Sunday, August 7, 2011

White Blooming Native Wildflowers Grown in Shade

Got a shady spot you’d like a wildflower or prairie garden and looking for some white blooming natives? These native plants are all able to be grown in shade and thrive. Between the four of them here, they offer wide variety of types of bloom, foliage, and texture styles.

Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum (L.) Link (Feathery False Lily of the Valley, Smilacina racemosa)
This gets up to two to three feet tall and has a raceme of white flowers at the terminal end of the plant. Leaves are green and elliptical. Its bloom season is from April to May. Fall berries are a red-pink color. A member of the Iris family, it prefers moist acidic soil and partial to full shade. Propagate by seed or root division. It attracts wildlife as the berries are eaten by birds and small mammals while the leaves are browsed by deer.

Galium triflorum Michx. (Sweet-scented Bedstraw)
This perennial grows four feet long in a trailing growth pattern. Leaves are in whorls of six. Flowers are very small and star-like, with a green-white color. Galium triflorum blooms May through September with a sweet fragrance. It prefers partial shade or full shade conditions and wet or moist soils.  Propagate by seed or by rhizome division.

Gaultheria procumbens L. (Eastern Teaberry, Wintergreen, Checkerberry)
This small plant grows just under six inches with a 15 inch spread. It has white urn-shaped flowers in late spring, with red fall berries and aromatic evergreen foliage. The scent is a light wintergreen smell. It loves partial to full shade and very acidic soil. The berries can be a food source during the winter for turkeys, squirrels, chipmunks and grouse. Berries and leaves are eaten by bears and deer.

Maianthemum canadense Desf. (Canada Mayflower, Unifolium canadense)
A perennial that works well in rock gardens; Canada mayflower will grow three to six inches tall. It will have white clustered flowers May through June. Its foliage is shiny and textured. There is a pale red berry after flowering. It prefers partial to full shade and wet or moist acidic soil. Propagate by seed or rhizome division. The roots were a folklore good luck charm and Native Americans used Canada mayflower as an herbal remedy for sore throats and headaches. WARNING: Some parts of this are poisonous.

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