Shooting star, Dodecatheon meadia

With delicate, nodding purple, pink or white flowers that resemble tiny “shooting stars”, Dodecatheon meadia is a charming spring wildflower of moist prairies and open woodlands that adapts well to home gardens. Learn more about this perennial native to the central and eastern US in this article…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Ginger, Zingiber officinale

Many species of tropical gingers are grown for their flashy blooms, but the plants of culinary ginger aren’t particularly ornamental. Instead, culinary ginger is grown for the aromatic rhizomes which are the source of the hot, pungent flavor enjoyed in ginger ale, gingerbread and many Asian foods. Learn more about this tropical plant which is surprisingly easy to grow in containers…

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 …

Virginia waterleaf, Hydrophyllum virginianum

With attractive flowers and foliage, Virginia waterleaf is an herbaceous perennial of moist deciduous forests that blooms a little later than most spring-blooming wildflowers in woodlands. The common name comes from the variable markings on the leaves which resemble water spots. Learn more about this native plant in this article…

Cutleaf Toothwort, Cardamine concatenata

Cutleaf toothwort is one several woodland plants that are harbingers of spring with their early flowers. Although small, this charming spring ephemeral is eye-catching with its distinctive leaves and soft white flowers. Easy to grow, it’s a great addition to any woodland garden, or to just appreciate the colonies that fill many natural areas. Learn more about this native species by reading this article…

Skunk cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus

Skunk cabbage is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring, with odd flowers like something from a science-fiction movie. The plant can bloom when there is still snow on the ground. The bizarre flowers are followed by huge rosettes of broad leaves that disappear by summer. Read this article to learn more about this interesting native plant…

Goldenrod Gall Fly, Eurosta solidagnis

You’ve probably seen spherical swellings on goldenrod stems at one time or another, but do you know what caused those? A type of small fly with patterned wings is responsible for the most common gall on goldenrods. To learn more about the goldenrod gall fly and how it creates those golf ball-sized growths, read this article…

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