Green Ribbon Native Plant® - Ferns/Wildflowers

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2003 - Allegheny Spurge (Pachysandra procumbens)

Allegheny spurge, our native pachysandra, has many exceptional features that set it apart from the more familiar Asian pachysandras.  One of the main differences can be seen in the foliage; it has mottled, rounded, gray-green leaves that are held in loose whorls.  The leaves are generally evergreen, but may turn purplish and may exhibit some dieback in harsh winters.  In early spring, the plants form dense spikes of pinkish-white flowers. 

Allegheny spurge is generally disease and pest resistant, clump-forming rather than spreading, and is a great ground cover for part to full shade in organic, moist, well-drained soil.

2004 - Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia)

Tiarella is a spectacular native plant that gets its common name from the white, foamy-looking flowers. It is an easily grown perennial that can be used as a ground cover in somewhat shaded areas.

This hardy plant has something to offer all year round. In late April it exhibits dense, white, feathery spires that give it a lace-like appearance.  The handsome "maple-leaf" foliage is attractive all summer long, sometimes turning red in autumn. Depending on the variety, the summer foliage can vary from solid, deep green to variegated with dark red markings.  There are also different varieties selected for their growth habit with some being “runners” and others being “clumpers.”  Foam flower is perfect for mixing with lower-growing woodland flowers in moist soil.

2005 - Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

The Christmas fern is a lovely, evergreen fern that offers year-round interest.  It provides a bit of deep green color on gloomy winter days and the fiddleheads, or crosiers, provide interest in spring as they begin to unfurl against the previous year's leaves.  Its common name is a reference to how early settlers used the evergreen fronds for Christmas decorations, but some believe it may also be because of its Christmas stocking shaped leaves.

The 12 to 18 inch tall fern is fairly adaptable, growing in full shade to part sun and in rich, moist soils to dry, rocky slopes.  It is great for shady woodland gardens and massing along rocky slopes to discourage soil erosion. Christmas fern does not suffer from any serious insect or disease problems.

2006 - Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Cardinal flower is recognized by its striking spires of red summer flowers contrasted with the dark green leaves. They grow best in moist, fertile, humus-rich soil and in sun or partial shade. They can tolerate flooding but not drought making them suitable for waterside plantings or damp borders.  They will require regular watering if used in a perennial bed.   

Cardinal flower blooms from July to September throughout the eastern half of the US. It has a striking, deep red blossom which is pollinated by ruby-throated hummingbirds. In spite of its spirited color, the plant contains poisonous alkaloids and ingestion has caused deaths in humans.

2007 - Wild Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)

Wild bleeding heart is named for its heart-shaped flower that appears as if there is a drop of blood forming at its base.  It is a woodland native that can be found from New Jersey to West Virginia and throughout the Appalachian Mountain range. This herbaceous perennial does well in both sunny and shady sites in moist soil.  Increased sun however, will increase flower production and extend the flowering period.  Dicentra forms 12-18 inch clumps of grayish-green, fern-like leaves. Its showy pink, occasionally white flowers begin to appear in late spring and continue in flushes until autumn giving an appearance of nonstop blooming.

Easy to grow and great for naturalizing, wild bleeding heart does not have any serious insect or disease problems but is a great source of nectar for bumblebees. Somewhat difficult to start from seed, it is easy to propagate from division and, once established will self-propagate and last for many years.



2008 - Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Wild columbine is native to North America and can be found growing in open woodlands and along roadsides from eastern Canada through northern Florida, and westward into New Mexico.  It is a hardy perennial that grows two to three feet tall and is best propagated by seed. 
Its most noteworthy characteristic is its unusual, nodding reddish flower shaped like a bonnet, with elegant long spurs.  These flowers bloom from late April to June making it very popular in mixed perennial beds and borders. 

Columbine thrives in fertile loamy soil in sun or partial shade, but it is best grown in light shade.  It prefers moist, sheltered locations, but can tolerate dry shade as well as some air pollution.

2009 - Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)

The maidenhair fern is a finely-textured, somewhat frilly fern that has curved stalks covered with finger-like projections.  They grow to a height of 1 to 2.5 feet in part to full shade which makes them perfect for shaded borders, woodland gardens, or shaded rock gardens.  They can grow in sunnier locations, but high summer heat may cause the fronds to brown, particularly if good soil moisture is not maintained.  Like many ferns, the maidenhair fern prefers moist, acidic soils and spreads slowly to form large colonies over time.

They have water-repelling compounds on the foliage with the result that water runs off the leaves, and even when the plant is immersed in water, the leaves remain dry.  This strong water repelling property is the scientific basis for the botanical name Adiantum, translated as “unwetted”.

2010 - Bluestem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia)

Bluestem goldenrod is a lovely native wildflower with dark green foliage, dark blue stems, and small yellow flower heads. Typically growing in part shade at the edges of woodlands, these plants can grow up to 3 feet in height. The blooming period occurs from late summer into the fall and lasts about 3-4 weeks. In late fall, the flowers give way to small tufts of fuzzy seeds that are distributed by the wind.

Growing conditions are for medium shade to partial sun and in soil that is loamy or somewhat rocky. They have great wildlife value as the nectar and pollen of the flowers attract a wide variety of insects, especially short-tongued bees, wasps, and flies. The seeds or capsules in the fall are eaten sparingly by songbirds and are especially liked by White-tailed deer. For homeowners, bluestem goldenrod is best planted in a naturalistic setting at the edges of woodlands or other plantings.

2010 - American Wisteria (Wisteria frutescens)

Named after the Philadelphia-born Caspar Wistar, American wisteria is a twining deciduous vine known for its lilac-purple, pea-like, fragrant flowers that bloom in pendulous racemes in early summer. In its native habitat, American wisteria can be found in moist woodlands or along streambanks in fertile, well-drained soils. For the average homeowner, however, it is a great plant for training against a wall or over a sturdy arch or pergola where it can receive at least six hours of full sun each day.

American wisteria is a hardy plant that does well without fertilization and only needs to be watered during times of drought. Pests and disease can be a problem with this plant, but proper care will help keep it healthy.


2011 - Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) 

This interesting, colorful character is a favorite fern here at Jenkins. In early spring, its silver-haired shine erupts in tightly curled ‘fiddleheads’. As they continue to unfurl and mature, their white hairs turn cinnamon colored, and hummingbirds collect them to line their tiny nests. When fully mature, its fronds are large, ranging from 2 ½ to 4 feet long. The robust and swamp-loving cinnamon fern can tolerate some sun but prefers a wet woodland habitat. With fertile and sterile leaves, this ‘dimorphic’ fern has both rust-colored reproductive fronds, wispy green vegetative fronds, and outstanding bronze fall color. It is common from Zones 2 through 10.


2011 - White Wood Aster (Eurybia divaricata)

The Aster Family is full of wonderful, prolific plants. This native perennial spreads abundantly and will self-sew easily. This divaricated or widely spreading plant is happy to thrive in sun or shade. It stands at 1 to 2 feet tall with masses of small white flowers. White woods aster can live well in fairly unkind conditions. Found from New Hampshire to Ontario and south from Ohio to Maryland and wide spread as to the mountains of Georgia, which includes all of Zones 3 to 8.

2012 - Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica)

With its vibrant red and yellow trumpet-shaped blooms on top of tiers of paired deep green leaves, Indian Pink is easily one of our region’s most stunning perennials. Take one look at Indian Pink and you’ll understand why this plant is a “must have” for gardeners wanting to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. This early-summer bloomer grows best in lightly shaded or mostly-sunny areas in the garden such as a mixed perennial border or woodland edge.  At 1-2 feet tall, with a spread of up to 2 feet, Indian Pink is the perfect complement to other Green Ribbon natives like Bluestem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia) or Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis).  Indian Pink grows well in moist soil and, once established, requires very little maintenance for gardeners in USDA zones 6-9.

2013 - Largeflower Heartleaf
(Hexastylis shuttleworthii)

The Largeflower Heartleaf is a small evergreen plant that is prized for its variegated evergreen foliage. Native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains, this small woodland plant can grow in deep shade and acidic soil. It is a clump former that spreads slowly by stolons. While it does take some time, the plant will eventually form a dense clump or mat that can serve as a multi-season groundcover in shade.
This heartleaf has triangular trumpet-shaped flowers which live up to the Heartleaf’s alternate name “Little Brown Jugs”. These speckled, dark purple flowers, although interesting, typically develop under the leaves which are held about 3-4” above the ground. While the flowers may be easily missed, the leaves are very showy with their dark green edges and white venation.

Grow this little plant as an accent or a ground cover in areas of shade. Some dappled light will produce better variegation between the dark green leaf edges and the silvery white leaf veins. The plant is best suited for moist soil with a low pH. Mulching the plant with extra leaf litter in the winter may help protect the plant in colder climates. While this heartleaf is slow to establish, the clumps that will eventually form can be divided to make more plants.

2014 - Coral Honeysuckle
(Lonicera sempervirens)

Coral Honeysuckle is a climbing, semi-evergreen vine with beautiful, bright red flowers. This woody vine has a native range from Connecticut to Nebraska and south to Florida and Texas. It climbs its way up supporting structures by twining and twisting its way skyward. In nature, this species can be found growing on fence rows, in open woodlands and along roadsides, but unlike its Asian cousin, Coral Honeysuckle is not invasive. In the spring, the vine is covered in red to reddish-orange, trumpet shaped flowers that are sweetly scented and are often visited by hummingbirds.

Coral Honeysuckle is in the Caprifoliacea or Honeysuckle family. The vine has simple leaves that reach 1”-3” long and are arranged oppositely on the stem. The leaf color is a blue-green with a powdery underside. Its flowers are tubular clusters and each individual flower is up to 2” long. The plant has a very large bloom in spring, and then blooms again sporadically throughout the summer.  In autumn, leaves fall off still green, but deep red berries are left behind as a source of food for songbirds and other wildlife. Coral Honeysuckle will grow in some shade but the flowering will be greatly reduced. The vine can reach 15’-20’ long and is one of the showiest of the vining honeysuckles. The plant is easy to grow; just site it in an area with full sun with moist soil that is well drained.  There are no serious pest problems, but powdery mildew and black spot can cause occasional cosmetic damage to the leaves.  Prune after flowering to open up the plant and increase air flow through the branches. Coral Honeysuckle makes a beautiful specimen plant in the garden and its spring blooms are real showstoppers!

2015 - Eastern Purple Coneflower
(Echinacea purpurea)

Echinacea purpurea is more than a popular perennial.  This prominent member of the Aster family inhabits meadows across a majority of the eastern half of the United States.  Being native from New York south to Florida, and west to Colorado and Texas, this perennial is hardy in zones 3-8.

The genus “echino” comes from the Greek word meaning hedgehog, directly describing the spiny center disk.  Surrounding the central disk of this flower are the beautiful drooping purple ray flowers.  The most robust plants grow in full sun, but they can withstand part shade as well. Dry, well-drained sandy soil is where Echinacea purpurea will be best suited. Reaching 3-5 feet in height, while spreading 1.5 to 2 feet, this perennial adds color all summer long as it continues to bloom June through August if deadheaded.  The seed heads left at the end of the blooming season will allow for additional plants to self seed into your garden, create winter interest, and act as a great food source for seed-eating birds such as goldfinches. 

2015 - Butterflyweed
(Asclepias tuberosa)

Asclepias tuberosa, commonly known as Butterflyweed, is a species of milkweed that has both extremely attractive flowers as well as important ecological values.  As a larval host for the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) and Queen (Danbaus gilippus) butterflies, this plant is vital for their life cycle.  Butterflyweed also serves as a great nectar source for honeybees and a variety of native bees.

This tuberous, native perennial can grow 1.5 to 2 feet tall, making it great for the edges of perennial wildflower beds.  Clusters of orange flowers bloom from June through August.  Butterflyweed grows best in full sun and dry to moist soil although it can withstand drought and still performs well in poor soils.  Just like most milkweeds, this species can be susceptible to aphids, but it is deer resistant.  This milkweed is native from Maine to Florida, and west to Utah and California, leaving it native to all but 6 of the contiguous United States.  It is hardy in zones 3-9. 

2016 - Smooth Aster
(Symphyotrichum leave)

Smooth blue aster, a wildflower and a member of the Aster Family Asteraceae, is a lovely addition to a full sun perennial garden. At maturity, smooth blue aster can reach between 1 ½ to 3 feet in height and has an erect growth habit. The leaves are up to 6 inches long and 1 ¼ inches wide. One key identification feature is that the foliage is sessile, meaning no petiole or stem. The leaf margins are smooth-edged. Another distinguishing feature is the absence of hairs found along the stem and the leaves.
One trick to remember the common name of this plant is that the stem and the leaves are smooth. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early autumn, lasting about 3-4 weeks. Smooth aster will remain erect during bloom time, and it has some tolerance for hot, dry weather. The nectar and pollen of the blue and yellow flower heads attract honey bees, bumblebees, wasps, flies, butterflies, and skippers. Smooth aster can be susceptible to powdery mildew, but good air circulation should prevent the fungus from developing. Plant smooth aster in a spot in the garden where it can receive full sun, has well-drained soil, and will not be crowded out by taller or more aggressive plants.

2016 - Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
(Solidago rugosa)

Wrinkleleaf goldenrod, like other goldenrods, has a long panicle of yellow ray and disk florets characteristic of the Aster Family Asteraceae.  But there are a few key features which distinguish Solidago rugosa from the other Solidago species. The central stem, which can reach 1-5 feet, is covered in tiny hairs or pubescence. The upper surface of the foliage has a wrinkled appearance due to the indentations of the leaf veins. Hence, the common name Wrinkleleaf goldenrod. The 4 inch long and 1 ½ inch wide leaves alternate along the stem. The leaves have toothed edges. The foliage is often dull and slightly hairy.

You can see wrinkleleaf goldenrod in bloom from midsummer into early autumn with a bloom period lasting between 1-2 months. The blooms of wrinkleleaf goldenrod attract an array of insects including bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers and beetles. The caterpillars of many moth species feed on goldenrod as do many insects. Insectivorous birds feed on the insects which feed on wrinkeleaf goldenrod. Wrinkleleaf goldenrod grows best in full sun, moist well-drained, slightly acidic spots. Wrinkleleaf goldenrod makes a great addition to a naturalized perennial garden.


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