Wild Seed Project Native Plant Profiles
Wild Seed Project: Returning native plants to the Maine landscape

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.
—Heather McCargo

Shagbark hickory. Carya ovata. Juglandaceae

Shagbark hickory. Carya ovata. Juglandaceae

January 2016

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 »

Christmas Fern Spores

Christmas fern. Polystichum acrostichoides. Dryopteridaceae

December 2015

Evergreen fern of moist forests; grows in neat clusters of two or three plants, or in small colonies; prefers light to full shade, but will tolerate sun if soil is humus- rich and moist; ranges from Nova Scotia and Ontario, . . . Read More »


Eastern spicy-wintergreen. Gaultheria procumbens. Ericaceae.

November 2015

Semi-woody, evergreen ground cover, arising from underground stems; long-lasting, fragrant, bell-shaped flowers followed by cherry-red fruit; distinctively scented leaves are appreciated by wildlife and humans. Found from Newfoundland to Manitoba, across the Midwest, and south to the higher elevations of . . . Read More »


Hamamelis virginiana. Witch-hazel. Hamamelidae

October 2015

Tall, beautiful understory shrub/ small tree (ten to twenty feet high with an equal width) of mesic deciduous woods; late-blooming ribbon-like yellow flowers provide nectar for still-active autumn insects; found from Nova Scotia and Quebec south to Florida, west to . . . Read More »

Heart leaved aster

Symphyotrichum cordifolium (formerly Aster cordifolius) Heart-leaved American aster. Asteraceae

September 2015

Tall, blue-violet-flowered aster of woodland edges and meadows; flowers profusely from late summer throughout autumn, in sun and partial shade; attracts late-season pollinators; found from Nova Scotia, west to Minnesota, south to northwest Alabama. By Pamela Johnson The Aster Family . . . Read More »

Alternate-leaved Dogwood

Swida alternifolia (formerly, Cornus alternifolia) Alternate-leaved Dogwood. Cornaceae

August 2015

A deciduous shrub or small tree of the understory, alternate-leaved dogwood is often as wide as it is tall. This dogwood is a striking specimen in the landscape, with its strongly tiered, horizontal branching, providing unusual visual interest in all . . . Read More »

Northern bush-honeysuckle

Northern bush-honeysuckle. Diervilla lonicera. Caprifoliaceae

July 2015

Small to medium-sized shrub with shimmering shiny green and copper foliage, and delicate, small yellow flowers that are produced all summer and are an important sources of nectar for bumblebees. A plant of edge habitats and anthropogenic sites (roadsides, clear-cuts, . . . Read More »

Viburnum lantanoides. Hobblebush. Adoxaceae

Viburnum lantanoides. Hobblebush. Adoxaceae

June 2015

Early-blooming, large-flowered shrub of woodlands and edge habitats; a remarkable understory shrub, beautiful in all seasons; ranges from Nova Scotia west to Michigan, south to the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia; prefers cool, moist soil and shade. By . . . Read More »

Jack in the Pulpit

Jack-in-the-pulpit. Arisaema triphyllum (Araceae). Arum Family

May 2015

Distinctive perennial of damp, semishaded woods; ranges from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Manitoba, south through the Appalachians and west to eastern Texas. By Pamela Johnson Arisaema triphyllum is blessed, or cursed, with a litany of lively common names: . . . Read More »

Wild Strawberry

Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana. Rosaceae (Rose Family)

April 2015

Perennial, stoloniferous herb of fields and meadows, lawns and roadsides; white flowers and, in early summer, sweet red fruits; attractive groundcover for various sites. By Pamela Johnson William Bartram (1739-1823), son of nurseryman and plant entrepreneur John Bartram, journeyed into . . . Read More »

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