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Native Plants for Sustainable (and More Interesting) Landscapes Don Leopold

What Are Native Plants? What Are Native Species? Species That Existed in an Area Prior to European Settlement

They are: components of NYS natural communities and sometimes very abundant or rare

herbaceous old field

mesic mixed hardwoods

Why Plant Native Species? •  well adapted to regional climate •  well adapted to native pests and pathogens •  many are well adapted to most difficult sites (e.g., extremes in drainage, shade) •  natural heritage and aesthetic values

General Categories of Interest (beyond basic ecological functions and high aesthetic value) •  no maintenance, long lived •  for the most difficult sites (leaving the site alone) •  for wildlife (esp. birds and butterflies) •  deer proof •  for food

No Maintenance


For The Most Difficult Sites

WET (including rainwater basins)

swamp milkweed – Asclepias incarnata

northern sea oats – Chasmanthium latifolium

turtlehead – Chelone glabra

Joe-pye weed – Eupatorium maculatum

rose mallow – Hibiscus moscheutos

blue flag – Iris versicolor

cardinal flower – Lobelia cardinalis

buttonbush – Cephalanthus occidentalis

summersweet clethra – Clethra alnifolia

silky dogwood – Cornus amomum

red-twig dogwood – Cornus sericea

winterberry – Ilex verticillata

swamp rose – Rosa palustris

shining willow – Salix lucida

river birch – Betula nigra

Atlantic white-cedar – Chamaecyparis thyoides

swamp white oak – Quercus bicolor


alvar pavement barrens near Clayton, NY

hay-scented fern – Dennstaedtia punctilobula

marginal shield fern – Dryopteris marginalis

prairie-smoke – Geum triflorum

blue lupine – Lupinus perennis

eastern prickly-pear cactus – Opuntia humifusa

devil’s-walkingstick – Aralia spinosa

bearberry – Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

fragrant sumac – Rhus aromatica

gray birch – Betula populifolia

cockspur hawthorn – Crataegus crus-galli

pitch pine – Pinus rigida

chestnut oak – Quercus prinus

bur oak – Quercus macrocarpa

SALINE A. Eallonardo

seaside goldenrod – Solidago sempervirens

prairie cordgrass – Spartina pectinata (on Solvay wastebed)

horizontal juniper – Juniperus horizontalis

eastern redcedar – Juniperus virginiana

northern bayberry – Myrica pensylvanica

examples of inland salt marsh species for retention basin

LOW pH (i.e., acidic)


New Jersey tea – Ceanothus americanus

sweetfern – Comptonia peregrina

teaberry – Gaultheria procumbens

pinxter azalea – Rhododendron periclymenoides

HIGH pH (i.e., alkaline)

wild columbine – Aquilegia canadensis

shrubby cinquefoil – Potentilla fruticosa

chinkapin oak – Quercus muehlenbergii

northern white-cedar – Thuja occidentalis


partial shade white trillium – Trillium grandiflorum


wild ginger – Asarum canadense

maidenhair fern – Adiantum pedatum

lady fern – Athyrium filix-femina

sedge – Carex platyphylla

black snakeroot – Cimicifuga racemosa

foamflower – Tiarella cordifolia

bush-honeysuckle – Diervilla lonicera

smooth hydrangea – Hydrangea arborescens

oakleaf hydrangea – Hydrangea quercifolia

bladdernut – Staphylea trifolia

serviceberry – Amelanchier arborea

alternate-leaf dogwood – Cornus alternifolia

examples of species tolerant of very wide range of site conditions •  Just about anything

switchgrass – Panicum virgatum

eastern ninebark – Physocarpus opulifolius

red maple – Acer rubrum

For Wildlife •  Wildlife value

butterfly weed – Ascelpias tuberosa

most species in the aster family - Asteraceae

spicebush – Lindera benzoin

red buckeye – Aesculus pavia

gray dogwood – Cornus racemosa

winged sumac – Rhus copallina

deer proof

most fern species


ostrich fern – Matteuccia struthiopteris

black huckleberry – Gaylussacia baccata

raspberry and blackberry species – Rubus spp.

black elderberry – Sambucus canadensis

highbush blueberry – Vaccinium corymbosum

pawpaw – Asimina triloba

shellbark hickory – Carya laciniosa

persimmon – Diospyros virginiana

Native Plants for Sustainable (and More Interesting) Landscapes  

An introduction, and pictoral guide to using Native Plants

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