The Dirty Dozen vs the Birdy Dozen
2021 Photo Contest Winner
Congratulations to Larry G. Laird for his winning submission of American Cancer-root, Conopholis americana, taken on May 17, 2021 at Michaux Forest.
Click here to view all the entries - so many gorgeous photos!!
What is a Native?
A native plant is one that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without direct or indirect human intervention. We consider the flora present at the time Europeans arrived in North America as the species native to the eastern United States. Native plants include all kinds of plants from mosses and ferns to wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.
Because native plants are adapted to the growing conditions where you live, they are often easier to grow, and less susceptible to challenging conditions than non-native plants. Many Non-native plants are also invasive, and threaten out our native plant species.
Hobblebush -Viburnum lantanoides
Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower. I imagine that Nobel prize laureate, Albert Camus, may have been inspired by hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides) when he came up with that lovely statement. Autumn is when this native shrub really shines, and it exemplifies that quote to a tee. The large heart-shaped leaves of hobblebush turn from green to red, orange, peach, yellow, and purple, sometimes with all those colors appearing at once. Top that off with clusters of scarlet drupes that turn deep purple, fuzzy leaf bud "antlers" throughout winter, and bright white flower clusters in late spring/early summer, and you have four season interest. Its year-round beauty and sprawling growth habit make hobblebush a perfect addition to a naturalized woodland garden. The name hobblebush refers to its long branches that trip (or hobble) hikers. It can root where the tip of a branch touches the ground. In a rich habitat, hobblebush forms dense thickets that are difficult to pass through. Other descriptive names such as witch-hobble and tangle legs may
complete this picture!
Hobblebush is the larval host and nectar source for the hummingbird clearwing moth and the spring azure butterfly. The flat flower clusters can accommodate a variety of other pollinators such as bees, wasps, and butterflies. Flies are common visitors and are important pollinators during cool weather, since many fly species are active at lower temperatures than other insects. Gamebirds, songbirds and mammals eat the fruit. Browsers such as deer, rabbits, hares, and moose eat the twigs and leaves. Since deer are especially fond of hobblebush, the shrubs may need protection from them in areas with
high deer populations.
Hobblebush grows 3-10' tall and 6-12' wide and prefers moist soil found in rich woods, stream banks and swamps. It will grow well in neutral to very acid soil and has flexible light requirements - from no shade (in cooler areas) to full shade. To best show off its spectacular autumn color, plant hobblebush where the morning or evening sun lights up the leaves. That way you can begin or end your day admiring its beauty all year long.
If you have a favorite plant or photo, send it to email@example.com for a future publication.
Article and photo courtesy of Karen Smith
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PNPS is committed to supporting programs and events advocating for the use of native plants. Money obtained from memberships and donations go to the following:
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