Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Plant List So Far

Unfortunately Prairie Moon Nursery seem to be sold out for the year. I'm assuming their greenhouse plugs must have been effected by the drought. They're still selling seeds but that's what I'm wanting to try this year. As they were one of my main sources for native plants I've been forced to look elsewhere, and I'm happy with the nursery that I found.

Shooting Star Nursery seems to have a wide selection of woody shrubs I've been looking everywhere for.

Wild Black Cherry, Prunus serotina, is a small tree with fragrant white flowers in the spring time. The berries are devoured by birds over the summer or they can be used to make jam. Doug Tallamy praises this plant more than any other for the abundance of Lepidoptera that use it which include the eastern Tiger Swallowtail. I've always seen these shrubs growing around the neighborhood but could never find anywhere that sells them.


Indigo Bush, Amorpha fruticosa, is a very uncommonly sold plant. It's a nitrogen fixer which is good for the soil and has very interesting looking flowers. It's a host plant to the Silver Spotted Skipper, the Southern Dogface Sulphur, the California Sulphur, the Gray Hairstreak, and Hoary Edge butterfly. 


Paw Paw, Asimina triloba, is a native food plant that I've been trying to establish for a few years now. I have one sapling established and growing but I've read they don't really flower or produce fruit until they're around 10 years old. Worse yet I've read they either have to cross pollinate with anther tree or are self pollinating but benefit from a second tree around. Zebra Swallowtails use it as a host plant. I'm actually out of their range but so is a college up in northern New Jersey where I'm told a population of Zebra Swallowtails flies around the paw paw trees growing on campus there.

 
Spicebush, Lindera benzoin, is another native shrub I should plant more of. I've had one for a few years but it was planted in too dry of a location and wasn't expanding at all. Last year I moved it to a wetter location where it's established now and should start putting out more growth. It's the host plant of the Spicebush Swallowtail which I've found in my yard! However I don't think one shrub is enough for them to establish so I'm opting to plant more of them. 


Wafer-ash, Ptelea trifoliata, is the host plant to the Giant Swallowtail. I've been so mistaken on the range of this butterfly because most of their host plants are in the citrus family, I would have never expected them to be found in Canada. Wafer Ash is also called Hoptree because it used to be used instead of Hops. The flowers in the spring time are fragrant and it's also a host plant to the eastern Tiger Swallowtail.



Prairie Willow, Salix humilis microphyllus. I'm not sure on the microphyllus subspecies but Salix humilis is one I've been looking everywhere for! This is one of the shortest growing shrugs of the willow family. They flower early in the year, bees love them, and they're a host plant to the Viceroy Butterfly. 

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info on the Wafer-ash! I have seen a lot of different things on the host for Giant Swallowtail and hadn't seen anything quite that specific other than citrus.
    We happen to have a couple of the wild black cherry trees in our yard and I was thrilled to hear Doug Tallamy speak so highly of them at a conference earlier this year!
    I'm also going to check out that willow, as I don't have room for many more tall things in my yard. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. The one thing about Willows to be aware of is that their roots are notorious for getting into drainage pipes. But the great thing about the Prairie Willow is how they remain an 8 to 12' shrub, instead of a massive tree.

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