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

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn7a 5º to 0ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Hosta plantaginea

Fragrant August lily. We don’t grow very many Hostas. For the most part they are water lovers and they require care to really thrive in our climate. This classic species is much tougher than most and makes due with bold, solid  green leaves and 3′ spikes of powerfully fragrant white flowers in late summer.  Fragrant hosta lily forms a clump 2′ tall and spreading to 4′ wide. Adaptable to shade (higher overhead shade) part shade, and full sun. Rich soil with regular water gives verdancy and encourages a large set of blooms. The fragrance of the many flower spikes is detectable many feet away on warm days. Give this large plant room to spread, plan ahead. Also, take note of where you want to smell the wafting perfume- near benches, seating etc. Completely winter deciduous. Plant with other bold perennials in the woodland where rich soil and regular moisture give it a long life. Plant with Bergenia ciliata for a bold duo. Regular summer water if located in full sun. Very long lived. Protect the emerging plant for slugs and snails. Bait regularly.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome:  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4a -25º to -30ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Liriope platyphylla

One of the boldest species of lily turf that is as tough and adaptable as the rest of the genus. Wide leaves (for this genus) measure about 1″ wide and form rosettes that are staunchly evergreen. The initial rosette measures about 1′ across, in time it increases by stolons as well as enlarging clumps. This species is native to SW Asia and is surprisingly cold hardy.  Great year round appearance of foliage. In late summer 2′  thin spikes  rise above the leaves and displays soft mauve flowers for several weeks. An added vertical element that is subtle but very pretty. Part shade to shade, avoid hot dry sites. Rich soil and regular irrigation speeds growth and establishment. Adaptable to dry shade when established. Great in year round containers- I have yet to see it blemished by winter weather. Easy to grow, long lived perennial that is pretty and useful. Not bothered by deer- unsure about rabbits but I suspect they would love it. This Liriope has the widest leaves. Clumping. Consistent summer irrigation for the best appearance. Pronounced Leer-EYE- oh-pee.

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6b 0º to -5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Abutilon (Callianthe) ‘Nabob’

Odd name for a wonderful flowering maple. This Abutilon has earned its fame with large deep red/black red pendant flowers for months on end. In one season it will form a substantial sub-shrub and bloom continuously as it grows.  Rounded habit to 4’x 3′. Its best home is in containers where you can inspect the intensity of the flower color up close. Each globe shaped flower is 1 1/2″ wide and they occur in a huge display for months. Loved by hummingbirds and pollinators as well. Rich soil with regular irrigation. In spring if the winter has been normal to mild it will often resprout from the base when warm weather returns. Mulch in autumn to protect the base. The early spring appearance is pretty awful the solution  is to water, water, water, and add a 1/2 cup of all purpose organic fertilizer. Recovery is rapid as the weather warms. If in a mobile container it may be moved into an unheated garage and watered once a month through winter. Bring out, fertilize and water when all threat of frost has passed. Classic flowering maple.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn9a 25º to 20ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season: ,


Ribes roezlii

Sierra gooseberry or sticky gooseberry is a pretty if prickly native deciduous shrub for rough areas. Charming in bloom , the 1/2″ pendant flowers have sepals that are reflexed and red around a pendant white corolla. After opening they both change to light red and remain showy for several weeks. They line zig zagging stems with three thorns at each node. That means  you must site this 7′ tall by 4′ wide arching plant carefully. The flowers are pretty viewed up close and turn into prickly translucent green/red drupes. These are eaten by a huge variety of wildlife and especially smaller birds. Often the shrub will be completely stripped of berries by the time the soft orange fall color appears. Native from the Cascades of Marion county south throughout inland California down to San Diego county CA. Its most often found in dry gravelly areas on slopes in full sun to deep woods where its habit is more restrained and open. Blooms appear in mid spring. Water lightly to establish the first summer then only what falls from the sky in subsequent years. Adaptable to dry shade if it is not completely dark. Moderate deer resistance. Very similar to another native Gooseberry Ribes lobbii which is discrete in its dull non sticky leaves. Wonderful native shrub.Rarely seen in habitat below 1000′.  Oregon native plant

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Oxalis oregana ‘White Flower Form’

There are quite a few selection off Redwood Sorrel or Oregon sorrel. This is the most common light green leaved form that you see carpeting shady dells and tree rootwells in the deepest shade. To 8″ tall and spreading vigorously by underground stolons. Clear white flowers in mid to late spring. Edible. Very simple plant to grow in part shade to shade. It will even thrive on an open north exposure. The soft foliage is semi-evergreen and has a great rebirth in spring. Not bothered by pests or deer. Spreads to several feet wide in rich soil high in humus. Do not plant with smaller delicate neighbors this plant will easily swamp them. Avoid full sun and compacted soils. Established plants can get by the summer with minimal to no irrigation. Oregon native plant.

t

My Favorites

Plant type: ,  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn6b 0º to -5ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Iris tenuis

Clackamas Iris is a rare endemic to only three counties in northern Oregon. Though it appears in scale with Pacific Coast Iris, it is not related and is more closely aligned with bearded Iris. Pale green 15mm wide leaves first emerge vertically before settling to a more horizontal position. Light lavender buds unfurl to white with yellow on the falls in May-July. In its native range this smaller iris is everywhere which  begs the question; Why isn’t its natural range larger? Not bothered by deer or pests this is a supremely climate adapted perennial. To 12″ tall in bloom the arching leaves equal that and spreads out. Light consistent summer water to establish, then only what falls from the sky. Full sun to quite a bit of shade. In habitat it is an understory component with Sword Ferns and shrubs such as Hazel, Oso Berry, and Viburnum. Provide deep rich soil and room to spread. This Iris makes very large colonies quickly- to 3′ wide.  The broad leaves are winter deciduous. Wonderful Iris for gardens and wild areas.  Oregon native plant.

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5b -10º to -15ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Dicentra formosa

Oregon bleeding heart is a widespread lush, long blooming perennial wildflower for moist conditions in shade to full sun. A somewhat rambunctious plant that spreads quickly by stolons. Do not plant it near shy or small plants that can become swamped. It tolerates quite a bit of shade and if in full sun it thrives with supplemental water and a massive flower display. Divided soft green foliage is very good looking, in April-July a continuous supply of rose colored downward pointing clumps of flowers on an 18″ spike. The foliage rises on average to half that height. Responds vigorously to amended soils and regular irrigation. In hot dry situations it will go quickly summer dormant. In the shade with water leaves persist to autumn and re-bloom  occurs. Not bothered by pests, including deer and snails and slugs. Frequently found in shady ditches in the Willamette Valley. Winter deciduous, if not already summer drought deciduous. An easy to grow, self sufficient perennial for wild areas. Mix with other vigorous and scaled plants. Very easy to grow.  Oregon native plant

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: , ,
Biome: , , , , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn5a -15º to -20ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season: ,


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

My Favorites

Plant type:  |  Sun exposure: ,
Biome: , , ,  |  USDA Hardiness zone: Zn4b -20º to -25ºF
Foliage color:  |  Foliage season:


Frangula (Rhamnus) purshiana

AKA Cascara or Cascara sagrada. This is a widespread small tree to shrub in the northwestern part of the United States to SW Canada. West of the Cascades  its found in almost every biome. It can be a wind contorted shrub on blasting headlands at the coast. In the Willamette Valley its common where birds drop the berries/seeds on fence rows and it borders fields with native roses and Oso Berry. Its even found in the Bitteroot mountains in Montana/Idaho. It was frequently used by indigenous people as a laxative. Cascara is a small round crowned tree/shrub. In drier locations it is more shrub like but in deep, rich soil with access to water it can grow to be a thirty five foot tree. Large round alternate leaves turn dark green and glossy in summer. In May and June the tiny greenish flower appear and transform into red fruits by autumn. This is the mechanism that makes this plant so widespread, its dispersal by birds. A lovely little straight trunked shade tree that requires almost no water once established. It functions as an understory component as well. Full sun to quite a bit of shade, including dry shade. Easy to grow and climate adapted. Average life span 35 years. In winter its very symmetrical open branch structure is handsome. Fall color is soft yellow to chartreuse and not especially showy. Oregon native plant

My Favorites