Showy, elongate clusters of purple, pea-like flowers top the 1-2 ft. stems of this perennial lupine. Blue, pea-like flowers are in an upright, elongated, terminal cluster on an erect stem with palmately compound leaves. Its leaves are palmately divided into 7-11 leaflets. Occasionally flowers range from pink to white.
The plant was once thought to deplete or wolf the mineral content of the soil; hence the genus name derived from the Latin lupus (wolf). Actually the plant and all the family enhances soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen into a useful form. In the south this flower has narrower leaflets and is often recognized as a separate species, Nuttals Lupine (L. nuttallii). Two southern species with undivided elliptic leaves are Spreading Lupine (L. diffusus), with blue flowers and a whitish spot on the standard (upper petal), and Hairy Lupine (L. villosus), a hairy plant with lavender-blue flowers and a red-purple spot on the standard. They are found from North Carolina to Florida and west to Louisiana. A species found in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado, Nebraska Lupine (L. plattensis), has blue flowers with a dark spot on the standard and paddle-shaped leaflets. L. polyphyllus is becoming extremely abundant in the Northeast, particularly Maine and adjacent Canada; it was introduced from the Northwest.
Warning: Plants in the genus Lupinus, especially the seeds, can be toxic to humans and animals if ingested. POISONOUS PARTS: Seeds. Toxic only if eaten in large quantities. Symptoms include respiratory depression and slow heartbeat, sleepiness, convulsions. Toxic Principle: Alkaloids such as lupinine, anagyrine, sparteine, and hydroxylupanine.
Blue spikes of pea-shaped flowers resemble the tall racemes of lupines in May and early June. A slow to mature, but very rewarding native garden perennial. Found in open woods, river banks and sandy floodplains, New York to Nebraska to Georgia.
Wild Senna is a versatile plant that we think deserves more recognition as a great choice for garden or restoration projects. Its lovely, bright yellow flowers bloom July-August, attracting many bees and butterflies. Autumn brings beautiful leaf colors and the formation of long black pods with seeds favored by larger birds like wild turkeys. A horizontal root system provides strength against winds, allowing the plant’s stately (4-6′) beauty to be appreciated even after the storm. Some gardeners use this sun-loving plant to form a hedge.
It is virtually indistinguishable from its relative, Maryland Senna (Senna marilandica) until the two species have ripe seeds. The Wild Senna will readily open its pod and the seeds will fall out, whereas the Maryland Senna seed pods will stay tightly closed. Other than this, it is very hard to tell the two species apart.
Spider Milkweed is also commonly known as Green Antelopehorn Milkweed. In Texas, it is quite common and is considered an important food source for the Monarchs as they start their spring migration northward. Spider Milkweed has a native range of Texas north to Nebraska and eastward as far as West Virginia and South Carolina. It can be found along roadsides, ditches, prairies, open areas, and other areas with little vegetative competition. This species tends to be short (12 inches) with multiple stems emerging from the root crown of mature plants. Taller, more erect plants, usually with one or a few stems, can be found in moist prairies. Spider Milkweed features rose-white flowers surrounded by green that form in showy umbellated clusters, often one per plant.
Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers dryish, sandy soils. Self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. Plants tend to open up and sprawl if grown in overly fertile soils or in anything less than full sun. This is a taprooted plant which transplants poorly and is best left undisturbed once established.
Relatively rare in the wild and in cultivation, this coneflower is stunning in summer and flowers for an extended period. It’s bright pure yellow flowers consist of drooping petals surrounding a soft brown cone. Butterflies and other beneficials will flock to the flowers for nectar. Goldfinches devoured the seeds in late summer and fall.
‘Ice Ballet’ is an elegant, long-blooming, bright white cultivar of native Asclepias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed) and features a compact habit and dark green foliage. Swamp milkweed occurs throughout most of the United States. It is a tall plant found in moist habitats such as wet meadows, floodplains, riverbanks, pond shores, stream banks, wet woods, swamps, and marshes, although it will also grow in drier areas such as prairies, fields, and roadsides. Asclepias incarnata needs full sun or partial shade to flourish. Flowers are very attractive to butterflies and bees as a nectar source. Swamp milkweed is also an important food source for the larval stage of Monarch butterflies. The plants are deer resistant and heat tolerant.
Asclepias incarnata Swamp Milkweed occurs throughout most of the United States. It is a tall plant found in moist habitats such as wet meadows, floodplains, riverbanks, pond shores, stream banks, wet woods, swamps, and marshes, although it will also grow in drier areas such as prairies, fields, and roadsides. Swamp milkweed needs full sun or partial shade to flourish. Flowers are fragrant and very attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies and bees as a nectar source. Swamp milkweed is also an important food source for the larval stage of Monarch butterflies. The plants are deer resistant and heat tolerant. Also known as Rose Milkweed, Red Milkweed, and Marsh Milkweed.