bay
False Solomon Seal, Feathery False Lily of the Vally, Solomon's ZigZag, False Spikenard, American Spikenard, Fat Solomon, Solomon's Plume, Smilacina, Treacleberry
Solomon's Plume is a widespread perennial, reported in all of the U.S. mainland states, but conspicuously almost entirely absent from the coastal plain from NC down to Florida and over to Texas and throughout the great plains. It is abundant here in the piedmont, with gracefully arching, unbranched stems reaching up to three feet in length, growing in drifts in the forest understory inside our deer fence together with Solomon's Seal, Partridgeberry and Coral Honeysuckle. The beautiful, leaves of the Solomon's Plume, with their shiny veneer and parallel venation, are alternately arranged and distributed evenly along the stem. The delightfully fragrant flowers form a cream-colored plume at the end of the stems. The unripened berries of Solomon's Plume are a creamy green color and ripening to reddish. Each plant gives rise to 5-6 others, resulting in their colonial habit. This is a wonderful plant for shaded southern woodland gardens. The berries are also widely eaten by birds and small mammals, making it important for wildlife. This plant has received the UK's Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Scientific Name: Maianthemum racemosum (L.) Link
Common Names: False Solomon Seal, Feathery False Lily of the Vally, Solomon's ZigZag, False Spikenard, American Spikenard, Fat Solomon, Solomon's Plume, Smilacina, Treacleberry
Piedmont Barbara's Buttons is found in moist, well drained roadsides and fields from south-central Virginia to Florida. That said, it is truly our own wildflower as in NC, it is actually only reported in the very central counties of the state. A basal rosette of narrow leaves gives rise in early summer to slender, unbranched 1- to 2-foot stems bearing 1-inch delicate, fragrant, fluffy, spherical, bright white to pinkish "buttons". Tolerant of dry conditions and happy in full sun and part shade, this is an un-fussy, non-invasive garden team player attractive to a range of pollinating insects! Piedmont Barbara's Buttons was selected as the 2009 NC Wildflower of the Year (WFOY) by the NC Botanical Garden with the Garden Club of NC.
Virginia Bluebells, Virginia Cowslip, Mertensia, Eastern Bluebells, lungwort oysterleaf
Virginia Bluebells is a magical spring ephemerel plant, an absolute must for every garden with a spot of shade! It is an early spring riser with soft, floppy, grey-green, oval shaped leaves. The flower buds are pink, bluish pink or lavender as they uncoil near the top of each stem, then the wonderful nodding clusters of flowers open and fade to a light blue. The plant is about 2' tall and 1' wide. Virginia Bluebells prefers moist, rich soils in part to full shade. As warmer days approach the plant will quickly yellow and plunge into dormancy, resting until the next spring. Easy to grow by sowing fresh seed or dividing tubers in spring. Over time Virginia Bluebells will colonize. It is best to interplant with ferns, asters, Green & Golds -- as the Bluebells fade, the other perennials with fill in the space as the season continues. Virginia Bluebells can do well planted under Black Walnut trees and it is also resistant to deer & rabbits.
Scientific Name: Mertensia virginica (L.) Pers. ex Link
Common Names: Virginia Bluebells, Virginia Cowslip, Mertensia, Eastern Bluebells, lungwort oysterleaf
Partridgeberry is a beautiful, trailing, evergreen, mat-forming woody vine, no taller than two inches, reported in all states of eastern North America, and thriving in our piedmont Oak Hickory forest understory. Its leaves are rounded, paired, rich dark green with white markings, 1/2 to 3/4-inch long. Its tiny white, fragrant, tubular flowers occur in pairs also, in May to July. The two flowers are fused at the base and produce a single bright scarlet berry in the late summer/fall. The berries, and the flowers as well, are very visually appealing and stand out boldly against the dark green, rounded leaves. Partridgeberry will thrive under acid-loving shrubs in rich woodland soils, rooting at the nodes, and is a must for a shady rock garden. Partridgeberry will tolerate dry soil and dense shade if it is undisturbed. The berries are edible and support birds and small mammals in the winter.
Scientific Name: Mitchella repens L.
Common Names: Partridgeberry, Pigeon Plum, Squaw Vine, Twinberry, Running Box
Oswego Tea, Scarlet Beebalm, Crimson Beebalm, Red Bergamot, Horsemint
Beebalm is a showy herbaceous perennial herb in the Mint family, very popular in Southeastern gardens for its long bloom time and easy nature. Bright red, somewhat coarse flowers are supported by sturdy, three-foot tall, square stems in July and August here in the piedmont, making excellent cut flowers.Our southern Appalachians are actually the southernmost tip of the range of this plant which hales from "Up East" (it is not reported in our piedmont or coastal plain). The leaves are fragrant and have been used to make tea since Europeans were taught how to do so by the American (Oswego) Indians (New York). The plants attract hummingbirds, butterflies (especially fritillaries) and bees, and spread in the garden by rhizomes and by self-seeding. A tendency towards powdery mildew can be minimized by growing in full sun and thinning the stand for better air circulation..
Scientific Name: Monarda didyma L.
Common Names: Oswego Tea, Scarlet Beebalm, Crimson Beebalm, Red Bergamot, Horsemint
Wild Bergamont is a fantastic wildflower native to almost every state in the country! Like other members of the mint family, it has square stems with coarsely toothed and slightly hairy opposite leaves. Wild Bergamont flowers are...well, kind of wild; they are lavender to pink, with irregular tubular petals, protruding from a disk sitting solitary at the end of branching stems, which in turn arise from a basal rosette. The flowers of Wild Bergamont look like something that came out of a Dr. Seuss book. Wild Bergamont attracts lots of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds, and the strong stems can be used by birds such as the Indigo Bunting to build their nests. Rhizomatous, it often spreads aggressively and is therefore easiest to grow in a natural area (wild garden). Wild Bergamont leaves can be used to brew a tea that tastes similar to mint. The 1993 Virginia Wildflower of the Year.
Horsemint or Spotted Beebalm is an erect, mostly unbranched, perennial wildflower, instantly recognized by its unusual "stacked" arrangement of multiple whorls of two-lipped, cream-colored, purple-speckled tubular flowers on the same stem. Each whorl is subtended by attractive and persistent pink to lavender leaf-like bracts. Leaves are narrow with a fine grayish-white pubescence and oregano- or thyme-like aroma. Plants occur in disturbed or high quality sandy habitats such as sandy prairies, savannas and sand dunes from Vermont to southeastern Minnesota, south to Florida and Texas, but missing from most of the Ohio drainage. In NC, Spotted Beebalm is found in some mountain counties, piedmont counties, and coastal plain counties. It is considered a short-lived perennial or even a biennial by some internet sources, but not all. It is visited by a great many pollinators, including bees and moths, butterflies, wasps and bugs.
Wax Myrtle is an amazingly versatile evergreen shrub or small tree which is such a great wildlife plant that it could be useful for increasing the pollinators and birds in your yard. Its foliage is very fragrant, and evergreen, and the blue berries are attractive to people as well as to a whole range of birds. When birds digest the seeds, the wax is removed, so that the seeds that are thereby spread are able to germinate. This plant is also the larval host plant for Banded Hairstreak and Red Banded Hairstreak butterflies and the Polyphemus Moth, and other insects that keep a garden healthy. It is popular with landscapers because of its amazing tolerance of soil moisture variations from very dry to very wet (check out its Natural Distribution) its evergreen habit, and ease of cultivation. Wax Myrtle prunes well and is easy to maintain. This shrub is also tolerant of high winds and salt spray, and may be grown in seaside areas. It fixes atmospheric nitrogen which helps it survive in poorI soils. It is probably most often used mixed with other shrubs for hedges and privacy screens, taking advantage of a tendency to sucker. Wax Myrtle in nature occurs from the Florida Keys north to southern New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware; west to eastern Texas, southeast Oklahoma, and central Arkansas. It is first cousin to the Bayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica) whose range is more northerly, and with whom it hybridizes. Bayberry serves better in zones colder than zone 6. Wax Myrtle, by contrast, is the southern heat-loving evergreen species. Candles have historically been made from the wax on the berries of both species. Wax Myrtle was the Georgia Native Plant Society's Plant of the Year in 2002.
Pink Muhly grass is a very showy, clump-forming, warm season perennial grass that can get to two or three feet tall and just as wide, and to 4 feet or more when in flower. The stems and leaves are thin, wirelike and upright, protruding from a basal clump, sprouting up almost fountain-like. The astonishing pink plumes are silky and airy, and can be breathtaking, especially if backlit. They appear in late summer and persisting into winter, gradually giving way to tan ripe seeds that follow. On the distribution maps its occurrence is spotty from the east coast over to Texas (in NC, coastal plain and piedmont) and does not give a hint as to its character: a denizen of prairies and barrens, it is a great grass to plant for erosion prevention -- even better if you are in a dry area, as it is extremely drought tolerant once established. Like all grasses, it is untouched by deer. Here at the nursery we rejuvenate our planting with a controlled burn in spring, to which it responds beautifully. In a home landscape, cutting back in late winter to 6 inches or so before new growth begins is recommended. It is considered endangered in the wild in a number of states. A Mississippi Medallion Native Plant Winner in 2010 and voted Plant of the Year by the Garden Club of America in 2012.
Blackgum, Sourgum, Tupelo, Black Tupelo, Tupelo gum, Pepperridge
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Blackgum is a stately, medium-sized hardwood tree extremely desirable for its spectacular scarlet fall foliage and its wildlife appeal. It is adapted to a very wide range of habitats from standing water to dry slopes from east Texas to southern Maine. (In NC, it is reported in the mountains, the piedmont and the coastal plain.) Blackgum reaches up to 80 feet tall on moist sites, generally much shorter in the mountains. Its form is handsome, straight-trunked, with a wide, rounded crown, and it is an excellent choice for shade tree or street tree. Since it is tolerant of wet soils as well as dry soils, it is also a good choice for pond side. Its autumn colors -- adjectives such as "fiery" and "brilliant" are not uncommon -- occur fairly early in the fall season, calling birds to partake of the early-maturing seed crop. While the flowers are visually insignificant, they are an important nectar source for bees in late spring, and Blackgum honey is highly prized. The fruit are small and dark blue and are enjoyed by a whole host of East coast songbirds. The tree is dioecious, and female trees need a male tree in the vicinity for fruit set. According to Wikipedia, Blackgum is the longest living, non-clonal flowering plant in Eastern North America, capable of obtaining ages of over 650 years!
Scientific Name: Nyssa sylvatica
Common Names: Blackgum, Sourgum, Tupelo, Black Tupelo, Tupelo gum, Pepperridge
Southern Sundrop is a day-flowering perennial (from the Evening Primrose family) native to much of Eastern North America and reported nearly throughout NC. Its habit is upright, (two feet tall x 1.5 feet wide), a little sprawling, with an overwintering evergreen basal rosette. It's obvious value in the garden is from its numerous 4-petaled, delicate, poppy-like flowers. Bright yellow with orange stamens, the flowers appear in May and June and in our experience will continue sporadically until winter. Individual flowers are short lived, but keep coming for many weeks. It will form colonies by means of rhizomes and would do well on a sunny bank. Grown in full sun to light shade in well drained soil, Southern Sundrop is easy to grow and dependable for our hot climate It attracts birds and hummingbirds and many insect pollinators.
Scientific Name: Oenothera fruticosa L.
Common Names: Sundrops, Narrow-Leaf Evening Primrose
Sensitive Fern is a very handsome, very vigorous, running deciduous perennial fern. It is "sensitive" only to the first frost in the late fall, and perhaps to drought -- but very hardy otherwise! It is widely reported to be two- to three-foot tall and taller in wet soil, but we have never seen it taller than about 18 inches. Sensitive Fern has two types of fronds: the handsome, bright green, coarsely divided, leathery sterile fronds on long stalks, and shorter, non-green fertile (spore-bearing) fronds which brown up in the late summer and persists in the winter. The leathery texture of the sterile fronds contrasts nicely with the feathery effect of more finely divided fronds of other ferns. It tolerates dense shade and clay soils, and is very rarely touched by deer or other mammalian herbivores. It thrives in shady, evenly moist upland gardens where it will spread by both spores and rhizomes. Sensitive Fern can tolerate more sun if sufficient moisture is provided, but it will become yellowish and can become overly aggressive under these conditions. It has a very wide distribution -- not only throughout central and eastern North America, but in East Asia as well, and has naturalized in western Europe. Properly sited, Sensitive Fern is an extremely attractive, lush and vigorous groundcover and has earned the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Scientific Name: Onoclea sensibilis L.
Common Names: Sensitive fern, Bead Fern, Sympathy Fern
Cinnamon Fern is an ancient, widespread and handsome fern native to North and South America as well as to Asia. It is found in swamps and moist woodlands as well as in upland gardens, in acidic soils from wet to moist/well drained. The fiddleheads of the fertile fronds, covered with cinnamon-colored pubescence, unfurl and rise first in the spring, forming a vase-shaped display of the sterile, pinnately compound fronds. These are often 2-3 feet high, but in wet habitats they can reach 5 feet. This fern can take more sun if moisture is consistently available. The fertile fronds arising in the center remain erect after the dying back of the sterile fronds in fall. In nature, large colonies, formed by means of stout rhizomes, produce masses of wiry root material which are harvested and used as a substrate for epiphytic plants such as orchids. Osmunda fiber, used in the potting of orchids, comes from the roots of these ferns. Some sources say the common name refers to the cinnamon-colored pubescence of the fiddleheads in spring; others say it refers to the tuft of cinnamon pubescence at the base of the sterile fronds; still others attribute the name to the color of the fronds in fall, or to the color of the fertile fronds! Like for all common names, it's our choice.
Sourwood, Sorrel Tree, Lily of the Valley Tree, Titi Tree, Arrowwood, Elk Tree, Sorrel Gum, Sour Gum, and Tree Andromeda.
Sourwood is a small to medium (30-70’) deciduous, understory tree found throughout the Carolinas in mixed hardwood forests It is the only member of its genus (Oxydendrum) and has no known subspecies, varieties or forms. It is in the Ericaceae family, and its closest relatives are in the genera Pieris and Lyonia. Sourwood is beloved for several reasons. When grown in the open as a specimen, it will develop a conical or rounded crown, but in an understory situation it tends to be vertical or contorted, chasing the dapples of the sun, and will have less branching. The bark of mature specimens is distinctive, being deeply furrowed and ridged. Leaves are lustrous and shining. It flowers spectacularly in the early summer, with graceful racemes of white flowers that hang in sprays about 6" long against the deep green foliage. As if that were not enough, the foliage of the Sourwood turns all shades of red (rich maroon, scarlet or plum color) which persist late into autumn in the fall. The rich colors form a backdrop to the beautiful, persistent seed structures -- a reversal of the color pattern seen in the spring. Finally, it is a wonderful plant for attracting pollinators, and the honey made from Sourwood flowers is highly prized as one of the premium honeys of the world.
Scientific Name: Oxydendrum arboreum (L.) DC.
Common Names: Sourwood, Sorrel Tree, Lily of the Valley Tree, Titi Tree, Arrowwood, Elk Tree, Sorrel Gum, Sour Gum, and Tree Andromeda.
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Allegheny or Mountain Spurge is a short, shrubby ground cover which barely reaches a foot tall. Grown in dappled sun to full shade, it spreads by rhizomes to form a carpet of semi-toothed, crisp blue-green leaves with silvery and purple mottling developing over the growing season. The leaves of Allegheny Spurge are typically deciduous above zone 6, but can be semi-evergreen to evergreen the further south one goes within its range, in the deep south. Small, fragrant, pinkish white flowers bloom in the spring before the leaves have emerged, along terminal spikes that are a few inches long. It prefers consistently moist soil, but shows some drought tolerance when established. Allegheny Spurge is one of the best groundcovers for shade, considered more attractive than the over-used, Asiatic Pachysandra terminalis. The native species grows slowly, can be grown with other perennials and/or shrubs and will not take over like P. terminalis. This species is considered vulnerable in all of its native range. It is reported mostly in Kentucky and Tennessee (in only one county in NC) and seems to favor soils with a calcareous base. This rare and interesting perennial should play a role in any shady southern garden.
Golden Ragwort, Golden Groundsel, Butterweed or Squaw Weed, Life Root, Golden Senecio, Uncum, Uncum Root, Waw Weed, False Valerian, Cough Weed, Female Regulator, Cocash Weed, Ragweed, Staggerwort, and St. James wort.
Golden Ragwort is a very versatile flowering perennial member of the Asteraceae which we have found useful in various garden circumstances. It is native to the entire Eastern half of the U.S., and in North Carolina it is reported to occur in mountain and piedmont counties. While USDA says it occurs in "wet to mesic deciduous woodland openings" in our experience the "wet" is tolerated but is not necessary for healthy growth. This plant is rugged, providing a thick, evergreen groundcover and spring display of long lasting, 1½ - 2 foot, bright golden, upright flowers in full sun, in partial/sunny conditions, or even in bright shade. En mass, blooms can be striking These flowers attract a large number of butterflies and other pollinators and would be a good candidate for a pollinator garden, rain garden, or shady damp locations.
Scientific Name: Packera aurea (L.) Á. Löve & D. Löve
Common Names: Golden Ragwort, Golden Groundsel, Butterweed or Squaw Weed, Life Root, Golden Senecio, Uncum, Uncum Root, Waw Weed, False Valerian, Cough Weed, Female Regulator, Cocash Weed, Ragweed, Staggerwort, and St. James wort.
Purple Passion Flower is an attractive, fast -growing perennial vine reported to occur in most counties of NC and in most Southeastern states. Climbing by means of axillary tendrils, it grows to 12 feet (some say up to 25 feet, but we have not seen that) and is naturally found in sunny, recently disturbed areas. It has a fascinating, complex flower structure which roughly looks like a purple ring with a yellow cross in the center. The fruits of the Purple Passion Flower, called Maypops, are egg-shaped and green, turning yellow when ripe. The fruit is edible, either fresh or cooked up into a jelly or jam. This plant also has medicinal properties and has been used in the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. Purple Passion Flower is a larval host for a number of butterflies. It has always been recognized as special, and the Ocoee River is named for the Cherokee word for this plant. Since it spreads aggressively by rhizomes, it should only be grown in naturalized areas. With it's vibrant, quirky and colorful flowerhead, the Passion Flower is a beautiful and interesting vine to add to a wild garden.
This herbaceous perennial is most rewarding to grow. From an attractive persistent basal rosette, vigorous, sturdy stems with dark green foliage rise to about 3 feet, terminating in branched panicles of numerous, showy, bright white, 1-inch tubular flowers which last a long time for an early season plant (spring to early summer). The tubular flower structure attracts long-tongued bees and hummingbirds to the garden, and after the spent stems have been cut away, the basal rosette, dark green with accents of red, is a welcome winter groundcover. Only a few counties in the NC mountains report this plant; it is much more common both in the north central and northeast states and just the other side of the Mississippi from Louisiana up to Wisconsin; (mostly absent to states south of us). Indigenous to dry or mesic prairies, savannas, edges and clearings of floodplain or upland forests, it also thrives in disturbed fields and along railroad rights of way. In cultivation, White Beardtongue is easy to grow in full or partial sun, preferring well-drained, acid, loamy and sandy soils. However, it is adaptable and will tolerate clay and high pH as well.
Scientific Name: Penstemon digitalis Nutt. ex Sims
Common Names: Foxglove Penstemon (or Beardtongue), Talus Slope Penstemon (or Beardtongue), Mississippi Penstemon (or Beardtongue), Smooth White Penstemon (or Beardtongue)
Garden Phlox is a staple of the late summer and early fall garden and 'Jeana' is a super-rewarding cultivar of it to grow. It provides wonderful color with its bright pink, aromatic flower clusters, attractive to people, butterflies and hummingbirds alike. Named after a woman in Nashville who identified this genotype, 'Jeana' is most famous for its extra long bloom time (July-October) and for excellent resistance to powdery mildew. However, we feel that its real claim to fame should be that is is covered with butterflies at all times throughout its bloom period. 'Jeana' thrives in full sun to part shade, shade in the afternoon being best. Even though resistant to powdery mildew, 'Jeana' should be spaced for maximum air circulation, and prevented from drying out with deep mulch. The USDA distribution map linked below is for the species, Phlox paniculata.
Eastern Blue Phlox, Louisiana Phlox, Blue Woodland Phlox, Sweet William, Wild Sweet William
Wild Sweet William or Woodland Phlox is a beautiful and beloved wildflower that can brighten a shady area in need of spring color, -- ranging from a soft exquisite true blue to lavender and occasionally, white. It occupies a position between the low groundcover phloxes and the tall garden phloxes. During its vegetative growth, Woodland Phlox remains a low, sprawling, deep green, groundcovering colony (even in winter), usually remaining shorter than a foot. However, when it begins to flower -- and it is a valuable early season nectar source -- it sends up stalks that can reach 18 inches or more of the superb, soft blue, supporting many long-tongued pollinators. These flowering stalks usually last between 4 to 6 weeks before dying back, leaving the non-flowering shoots to accumulate energy for the next season's show. Woodland Phlox does self sow as well as rooting at the nodes of prostrate stems, making it ideal for naturalizing, but it is not difficult to contain. Although it is a woodland plant, some exposure to dappled sun will keep P. divaricata free of mildew in the garden. Planted in rich, moist, organic soil in partial shade locations, this long lived species can be a stunning addition to the garden or naturalized area.
Scientific Name: Phlox divaricata
Common Names: Eastern Blue Phlox, Louisiana Phlox, Blue Woodland Phlox, Sweet William, Wild Sweet William
Speckled Phlox is an upright, clumping, herbaceous perennial with beautiful bright clusters of small, aromatic, tubular flowers. It grows in moist meadows, along riverbanks and in bottomland woodland openings in the eastern mountains and piedmont and in the midwest, although it is not really common in the wild. Generally unbranched, the sturdy stems of Speckled Phlox average between one and three feet tall and are marked with distinctive red spots (a diagnostic character). In the summer, the flower clusters appear in various shades of pink, lavender or white on terminal panicles, and last up to two months. They are pleasantly scented and are known to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators. Speckled phlox is considered less susceptible to powdery mildew than Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata). With tall sturdy stems, Speckled Phlox makes a great cut flower. It prefers full sun to part shade and average to moist soil conditions. It is sensitive to drought and should be watered if rainfall is scarce. Speckled Phlox will spread slowly by rhizomes and self seeding, but is easily controlled.
Phlox nivalis, or Traliling Phlox, is a low growing, early flowering, sun-loving species of Phlox which presents as a mound-forming mat of stiff, needle-like, evergreen foliage. Although reported in all three NC zones (mountains, piedmont, coastal plain) its strongest presence appears to be in sandhill and dry habitats of the central counties of NC and South Carolina. Hence it is tolerant of dry conditions. It forms a 6-inch mat, with woody trailing stems -- some call it a subshrub. In May and June it produces typical Phlox flowers (five flattened petal lobes fused at the base in a long tube) with blossoms from purple to pink to white, usually pink, with nectar guide markings at the base of the petal lobes. What differentiates Trailing Phlox from other groundcover Phloxes, for instance P. subulata, is its semi-woody nature (P. subulata is entirely herbaceous); it flowers several weeks ahead of P. subulata; and in details of its floral structure (see Flowers). Also, P. nivalis prefers acidic, sandy soil whereas P. subulata prefers rocky, more alkaline soil. Trailing Phlox is a tough and hardy groundcover that draws many pollinators, including hummers, and lifts the color display of the garden in early summer.
Scientific Name: Phlox nivalis
Common Names: Sweet Trailing Phlox, Pineland Phlox
Phlox stolonifera, or Creeping Phlox, is a low-growing Phlox found in rich deciduous woodlands, along stream banks and shaded rocky slopes mostly in the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Unlike the other ground-hugging Phloxes, therefore (which hale from more xeric locales), this one thrives in shady and semi-shady niches on rich, humus-rich but well drained soils. Like all the Phloxes, the flowers of Creeping Phlox are long-tubular, with a flattened presentation of the five petal lobes at the top. Consequently, they support long-tongued pollinators, mostly butterflies and even hummingbirds. Like Phlox divaricata, Creeping Phlox has both fertile and infertile (vegetative) stems. The vegetative stems form colonies from short rhizomes and by rooting at the nodes of decumbent shoots, which also branch to form flowering or fertile shoots. The flowering fertile shoots die back after producing seed, and the infertile non-flowering stems persist through the growing season, providing groundcover and fueling the following season’s growth. 'Sherwood Purple' is a reliable blue/purple genotype of Phlox stolonifera, and the USDA plant distribution map linked below is for the species.
Moss Pink, Moss Phlox, Mountain Phlox, Creeping Phlox, Rock Pink
Phlox subulata 'Amazing Grace' is a cultivar of Phlox subulata ssp. subulata (see that entry). The flowers of 'Amazing Grace' are bright white with the tiny golden exserted stamens closely surrounded by small maroon markings (nectar guides) at the base of the petal lobes. The USDA plant distribution map linked below is for Phlox subulata ssp. subulata.
Scientific Name: Phlox subulata ‘Amazing Grace’
Common Names: Moss Pink, Moss Phlox, Mountain Phlox, Creeping Phlox, Rock Pink
Moss Pink, Moss Phlox, Mountain Phlox, Creeping Phlox, Rock Pink
Phlox subulata, often called Moss Pink even though it comes in as many colors as the other groundcover Phloxes, is a mat-forming, sun-loving, semi-evergreen herbaceous perennial found in rocky and sandy barrens from New York to Michigan and south to Georgia and Louisiana. Leaves are needle-like or linear, and the vegetative mat is only about 6 inches tall. The flowers are five-lobed as is typical of Phloxes, with notched outer margins and fused at the base into a narrow tube containing the floral parts, including the golden yellow exserted stamens. It withstands hot, dry locations better than some of the other Phloxes, and contributes hugely to the landscape with a sweep of fabulous color (your choice!) for 3-4 weeks in spring and vigorous ground-covering thereafter. Phlox subulata tolerates thin, poor soils, and is even recommended for remediation of difficult, disturbed sites.
Scientific Name: Phlox subulata L. ssp. subulata
Common Names: Moss Pink, Moss Phlox, Mountain Phlox, Creeping Phlox, Rock Pink
Fevertree is a large, graceful, deciduous shrub or small tree valued in the landscape for its rich green foliage and a long lasting display of beautiful pink in midseason. While the actual flowers of the Fevertree are greenish yellow and inconspicuous, these are surrounded by large, showy, whitish to deep rose sepals (usually pink), which provide a splash of welcome cool pink in the heat of high summer. Fevertree is endemic to Southern Georgia and Northern Florida, and to the southern tip of South Carolina (it grows nowhere else), and is considered threatened. Its habitat is on the margins of swamps, bays and streams. It can develop root rot in sustained wet conditions but grows well and suckers less in rich, moist, well drained upland soil. This is one of the great gifts from our Deep South (along with Magnolia virginiana var. 'australis' and Magnolia ashei) -- a beautiful if short-lived plant. (We have had several in the ground for at least 10 years and they are thriving.) It can sometimes grow to thirty feet but its mature height is usually on the order of about fifteen feet. The inner bark of the Fevertree is extremely bitter but is proven to treat fevers, the source of several of its common names. The fruit is a dry capsule.
Mayapple, Indian apple, Hog apple, Pomme de mai, Mandrake Root, American Mandrake, Wild Mandrake, Ground Lemon
The Mayapple is a foot-tall herbaceous perennial that grows in open mixed deciduous hardwood forests and alluvial woodlands and meadows in much of eastern U.S. It is valued for what it does best, which is to form dense colonies in part to full shade, usually from the rhizomes of a single plant, though it can also spread by seed. You would never know that these plants flower in April and May: they coyly hide their flowers, which are quite showy, away from general view under their palmately lobed, parasol-like foliage. Mayapple is a spring ephemeral, going dormant by mid- to late-summer and reappearing only the next spring. Turtles eat the fruit. The rhizome is known as Mandrake Root, and is sold on the internet for its "Magical attributes: protection, fertility, money, love, and health".
Scientific Name: Podophyllum peltatum L.
Common Names: Mayapple, Indian apple, Hog apple, Pomme de mai, Mandrake Root, American Mandrake, Wild Mandrake, Ground Lemon
Jacob's Ladder is a sweet herbaceous perennial wildflower not common in N.C. (only in 2 counties), but native to rich, moist woodlands in much of Eastern North America. The flowers are a dainty, bright shot of blue on 1 -1.5 foot high spray of foliage in a spring garden. From April to June, tubular clusters of small blooms top delicate stems with pinnately compound leaves suggestive of a ladder's shape. Although it is a spring ephemeral, it seems to persist vegetatively well into the summer. Best grown in light shade or dappled sun in moist, well drained, humusy soil, it can tolerate more light if it's not too dry. This is not an aggresive plant, but since it tends to spread by self-seeding around the garden, it may develop into a light ground cover. It is reported to be deer resistant, and it attracts bees.
Scientific Name: Polemonium reptans L.
Common Names: Spreading Jacob's-ladder, Greek Valerian
Smooth Solomon's Seal, Small Solomon's Seal, Great Solomon's Seal, Lady's Seal, Sealwort
Solomon's Seal is a graceful plant which enriches the woodland haitat without competing with the larger specimens there. It grows slowly but surely in the deer-protected understory to be a beautiful show throughout the growing season. The individual plant is an arching single stem with alternate, shiny leaves and pairs of tiny, bell-shaped white flowers dangling from each node in spring. By the end of summer, the blue berries appear and the foliage turns deep yellow. Solomon's Seal spreads by rhizomes and by seeds, forming large swaths. It is beautiful growing with Mitchella repens. The rhizomes are tuber-like and are supposed to taste like potatoes, and were apparently consumed by early American settlers. The young shoots can also be boiled and served like asparagus.
Common in forested stream bottoms and damp slopes and ravines across Eastern North America, Christmas fern is the workhorse fern for gardens and naturalized areas in the mid-Atlantic region. It is a sturdy, attractive, medium sized (2 foot) fern which is evergreen (though the fronds fall flat on the ground in the winter) and tolerant of both very moist and somewhat dry conditions. It will thrive in humusy, well drained soils from partly sunny to full shade (bright) and will tolerate even more sunshine if sufficient moisture is available. In the spring new silvery, scaled fiddleheads emerge from the center of the flattened winter mat and slowly grow into upright, leathery, lance shaped, pinnately compound leaves. In some circles, fiddleheads are eagerly collected and cooked in the spring, but Christmas fern fiddleheads, while technically edible, do not feature largely in this tradition. Christmas fern is easily identified by the presence of a notch at the base of each leaflet (pinna), as it resembles the shape of a Christmas stocking.
Scientific Name: Polystichum acrostichoides (Michx.) Schott var. acrostichoides
The Black cherry is an important southern tree for both wild life and commercially. Young black cherries tend to have a conical crown but when given enough room, the mature trees develop long limbs and arching branches giving it an oval shaped crown. The Black cherry's fall foliage is a golden yellow. The black cherry tree is very important to wildlife and the flowers attract large numbers of pollinators such as butterflies and native bees. The fruit of the black cherry starts red and ripens to a dark black between August and October. Beloved by over 30 native bird species and many more mammals, the berries are an important food source for wild life. The wood is also prized for industrial purposes and is used for making furniture, toys and scientific instruments. Historically, people have also used the bark to make a cough syrup and the berries can be used to make jelly or wine.
Scientific Name: Prunus serotina Ehrh.
Common Names: Black cherry, Rum cherry, Wild black cherry
Virginia Mountain Mint is an herbaceous perennial of the Mint family found mostly in north central and north eastern U.S. Two counties in NC are among a very small handful of counties reporting this plant in the southeast. Nevertheless, we are respectful of its potential value in our landscape for a number of reasons. It grows well here, in full sun/part shade with medium to moist soils; slender, branching stems support white-to-pale-lavender flowers at about 3' in height which smell great and attract crowds of pollinators (bees, wasps, flies, small butterflies, beetles) during its very long bloom time from mid- to late-summer; it is a tough groundcover capable of holding a steep bank; and finally, like other members of this family, the narrow, opposite, simple leaves of Mountain Mint may be used in salads or to make tea. We have not found anything to dislike about this super-useful plant.
Scientific Name: Pycnanthemum virginianum (L.) T. Dur. & B.D. Jacks. ex B.L. Rob. & Fernald
Swamp Chestnut oak is a tall tightly crowned oak with a very large trunk. The common name of the chestnut oak comes from the resemblance of the leaves to those of a chestnut. Generally growing between fifty and one hundred feet tall, the Swamp Chestnut Oak has been know to reach heights of up to one hundred and fifty feet. The bark of mature trees is a distinctive light grey and deeply ridged. The leaves of the Swamp Chestnut Oak turn bright yellow to scarlet in the fall. Alternately know as the Basket Oak historically the fibers in this oak were used to make baskets used in the cotton industry. The acorns of the Swamp Chestnut Oak are sweet and can be eaten raw. The acorns are an important winter food source for birds, squirrels, deer and cows which have lead some to call it the Cow oak.
Scientific Name: Quercus michauxii Nutt.
Common Names: Swamp Chestnut Oak, Basket Oak, Cow Oak, Chestnut Oak, Michaux Oak
Dwarf Coastal Azalea, one of the smaller native azaleas at about 6 feet (with more exposure to light, usually on the order of 4 feet), occurs in sand hill and coastal communities from southern New Jersey to Georgia. It is adorned in spring (April, May) with clusters of wonderfully aromatic, funnel-shaped flowers, with gracefully exserted stamens, usually bright white with pink accents, emerging before or with the leaves. R. atlanticum is a hardy, colonial shrub, preferring well drained, lighter soils and partial shade. In heavier soils it spreads less aggressively. Its shorter stature than other native azaleas makes this a very manageable plant for woodlines, foundation plantings, or garden edges. It often hybridizes or intergrades in the wild with R. periclymenoides in the north and R. canescens in the south. The blooms of R. atlanticum are similar to, although larger than those of Swamp Azalea (R. viscosum), but these latter open after the leaves emerge, from late May through June. R atlanticum was the winner of the 2016 Rhododendron of the Year award (Mid-Atlantic region American Rhododendron Society). R. atlanticum is much used in breeding programs.
The Oconee or Piedmont Azalea is a beautiful deciduous shrub native to woods, slopes, sandhills and edges of stream banks in a few counties in the piedmont of South Carolina and Georgia. It is easy to remember this shrub: Native to a hot area, it is exceptionally heat and drought tolerant for a Rhododendron, and its blooms, which appear in mid-April, take on a range of "hot" colors from reds to oranges to yellows to golds, often several of these at once. Reaching a height of about 8 feet, with an upright habit, R. flammeum is happy in part sun to shade and prefers acidic, organic soils. It is said to resist drought when well established. Piedmont Azalea blooms will bring vibrant color to a shady shrub border, and will attract hummingbirds and butterflies in the bargain.
The Pinxter Azalea is a deciduous native azalea famous for it's stunning flowers all the way from New Hampshire to Alabama. In NC, it is present in most counties of the state except for the highest mountain counties and the swampiest counties in the northeast corner. Pinxter Azalea's funnel-shaped flowers, with elegantly long exserted stamens, occur in large terminal clusters ranging from white to all shades of pink. Flowers start to open before leaf expansion, drawing many pollinators, including hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies. Pinxter is very hardy, tolerating most soil types as long as they are organic, well drained and acidic, and it thrives in dappled sun or partial shade or even in bright, indirect light. It lights up a woodland garden!
Swamp Azalea is a shrub up to 8 ft tall at maturity with an upright, loosely branched, multi-stemmed habit and a tantalizing, musky floral scent in late spring. Clusters of very fragrant bright white (often with pink accents), trumpet-shaped flowers with five petals, slender tubes and elegant, exserted stamens appear in late May and persisting into July, after the dark, shiny foliage has emerged. Attracting all kinds of pollinators and offering habitat to birds, Swamp Azalea is the last of the spring-blooming native azaleas, followed then by R. Serrulatum (which is actually closely related) and R. prunifolium (Plum Leaf Azalea). Native to swampy areas in the coastal plain, it does tolerate somewhat wet conditions, but not standing water -- it prefers moist, well drained, acidic soils, in full sun (if sufficiently moist) to filtered shade. In the autumn, the foliage can develop excellent fall color. Swamp Azalea ranges from the southernmost tip of Maine down and around to East Texas, preferring “damp ditches, swamp margins, sandy fields and dry ridges”. Beautiful, tough, aromatic and adaptable! What's not to like about this shrub!
Rhus aromatica, or Fragrant Sumac, is a deciduous, thicket-forming shrub found in dry, open woods in most states of eastern U.S. (In NC, it is found mostly in piedmont counties.) Fragrant Sumac has a variable, sprawling, irregular form. It is reported by some to grow as tall as 12 feet in some areas, more like 6 feet in others. 'Gro-low' is a selection which reliably grows to only 2 to 3 feet at maturity by 6 to 8 feet wide. (The USDA distribution map, link below, is for the species.) However, 'Gro-low maintains the other, desirable, characters of the species. For instance, the aromatic foliage is lustrous and attractive and turns beautiful shades of golds and reds and purples in fall. Small, yellow female flowers appear before leaves have expanded in the spring, attracting butterflies and moths and other insects (the male catkins are produced later in the season and overwinter). The dark, hairy, red berries which follow are popular with birds. Gro-low's roots are deep and highly branched and it is often recommended for stabilizing a bank. Its nature is to form colonies by tip-rooting as well as by suckering. Grown singly in a mixed border, it is not difficult to control its spread, but it shines as a mass planting or ground cover.
This natural variety of Black-Eyed Susan is found in meadows and on roadsides in the eastern United States from New York to the Florida panhandle and west to Illinois and Mississippi. It is a lovely wildflower, hugely useful in the garden. The plant is 2-3' high x 1.5 - 2' wide (a little taller than R. fulgida 'Goldsturm'), with glossy, clean foliage. 'Fulgida' blooms vigorously from late June into October (is longer blooming than 'Goldsturm') with 2-inch flower heads (smaller than 'Goldsturm') consisting of golden ray flowers with chocolate brown centers. It is an easy-to-grow perennial in average to dry soil, in full sun to partial shade. It is heat- and humidity-tolerant, as well as tolerant of urban conditions, and resistant to many pests. It is a vigorous grower, spreading by seeds and runners. A super-satisfactory color accent or mass planting in a meadow as it is a good cut flower, attracts all kinds of pollinators, and Goldfinches, juncos and other birds feed on the seed heads. It is easily divided in late fall or spring when it becomes full, to maintain good air circulation within the clumps.
Scientific Name: Rudbeckia fulgida ‘fulgida’
Common Names: Autumn Black-Eyed Susan, Orange Coneflower
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Black-Eyed Susan 'Goldsturm' -- sometimes called "Orange Coneflower" even though it is neither orange nor an Echinacea -- is one of the most popular, tried and true garden perennials. These beautiful golden flowers are easy to grow in full sun (though it can take some shade), in dryish to medium, well drained soils of various types, showing some tolerance of dry conditions when established. Spectacular in drifts, it is wonderfully prolific, making more of itself by seeds as well as through runners (though its seedlings will not be true 'Goldsturm'). Straight stems make these super-showy flowers excellent for cutting. Importantly in the South, it is heat- and humidity-tolerant and resistant to many pests. ‘Goldsturm’ is a slightly more compact plant (to 2.5' tall vs. 3.5') with larger and brighter flowers (to 4" diameter vs. 2.5 - 3") than the species or variety. These flowers attract many bees and other pollinators from mid-July through early fall, and birds love the seeds in fall. R. fulgida var. 'sullivantii' was the 1988 NC Wildflower of the Year (NCBG) and received the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1993; 'Goldsturm' was voted the 1999 Perennial Plant of the Year (PPA).
Common Elderberry, Black Elder, Mexican Elderberry, Tapiro, Sauco
Elderberry is a vigorous, beautiful shrub commonly observed on roadsides and in hedgerows and disturbed areas in most NC counties and most states as well. It is a a vigorous grower, 5-12' in height and spread, with arching branches which support numerous flat-topped white flower clusters in mid-summer. These retain their beauty as they turn golden brown as the season progresses. Finally dark blue-black berries are produced in drooping clusters on pinkish purple stems. Elderberry is a great looking addition to a naturalized landscape, but it is also a wonderful starter plant for those interested in incorporating edible native plants into their homestead. The flowers are edible (elderflower fritters), but most folks grow the plant for its berries, which are famous for being high in nutrients and antioxidants. They are used to make juice, jams and jellies, and of course Elderberry wine. While a vigorous grower, it responds well to heavy pruning. Individual shrubs are relatively short lived, but new plants from root sprouts are readily available for replacement. Easily maintained and problem free, Elderberry attracts numerous pollinators and hungry birds and even provides nesting materials for birds. It is a remarkable, useful, and beautiful plant, often taken for granted and casually destroyed in spite of its great value for wildlife.
Scientific Name: Sambucus canadensis (synonym Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis)
Common Names: Common Elderberry, Black Elder, Mexican Elderberry, Tapiro, Sauco
Bloodroot, Bloodwort, Redroot, Red puccoon, Pauson, Tetterwort
A bright spring ephemeral and one of the first flowers to emerge in the brown, still-dormant forest, the Bloodroot is an exciting harbinger of wonderful things to come. The delicate white flower with prominent golden stamens emerges on a single stalk arising from a woody rhizome, opening during the day and closing at night. This occurs before the tree canopy above has formed. As a flower emerges, the deeply lobed leaf associated with it begins to unfurl. The attractive foliage grows larger and persists until mid summer when the plant returns to dormancy. Each fragrant flower is generally short lived (only a few days) but colonies - and floral displays - can be quite large and long lasting. The colonies are enlarged not only by rhizomes but also by seed. The seeds of Bloodroot have fleshy, sugary appendages known as elaiasomes which are attractive to ants. Ants carry the seeds away, significant distances. The common name is in reference to the sap produced by the Bloodroot's woody rhizome as well as its foliage, which is a deep 'blood' red. This sap is poisonous if ingested, and care must be taken handling these plants (seriously!)
Scientific Name: Sanguinaria canadensis L.
Common Names: Bloodroot, Bloodwort, Redroot, Red puccoon, Pauson, Tetterwort
'Dixie Lace' Pitcherplant is a hybrid, introduced by local NC botanists Larry Mellichamp and Rob Gardner. Technically, the lineage is: (Sarracenia leucophylla x Sarracenia rubra ssp. wherryi) x (Sarracenia psittacina x Sarracenia purpurea). A cross of two hybrid crosses! But do not be dismayed, the genes are local as all Sarracenias are North American in origin. (The USDA plant distribution link below is for the genus Sarracenia.) In mid-spring, there are 18-inch flower stalks with dangling maroon red flowers. Then there is lovely maroon veining and a curved hood on each emerging pitcher, growing into in a wonderful, fat clump of colorful pitchers about one foot in height, but 18" wide. Insects and spiders are attracted to and passively "captured" in the pitchers, where their soft parts are digested enzymatically. Sarracenias evolved in habitats low in nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients which are therefore derived instead from insect prey. Cultivated pitcherplants should never be fertilized. 'Dixie Lace' can easily be grown in a container in peatmoss and perlite or sand, in full sun, and watered with deionized water (to control salt accumulation), as long as it is allowed to undergo a cold spell in the winter when it is dormant and is not permitted to dry out.
'Mardi Gras' is one of the most beautiful of the pitcher plants -- an herbaceous perennial presenting as a sturdy clump of modified leaves (pitchers) averaging 1' tall. The pitcher is an insect trap, consisting of an undulating, often flared, frilly hood with a striking pattern of deep rose veins and white or pale green interveinal spots atop a hollow, green throat or tube. Like all pitcher plants, 'Mardi Gras' thrives in full sun. Red, fragrant flowers appear in the spring but the best show is the new pitchers emerging continuously throughout the growing season. Insects and spiders are attracted to and passively "captured" in the pitchers where their soft parts are digested and their exoskeletons accumulate through the season. Kids of all ages are fascinated to see the little bodies pile up in there. 'Mardi Gras' and other pitcher plants can easily be grown in containers in peatmoss and perlite or sand, watered with deionized water (to control salt accumulation). When winter dormancy occurs (the pitchers turn brown and dry out) they should be allowed to undergo some cold, and roots should be kept moist. In spring the old, full pitchers can be clipped off in anticipation of a new season of rampant carnivory. 'Mardi Gras', introduced by UNC botanists Larry Mellichamp and Rob Gardner, is a cross of two hybrids, the lineage is as follows: (Sarracenia leucophylla x purpurea) x (Sarracenia leucophylla x psittacina). All are North American. The USDA distribution map (see the link below) is for the genus Sarracenia.
Yellow Pitcherplant is an herbaceous perennial up to 3' tall found in sandy bogs in the coastal plain regions of Virginia and south to Florida and west to Alabama. Like all pitcherplants, S. flava thrives in full sun. The long throat or tube is quite slender, and the hood is reflexed, the orifice quite open, its lip often spouted. There are several variants in terms of the colors displayed, which fade somewhat if grown in shadier spots. Early spring S. flava blooms are yellow and have strong, musty odor. Ideally, Yellow Pitcherplant should be sited in an established bog. However, it can easily be grown in a container in peat moss and sand or perlite, and watered with deionized water (to control salt accumulation), as long as it is allowed to undergo cold during its winter dormancy and is not permitted to dry out. Insects and spiders are attracted to the pitchers, which are colorful and fragrant and modified to then entrap the small creatures. The soft parts are digested enzymatically within the traps, supplying the plant with locally scarce nitrogen and phosphorus. Pitcher plants should never be fertilized!
Scientific Name: Sarracenia flava L.
Common Names: Yellow Pitcherplant, Trumpets, Watches, Biscuit-flower
White-Topped Pitcherplant, Crimson Pitcherplant, Purple Trumpet-leaf or White Pitcherplant
White-topped Pitcherplant, according to Wikipedia, is not a N.C. native, but an introduction, actually endemic to Deep South gulf coastal areas. It is a popular pitcherplant because of its lovely coloration -- with white pigmentation, delicately cut by green or red veins, on the hood and the uppermost part of the otherwise green tube or trap. Relatively slender pitchers are produced in spring and (more vigorously) in fall, dying back in winter. The lid or hood is frilly and erect or ascending, but not reflexed; the lip of the pitcher is large and often spouted, the orifice quite open. The flowers produced in springtime are red to maroon (matching the venation on the hood), dangling like an upside down umbrella from a leafless stalk. Having evolved in low nutrient, mucky coastal bogs of the deep South, these plants digest the soft parts of insect bodies caught in the traps to meet their nitrogen and phosphorus requirements. If not grown in such a bog they can be grown in containers, using peat moss and sand or perlite as substrate and deionized water (wet but not standing water), to avoid salt buildup. Of course one must never fertilize pitcherplants! They are fun and not difficult to grow if their needs for full sun during the growing season and cold temperatures in winter are met. S. leucophylla is threatened in its native habitat by development.
Scientific Name: Sarracenia leucophylla Raf.
Common Names: White-Topped Pitcherplant, Crimson Pitcherplant, Purple Trumpet-leaf or White Pitcherplant
The Hooded Pitcherplant, native to the bogs of NC, SC, GA and FL, is a smallish pitcherplant, 8-16 inches tall. The pitcher consists of a green tube or trap which expands gradually from base up towards the hood; then, in an unbroken line, the hood arches smoothly, closely and protectively over the orifice of the trap. There are pronounced white and/or translucent, window-like "panes" on the back of the hood and upper trap. These "fenestrations" permit light to enter the otherwise dark interior of the trap, possibly helping to lure in the critters. In April and May, a round, clear yellow, odorless flower drops from a leafless scape or flower stalk, generally shorter than the pitcher. While the pitcher of S. minor is distinctive, it is similar to other pitcherplants in its habit of pitchers arising as a rosette from a base, spreading by means of rhizomes and being effective at trapping and digesting nitrogenous nourishment from the soft parts of small insect bodies, especially ants. In cultivation it is somewhat drier than others of its family, but if grown in a container it still requires to be kept moist with deionized water and exposed to cold winter temperatures as well.
Purple Pitcherplant, Flytrap, Northern Pitcherplant, Turtle Socks, or Side-saddle Flower
Sarracenia purpurea, or Purple Pitcherplant, differs from (most, not all) other species in this genus in several ways. Its pitchers are decumbent rather than upright, squatty and with a large lip; they are open to the sky instead of being protected by a hood, and are therefore probably full of water at any particular time; the hood is more vertical, with beautiful venation, and it is outfitted with stiff hairs oriented towards the orifice; the traps generally function for two seasons rather than one; and finally, the range of this species is orders of magnitude greater than the ranges of other species. It is found not only in the Southeastern states but also the Northeast, Midwest and all across Canada to British Columbia! The species is divided into two subspecies, S. purpurea ssp. purpurea (from New Jersey north) and S. purpurea ssp. venosa (New Jersey south). Also, its strategy for obtaining critical nutrients from its prey differs. While its capturing mechanism is not as efficient as it is in the upright pitcherplant species, the prey that do fall into the water are digested most efficiently! Young pitchers of S. purpurea produce digestive enzymes, but during the second season digestion is greatly aided by a whole community of microscopic creatures cultured in the water (see Wikipedia!). Nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, are absorbed. Like the more upright pitcherplants, these plants are sun- and water-lovers, and if not grown in a pond can easily be grown in a container of peat moss and perlite or sand, watered with distilled or deionized water, in full sun.
Scientific Name: Sarracenia purpurea L.
Common Names: Purple Pitcherplant, Flytrap, Northern Pitcherplant, Turtle Socks, or Side-saddle Flower
Although the Sweet Pitcherplant has a fragrant, maroon-colored flower at the top of a leafless stem, usually taller than the pitchers (about 10 inches), it is not the flower that fascinates people. The hollow pitchers of this insectivorous perennial plant are leaves modified to passively capture small animal creatures. Insects attracted to the colorful leaves cannot crawl out of the pitcher because of downward pointing hairs within, and they eventually fall into the water and are digested by plant enzymes. Nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus, are absorbed. These plants are water-lovers and if not grown in a pond can easily be grown in distilled or deionized water in full sun in a container (no fertilizer!). Sweet Pitcherplant has a tendency to lay its leaves along the ground, even in full sun.
'Daina's Delight' is one of the largest and showiest of the carnivorous pitcherplants we sell at Cure Nursery, with beautiful pitchers up to 3 feet tall. The pitcher consists of a green to rusty red throat or tube, that begins the season deep red but later sports a striking white, ruffled hood (pinkish in the sun) with bold red venation. Although 'Daina's Delight' is a hybrid (Sarracenia leucophylla x Sarracenia x willisii) developed in New Zealand, it's genes are local as the genus Sarracenia is endemic to North America! The flowers of 'Daina's Delight' are a deep red and dangle from a tall, upright stem, drooping down to form an upside down umbrella shape. Sarracenias evolved to thrive in nutrient poor habitats and meet their nitrogen and phosphorus needs from the insects trapped in the pitchers. 'Daina's Delight' is easily grown in 50/50 peat moss and perlite or sand kept reliably moist with rainwater or deionized water (NO fertilizer), in full sun out of doors, or in a sunny bog garden where it can have access to winter temperatures. Some folks grow Sarracenias in pots indoors (set in a tray of water) and overwinter them in an unheated garage or outbuilding.
Blue-Eyed Grass is a graceful and fetching herbaceous perennial in the Iris family which resembles a small bunch grass -- until it flowers. Blue, 6-parted, with pointed tepals (petals and sepals) with golden centers, the distinctly not-grassy flowers are held on flattened, branched flower stalks just a bit above the straplike leaves. A small proportion, however, appear white. In nature it is found in meadows and on sunny roadsides in Eastern North America. A good early-season pollinator plant, Blue-Eyed Grass can be used to advantage along pathways, in borders, in rock gardens, and woodland meadows. It tolerates light shade, but full sun supports the most abundant flowering. It also tolerates some drought, but it prefers moist, well drained relatively lean soil and only shallow mulching. It is not a long lived perennial, but provides us with root sprouts to continue its delightful presence in the garden.
Wreath (or Bluestem) Goldenrod could have been so named for its plant form, growing to 2-3' in gracefully arching, mostly unbranched shoots with bright flowers positioned in the axils of leaves all along the stems. It is smaller and less aggressive than most of its cousins, and more suitable for cultivation in many garden settings. This species of Goldenrod provides yellow accents in the full sun garden and meadows but also in somewhat shadier -- and drier -- locations than can be tolerated by other Goldenrods. Not many flowers tolerate dry shade! This one is a fine cut flower, is attractive to many insects, and the seeds are popular with birds. It can form small colonies, but is not remotely invasive. Wreath Goldenrod is found in open woods and clearings throughout eastern North America, and in NC occurs more in the piedmont and foothills than in the mountain or southeastern coastal plain counties. Goldenrod pollen is not airborne and does NOT cause hay fever.
Scientific Name: Solidago caesia L.
Common Names: Wreath Goldenrod, Bluestem Goldenrod, Woodland Goldenrod, Axillary Goldenrod
Sweet Goldenrod, Anise-scented Goldenrod, Fragrant Goldenrod, Blue Mountain Tea
Sweet Goldenrod is found in open woods and savannahs in coastal states from New Hampshire south to Florida and over to east Texas, and inland as far as Missouri. (In northern Florida there is a separate subspecies, Chapmanii.) It occurs in most of the counties of NC. Sweet Goldenrod grows to 2-3 feet in height and 1-2 feet across, with an anise or licorice scent, released by its leaves when crushed, that readily differentiates it from all its Solidago cousins. It tolerates poor, dry soils and light shade, but performs best in full sun and is a graceful presence in both the sunny garden and for difficult dry, shaded woodland garden locations. Bright golden flowers appear in August-September in orderly rows on the upper side of the plume branches. It is well behaved, unaggressive and drought tolerant, and the sessile leaves even provide fresh flavor for tea. Like other Goldenrods, Sweet Goldenrod attracts a range of flying critters to the yard, birds to butterflies to bees, providing high quality nutrition for a range of insect pollinators. And just in case you missed the memo, Goldenrods do not cause Hay Fever -- that is a response to windborne pollen from species such as Ragweed.
Scientific Name: Solidago odora Aiton spp. odora
Common Names: Sweet Goldenrod, Anise-scented Goldenrod, Fragrant Goldenrod, Blue Mountain Tea
Indian Pink, Woodland Pinkroot, Pink Root, Worm Grass
This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.
Indian Pink is a beautiful and unique herbaceous perennial which is currently enjoying great popularity among native plant gardeners. This is a good thing as North Carolina lists it as Endangered and Natureserve lists it as Critically Imperiled! This is a small, shade-loving plant, growing no higher than 30 inches, and it is late to appear in the spring. It emerges as a clump of unbranched stems with pairs of sessile, opposite leaves, supporting terminal panicles of very unusual and striking scarlet (not pink!), tubular flowers topped with bright yellow, star-shaped lobes. As one might surmise from the color and shape of the flowers, Indian Pink is a hummingbird magnet. The seed pods, later in the summer, explode, shooting seeds a good distance away. Germination rate must be fairly high, as where one plant is, whole loose colonies can be found, at the borders of rich, moist woods.
Scientific Name: Spigelia marilandica (L.) L.
Common Names: Indian Pink, Woodland Pinkroot, Pink Root, Worm Grass
Our area (NC and surrounding states) represents the southern tip of the range for this shrub, which is much more common to the north. In NC and Va it occurs in some mountain counties and some coastal plain/lower piedmont counties. The common name "Steeplebush" reflects it's pink steeple-like blooms in late summer. The wetland indicator status for Steeplebush is FACW, as it is mostly found in wetlands, but can also occur in upland habitats. This shrub grows as a rhizomatous colony of single stems, with attractive, peeling bark and alternate, leathery leaves. It thrives in full sun, but can tolerate a little shade. Not only do Steeplebush's flowers attract butterflies but the handsome brown seed heads are pleasant through the winter, and attract birds also. These characters make Steeplebush an excellent choice for naturalizing in a sunny, damp or wet area.
American Bladdernut is an interesting understory shrub or small tree found in sometimes large colonies in Piedmont bottomlands and woodland thickets from the eastern mountains and piedmont into the midwest as far as Kansas and Oklahoma. It is not difficult to identify: Bladdernut typically grows 10-15' tall, with opposite, trifoliate leaves, attractively furrowed bark, and drooping clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers in spring. These flowers give way to inflated, bladder-like, egg-shaped, papery seed capsules 1-2 inches long which mature in late summer and persist into early winter. Sometimes, this shrub is cultivated because of its attractive flowers and the ornamental seed capsules -- which give rise to its common name -- as well as its tolerance of shade. It grows in a wide range of soils as long as they are moist, and it grows best in partial shade in the understory of large deciduous trees.
This super-attractive, butterfly-drawing herbaceous perennial is small (1-2' high x 1-2' wide) with large (2-3 inch) very showy, usually single flowers ranging from cornflower blue (most often) to lavender and even, occasionally, white. The flower structure of Stokes aster reflects its membership in the Aster family: deeply notched blue or lavender ray flowers surround a pincushion center of feathery, lighter disc florets with a distinctly frilly effect. They are supported by stems arising from a semi-evergreen to evergreen basal rosette. Stokes Aster thrives in full sun but may droop some in the afternoon heat. Although accustomed to coastal plain bottomlands and wet savanna