Big in every way this Golden Rod of the west rises on sturdy semi-woody stems to display a chalice of fragrant gold flowers. Better put in latin the broad flowers are pyramidal paniculiform arrays, That about says it. Large growing perennial that is found in specific wetland sites around the state (and the west). It spreads laterally by strong rhizomes with stems that rise to 4′ tall. The PYRAMIDAL PANICULIFORM gold flowers emit a sweet pollen fragrance. This and the fact that it is in the daisy family draws a broad amount of pollinators  from far and wide. It dies down in winter and the previous years stems can be taken away then. Give it at least 5′ x 5′ to roam. Water to establish then a light consistent water in summer for best flowering. Full hot sun not tolerant of shade at all. A large, regal cut flowers for big displays July-September. This form was found in the Columbia River Gorge near the river. It can also be found around wetlands in arid parts of the state as well as river courses along the west side. The underside of the stems flashes silver with green on top. These incredibly sturdy vertical stems will never topple. Mix with Hall and Douglas Asters for similar space, bloom time and vigor and you’ll quadruple your pollinators.   Oregon native plant.

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Spiraea splendens (densiflora)

Subalpine Rose Spiraea is native to the higher elevations of the the Cascades. Above 4500′ in sunny, moist glens it makes carpets of deep rose pink umbels from low rounded shrubs. To 30″ tall by 4′ wide in garden conditions, Rich soil with regular irrigation. Moderately fast growing to this dimension. The emerging soft green leaves take on hints of blue as they mature. Bloom at low elevation is May-July but in its highest native haunts bloom can be delayed to late summer. Deciduous shrub with wonderful orange/ red fall color if brief. Easy to grow native garden plant with regular irrigation. Established plants can take deep watering every two weeks. Remember that this as with all Spiraeas have little tolerance for drought and they don’t necessarily wilt going straight to crispy (a look not as fixable as wilting). Mulch heavily for the first few seasons. Avoid blasting, reflected heat and and hot dry situations. Wonderful combined with Rhododendrons and Azaleas for similar cultural conditions. In its native haunt it can be found with Pacific Rhododendron, Helenium, Delphiniums and Veratrum. I’ve never seen it afflicted by disease. Watch for aphids, hose those off if they appear. Beautiful in bloom. Very cold hardy. Oregon native plant.

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Symphoricarpos albus

Common snowberry is very widespread in our state and is found in a host of biomes This small, deciduous, suckering shrub begins spring with leaves of the freshest green, so fresh they flutter on the late spring early summer breeze. After several weeks of foliage the small white tinted pink flowers are shaped like small bowls and line the stem at every leaf axil. These morph into plush, plump pure white berries that are quite a bit larger than the relatively insignificant flowers. The berries (drupes) are perched in groups on the stems. Their pure white hue is easy to spot for humans and especially birds.They relish the berries while they are toxic for humans.  To 32″ tall forming a dome shaped suckering shrub twice as wide. Water to establish the first season then none in subsequent years. Mulch heavily.  The berries last well into winter before becoming animal snacks. The gray thin arching stems create a haze on the forest floor that becomes acid green as leaves appear. Spreads by stolons underground to expand its territory. Its adaptable to both upland quite dry situations as well as vernally wet spots in floodplains and fields. In the Willamette Valley its common associates are with Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir)  Quercus garryana  ( Oregon White Oak) and Fraxinus latifolia ( Oregon Ash) as an understory component. Its tolerant of dense shade as long as its deciduous to full hot sun, Very well adapted to the driest summers. In summer the acid green leaves change to a dark blue green and are often afflicted by a strain of powdery mildew- my whole life I’ve known this shrub and I’ve never seen powdery mildew cause any permanent damage- mostly its just a poor aesthetic look for late summer to autumn. Fall color is soft yellow and brief. Branches may be carefully cut in berry and will hold them in arrangements for quite a few days. An excellent forage and cover plant for native fauna.  A great native shrub for beginners. This is the taller form of the two species that we grow. Native to the Portland city limits. Moderate deer resistance. One of our best shrubs for seasonally dry shade.  Oregon native plant.

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Tellima grandiflora

Locally native on our nursery site Fringe Cups or Fairy Bells as they are commonly known are a spreading perennial for moist shady sites. Low mounding maple shaped leaves cover the ground densely and in late spring vertical spikes appear to 18″ tall and sport rows of small green cup shaped flowers which change to white and finish with tints of pink. Closely related to Heuchera and thrives in the same conditions. It will even take full sun in moist conditions. It is a background plant because it often suffers from powdery mildew late in summer which is mostly just ugly and I’ve never seen harm to the plant. The drier the conditions the worse the affliction. Good air circulation helps but its best to just accept that this is how this native perennial rolls. Semi-evergreen in winter. Woodland borders, shady containers. Very easy to grow. Often grows with Claytonia as seen below. Flowers emit a sweet fragrance.  Oregon Native Plant.

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Tall Thalictrum or Many fruited Rue. A wonderful native perennial that will win you over with its great grace and tenacity. Many divided blue green leaves are composed like shelves along a tall blooming stem. The effect is that of a pastry tray with multiple levels. In early spring a group of these pretty and delicate looking leaves are arranged in a circle. As the spring advances so does the bloom stalk up to 4′ tall in rich soil with regular water. Best with an occasional deep soak in summer, native primarily to wet  areas. Its very common companion is Giant Larkspur Delphinium trolliifolium and both species of Camas. The flower that erupts from a  many branched scape holds mostly downward pointing stamens with very small modest petals. It perches on the end of the stem like a small chandelier. Winter deciduous. Found primarily in the moist areas west of the Cascades in the inland valleys. Very easy to grow native perennial that improves under cultivation but retains its feral tough habit. Long lived perennial for part shade to high over head shade. Not bothered by deer. Oregon native plant.

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Thalictrum occidentale

Smaller growing western meadow rue is a resident of deep moist woods as well as the margins of streams. Many divided leaves are delicate and flutter in the slightest breeze. Each indented leaflet is perched in the arrangement of an arrow. In mid to late spring wiry stems extend above the 1′ tall foliage another 10″ and displays flowers that are comprised of raspberry and brown downward pointed flowers. They make an evenly distributed display that is not so much showy as it is incredibly graceful. Loved by pollinators who swing by for the suspended pollen. Best in enriched soil with consistent irrigation in summer. It spreads to form large colonies and is exceptionally pretty crawling up a low bank or hill. Winter deciduous perennial. This species which is more of an upland species requires a little less water than the similar but taller Thalictrum fendleri but it still requires irrigation in summer, even when well established. Benefits greatly from a top dressing of mulch. Companion plants in habitat are Tellima grandiflora, Mitella, Heuchera and Delphinium . Prefers protection from mid day sun and will burn and/ or die in hot dry situations. ‘Forms expanding colonies. Very good woodland pollinator perennial with a wonderful texture. Moderately deer resistant. Oregon native plant.

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Tiarella trifoliata

A widespread perennial in the Pacific Northwest. There are two subspecies and this larger leaf form is the more common of the two. A mounding deciduous perennial for moisture retentive soils in light shade to shade. This perennial is often seen along creek banks and seeps where access to water is not very far away. In May-July 18″ spikes of clear starry white flowers crowd a vertical stem. Very pretty and light. An excellent native perennial for woodlands, stream banks. riparian areas. Spreads in rich soil to form extensive colonies foliage tops out at 8″. Excellent combined with native and non-native ferns. Very dark green leaves are handsome throughout the season on a tough and easy to grow plant. Fall color is red and orange before leaves go away. AKA Trifoliate Foam Flower, Northwest Foam Flower. Not bothered by disease or pests that includes snails and slugs. YAY. Oregon native plant

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Tiarella x ‘Steam Punk’

This seedling of the millions of Tiarellas that we’ve grown over the years is a stand out. Found at the edge of a shade hoop house it thrived for years before I realized, this is a really good plant. Palmate leaves are widely divided and stamped on the center with black. An edging of green surrounds this imprint. From mid spring to summer a continuous supply of spears of flowers that are tinted pink and open to white. Spreads to form prodigious colonies in rich, moisture retentive soil with regular irrigation. Lovely plant that brightens woodland in part shade. An annual top dressing of compost is greatly appreciated. To 1′ tall in bloom and leafy clumps spread out to several feet wide. Excellent along stream banks, ponds spreading love in dappled light. Semi-evergreen in winter.

Xera Plants Introduction 

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Tolmiea menziesii

Piggy Back plant is what we called this moisture loving woodland plant. Its famous for its ability to sprout a new plant right from the leaf petiole, it forms roots and drops off the plant and roots into the ground. Its also commonly known as a very easy to grow houseplant. Native from Southern Alaska to Northern California. In moist, cool climates like the coast it can grow just about anywhere. The distinctly arrow shaped leaves cover the ground densely on a wide spreading perennial. In mid-spring 2′ spikes erupt with rows of brownish-red flowers. A member of the Saxafrage family  and closely related to Heucheras and Tiarellas. this is as superb a garden plant. Evergreen and consistently moist shady sites are where it thrives. Though with some supplemental water it can make its home in some pretty challenging dry shade. Foliage forms spreading mounds to 10″ tall and spreads laterally 2′-3′ when happy. Plants shrink somewhat in winter, and not as verdant but they do cover the ground and out compete weeds. Great container plant. Very nice naturalized among ferns of any kind. Native to the Portland city limits. Oregon native plant.

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Tolmiea menziesii ‘Taff’s Gold’

An exceptional variegated form of our native “pigaback” plant that is excellent as a groundcover in dense to light shade. Vigorous and evergreen it will spread to 4′ wide in 2 years but stay only 1′ tall. Very easy to grow, works well under established Rhododendrons. Pretty, but not conspicuous brown flowers. Regular water but will take drought if in the shade. Easy, indispensible native plant.  Forms new plants directly from the center of each leaf. Cool trick. Also grown as a houseplant. Good in containers. Oregon native plant.

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