American Hog-peanut, Amphicarpaea bracteata

With attractive trifoliate leaves and the ability to fix nitrogen, American hog-peanut is a vigorous annual vine that twines around neighboring plants – making it welcome in some places, but usually considered a weed in ornamental landscapes. It is a somewhat unusual plant because it produces two types of flowers and seeds. Learn more about this North American native in the pea family in this article…

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Dodder, Cuscuta spp.

Tangles of pale yellow or bright orange strings running amok over other plants may remind you of science fiction tales, but there are actually real plants that grow like this. The nearly leafless, stringlike stems of dodder can be seen occasionally on a wide variety of plants in different habitats. Learn more about the biology of these parasitic plants that depend on their host plants for nutrition in this article…

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Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis

With showy orange flowers, jewelweed comes into its own in late summer and fall. Growing in dense patches in moist, shady habitats, this native plant offers nectar for hummingbirds and other pollinators. Usually grown just as a wild plant, it can be added to rain gardens or to suppress weeds in appropriate areas. Learn more about this self-seeding annual in this article…

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Helenium, Helenium autumnale

For a burst of late-season color, heleniums offer something different than most other daisy-type flowers with short petals in warm, fall colors and a high, architectural center. A few of these robust perennials bloom as early as June, but most wait until August or September when the rest of the garden is waning. Learn more about the garden hybrids developed from these North American natives in this article…

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‘Husker Red‘ Foxglove Beardtongue, Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

With showy panicles of tubular white flowers and deep maroon foliage, ‘Husker Red’ foxglove beardtongue is a star in the garden in late spring into early summer. One of few Penstemon species to thrive in humid climates, P. digitalis is a nice addition to rain gardens, perennial borders and natural areas. Learn more about this selection of this eastern North American native in this article…

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Fothergilla

Fothergillas are multi-season beauties grown as ornamentals well outside their original range. These low maintenance small shrubs, native to the southeastern US, have eye-catching blooms in spring and vibrant fall color in autumn. Learn more about these easily grown members of the witch-hazel family…

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Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla

With short-lived pure white flowers and curious-looking seedpods, this early spring bloomer named after a US President makes a great addition to native plantings or as a shady groundcover. Its common name of twinleaf comes from the interesting butterfly-shaped leaves. Learn more about Jeffersonia diphylla in this article…

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Woodland Phlox, Phlox divaricata

For soft blue flowers in partly shady spots in spring, nothing beats woodland phlox. This North American native thrives in dappled shade and moist, well-drained soils. With an open, relaxed habit it fits well in informal shady beds, rock gardens and wild or naturalized areas.  Learn more about this pretty late spring to early summer bloomer in this article…

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Prairie dropseed, Sporobolus heterolepis

One of the showiest prairie grasses, Sporobolus heterolepis is frequently cultivated as an ornamental for its attractive fountain of fine textured, emerald-green leaves, delicate flower and seed heads, and colorful fall color. Learn more about this elegant native North American bunchgrass that makes a great addition to almost any type of landscape…

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Baneberry, Actaea spp.

With finely cut foliage that remains attractive through the growing season and conspicuous fruit which provide ornamental interest into the fall, red baneberry and white baneberry are two similar woodland plants that can be great additions to shady gardens. These species do have poisonous fruit, so need to be used with caution. Learn more about these native perennials …

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