Sanicula crassicaulis

Pacific Snakeroot is a fascinating native perennial that is native west of the Cascades from British Columbia south -to the tip of South America.  A summer deciduous perennial whose presence is really from January to July- before slipping into summer/dry dormancy. This unique plant forms handsome palmate leaves that are edged in black when young.  As summer approaches the plant elongates up to 30″ tall and begins to bloom. Tight gold/charteuse inflorescence  that must attract very specific pollinators. I know for a fact that it draws butteries because I vividly remember them visiting this plant in the country. I’ve always found this easy growing plant pleasant and I have to admit that it is present in just about every biome west of the Cascade Crest. At the coast it is nearly evergreen – no need for summer dormancy. The small spiny seeds that perch at the top of plant are carried away by animals. Adapted to a LOT of soil conditions including compacted xeric clay. Forms increasing rosettes to 18″ across. More than likely you will find seedlings. Found in the Willamette Valley with Dodecatheon, Camassia, Rosa, and in shade with Symphoricarpos and Polystichum. Full sun to full shade. Not eaten by deer. Oregon native plant.

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Trillium albidum

Giant Trillium or Great Western Wake Robin, I think the first name is the most common. This sweet large woodland Trillium inhabits moist woods in the valleys of the western side of the Cascades. Its sporadic in occurrence but when you do stumble upon it in the woods its often very profuse. The stature and individual leaf size are what give this somewhat subtle flowered perennial its name of Giant Trillium. It is very easy to tell aside from western Trillium, T. ovatum. which is a smaller daintier plant with larger white flowers that normally senesce to pink/red before falling apart. Giant Trillium has much smaller individual creamy white flowers and they almost appear as an afterthought in the center of the large leaves which can appear initially with black mottling that then fades. To 2′ tall  and increasing to form large patches in vernally moist woods. Giant Trillium goes dormant by mid summer and there is no presence until the following spring. Beware deer love Trilliums. There are two other sub species of Giant Trillium endemic to the Willamette Valley. This is the most widespread species.  Rich, moisture retentive soil  in part shade to shade.  Oregon native plant.

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Fritillaria affinis

Mission Bells or Western Checker lily. This is a handsome native bulb that is found extensively throughout the west side of the Cascades. It can inhabit Oregon oak savanna or Douglas fir forests. It is a prime Willamette Valley prairie component. This was one of the first native plants that i ever grew. In our backyard in the country under white/black oaks you would see them sporadically. When I put up a fence to  block the voracious deer I inadvertently protected a patch of uncultivated forest floor. Where there was one meager Mission Bell the first year blossomed literally into 25 the next year and 50 the following year. Apparently, the deer had been eating them. So,learn my lesson protect this native plant from deer. To 20″ tall in bloom in April to June. The flowers are large for a Fritillaria and are most often black brown with green checkers and nod dramatically. To  be honest this is a flower to view up close, from a distance this mostly green and brown plant blends right in to the forest floor. Tolerant of many soil types, ours grew in heavy silica based clay that dried to concrete in summer. Once established this tough bulb thrives and each lives many years. Spreads by seeds and bulbils and offset bulbs. Goes completely summer dormant with true heat- no presence in summer. Attracts quite a few pollinators including butterflies.  No supplemental water in summer.Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Oregon native plant.

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Viburnum tinus ‘Variegatum’

Spring bouquet viburnum or Laurusitinus is a common shrub in our climate. This form lightens up what can be a very pedestrian plant. The edges of the evergreen leaves are margined in cream with an interior of soft green. This makes a shrub that glows year round and can be used to lighten up dark corners. In autumn clusters of pink buds form and hold until mid winter. Then as the days begin to lengthen it opens these clusters which are lightly fragrant and white. Strong growing shrub that requires  very little water once established. To 8′ tall and 5′ wide in 6 years. Full sun to part shade to high overhead shade. Nice looking, tough shrub native to the Mediterranean very easy to grow and long lived. If a green sport appears simply prune it off to the base to retain the variegated form. Water to establish. Not deer resistant. Excellent backdrop to a mixed border or trimmed into a contained hedge. Nice fast growing screen. Blue berries sometimes follow the flowers.  Buds and flowers put on a show for months. Blooms on wood from the previous season prune after flowering if needed. Naturally dense and rounded.

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Coptis laciniata

Oregon cut leaf gold thread is a widespread but not common evergreen perennial that is found in dry shade on the west side of the Cascades. Native primarily to Oregon it extends north into Washington and is rare south into California.  A colony creating perennial that has handsome, intricate deep green foliage. The arrow shaped leaves are arranged in rosettes along the expanding yellow stolons. The effect is a dense cover that expands at a slow rate. In spring sparse thread like flowers are curious followed by swollen seed pods arranged in a circle. Rich to average soil in shade to dappled shade, though if pushed it can tolerate  a little sun. Good year round appearance. It may be cut back at the end of winter, but I haven’t really found this to be necessary. Use its best attributes, adaptation to dry shade and evergreen good looks as a limited groundcover beneath woodland perennials or at its best on the forest floor. Not a wide scale groundcover and clumps expand at a slow/moderate pace. Not adapted to compacted or clay soils. Best in heavy duff on the forest floor. Great in shade containers at the foot of Aspidistra . Not bothered by deer. Limited quantities. It derives its common name from the bright yellow roots and stolons. Water until you see good new growth then set it free.  Oregon native plant.

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Ligusticum apiifolium

Celery leaved Licorice root is a subtle native  perennial that is widespread in the western third of the state. In late spring  umbels of white flowers are symmetrical and beckon to a host of pollinators. Especially attractive to native wasp species that are good and that predate bad caterpillars. The arrow shaped glossy deep green divided leaves provide a handsome collar for the subtle flowers in bloom. The entire plant tastes and smells very strongly of anise and as children on hikes we would eat the green seeds before they ripened for a blasting hit of licorice. To 2′ x 2′ forming long lived clumps in part shade to full sun. Prolific in the Willamette Valley and able to compete somewhat with non-natives. Water to establish plants from containers in rich soil with consistent irrigation until about the Fourth of July. then it can go dry. Self sows moderately. A common component of Oregon oak woodlands. Often found with Phacelia heterophylla and Polysticum minutum (Western Sword Fern). Oregon native plant.

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Begonia grandis ‘Alba’

Flowers are always at a premium in shade, and late season bloomers for shade are not profuse. This wonderful white flowered form of this hardy Begonia is a sparkling white treat. Masses of snow white flowers on white pendant stems decorate the top of the plant from August to October. The foliage with leaves shaped like large deep green wings are an excellent back drop to feature the contrasting pure flowers. This is a wonderful and very different effect than the the much more common pink flowered selections. The purity of the flowers is divine and they seems to appear from nowhere often in the hottest days of summer. At our wholesale nursery I found myself stopping to look at this beautiful perennial every time I passed it. It is exceptionally pretty Part shade to high overhead shade in rich soil with regular summer irrigation. Though it will arrive smaller with less flowers without water. Not bothered by slugs or snails it rises with the opulent green foliage to about 2′ tall before  flowering commences. Very easy and long lived perennial. It persists with quite a bit of neglect. Mulch after planting to even out soil moisture. Avoid blasting reflected heat and drought.  Often self sows and also propagates by small bulbils. This is never out of control and is usually welcome. Forms expanding patches to several feet wide. Disappears entirely in winter, nada and it arrives late in spring (be patient) it is more than hardy to cold. Wonderful plant Thank you Peter for this plant.

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Ternstroemia gymnanthera

Obscure but exceedingly handsome and reliable shrub for hedges, specimens, eventually a small tree. Rounded leaves are good looking year round and especially when they first emerge brilliant salmon red before settling to dark green. This is the most showy display on this plant and it lasts for weeks. In mid-late summer small pendant white/cream flowers are nestled among the leaves, you really have to look to see them. Clean evergreen whose foliage is never marred by fungus or cold. Full sun to high overhead shade. To 8′-10′ tall and about half as wide. With great age and no pruning it can achieve small tree status and it forms attractive cloud like crowns of foliage. As a hedge  it excels. Plant 2 gallon plants on 3′ centers and mulch. Irrigate about once a week until you see good new growth. Established plants are very tolerant of dry conditions. Theaceae- Camellia family. Excellent cold hardiness to 0ºF, tolerates some subfreezing wind. Excellent companion plant for Rhododendrons, Pieris, Illicium. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. Native to Japan.  Good looking tough plant. Light deer resistance.

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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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Frangula (Rhamnus) californica ‘Josephine County’

(California) Coffee Berry. Greg collected the berries/seed from this evergreen shrubby species in southwestern Oregon. In Josephine county it is a common dry shade understory component of both the forest and in open stands in chaparral. A light and gaunt  evergreen with slightly glossy convex leaves that hang on the tips of the gray branches. In spring/ summer tiny green flowers morph into the familiar berries. They start green move to red and arrive at black/brown. To 6′ tall x 6′ wide on average. Growth in rich soil is much more verdant and dense. In dry shade, its natural haunt, it assumes its most common form. Birds will spread this tough shrub that is ideal for wild scaping, xeric landscaping, rural areas. Perhaps its most wonderful characteristic is that it is deer resistant- they will munch but it will cause the plant to return twice as dense and verdant. Leaves are glossy on top and blue/gray on the reverse and persist for 3-5 years. Full sun to quite a bit of shade in average to slightly enriched soil. Water to establish, or ideally plant in fall then natural rainfall alone. It will tolerate quite a bit of shade as well as root competition but not low shade, high overstay shade is better. . Informal shrub- good year round appearance. Extreme drought adaptation when established. In habitat this shrub is found with Arctostaphylos canescens, viscida, and Rhododendron occidentale and macrophyllum. Overstory is Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Pseudotsuga, Pinus attentuata, Umbellularia californica. Quercus sp.  Cold hardy. Great for wildlife. Seed grown., Oregon native plant

Xera Plants Introduction

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