Each wild plant in Maine has an interesting life story. Every month we will profile in depth one of the plants from the many varied habitats that make our state so beautiful. You will learn where it grows, its defining characteristics, what other creatures have coevolved with it, and how the species might be used in a planted landscape.
by Ginger Laurits, Wild Seed Project volunteer and York County Master Gardener Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is an excellent native plant choice for your backyard garden. It is a “well-behaved” perennial, unlike it’s cousin, common milkweed, (Asclepias syriaca), which enjoys . . . Read More »
Viburnums are plants that just keep on giving. While they bloom in the spring, these plants provide enjoyment throughout the year. Vernal flowers develop into colorful summer berries (technically drupes). As the seasons progress, the fruits and flowers of spring and summer provide sustenance for wildlife and the attractive branching habit and autumn colors delight more human eyes.
Medium-sized shrub (7′-10′ tall) of wetlands, but adaptable to moist garden soils; late-flowering and very attractive with fragrant blossoms and large, shiny, deep-green foliage; interesting winter bark and persistent fruit; deserves to be planted more than it is, to benefit . . . Read More »
Very attractive deciduous fern; distinctive trimerous fronds of bright green; unusual ground cover for humus-y soil in moist shade; ranges from Greenland to Alaska, south from Washington to West Virginia.
Two members of the iris family, one large, one small, Iris versicolor is a long-lived perennial with large purple flowers; Sisyrinchium montanum is short-lived, but readily self-seeds. Iris versicolor ranges from Maine west to Nebraska, south to Arkansas; Sisyrinchium montanum . . . Read More »
Early-flowering, colonizing shrub, three to four feet tall; normally found in cool, moist, peaty soils in sun or part-shade; striking magenta flowers appear before foliage; deer-resistant; creates, in multiples, good habitat for small birds; ranges from Newfoundland west to Ontario . . . Read More »
Beautiful, well-shaped understory shrub, usually 6-12’ tall, and multi-stemmed; found in moderately moist, fertile soil in deciduous forests; provides early-season nectar for Lepidoptera (like the overwintering mourning cloak butterfly); found only in southernmost Maine, though fairly common from Ontario to . . . Read More »
Small to medium-sized shrub of woodlands and mixed forest edges; dangling, bell-shaped, paired flowers and lovely green leaves appear simultaneously in mid to late Spring; attractive red fruit in early autumn. Ranges from Nova Scotia and eastern Saskatchewan, south to . . . Read More »
Small herbaceous plants of woods and fields; flowers are blue, purple, white, or yellow, according to species; deep green, heart-shaped leaves in basal rosettes or on ascending stems; a good groundcover and a vigorous self-seeder. By Pamela Johnson
Tall, long-lived, member of the walnut family; stately, and moderately slow-growing; loose-plated bark and golden autumn color are strong landscape features; tolerant of a range of soil and moisture conditions, once established; found primarily in southern Maine, across southern Quebec . . . Read More »