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Plants for pollinators

Acer circinatum - Vine Maple
Acer circinatum - Vine Maple

From a small tree to a large shrub, the Vine Maple has elegant form and texture. Airy and delicate, often multi-stemmed, this native is as beautiful as any imported species. 

Acer glabrum var. douglasii - Douglas Maple
Acer glabrum var. douglasii - Douglas Maple

A charming native, similar to and often found with Vine Maple, the Douglas Maple also has brilliant fall color. Twigs and buds are red in the winter, adding to its year-round beauty. Use it to lighten and brighten a conifer planting, in a mixed border, or as an attractive specimen. 

Acer macrophyllum - Big Leaf Maple
Acer macrophyllum - Big Leaf Maple

This large native maple is handsome all year, and a good tree for wildlife. It can easily dominate the area where its planted. The Big-leaf Maple goes well with Alders, Ninebark, and Douglas Spirea along a waterway.

Amelanchier alnifolia - Western Serviceberry
Amelanchier alnifolia - Western Serviceberry

Western Serviceberry, also known as Saskatoon, is a delightful native shrub cultivated for its racemes of adorable, 5-petaled, star-shaped, white-pink flowers, and its fine autumn color and fruit.

Arbutus menziesii - Madrone
Arbutus menziesii - Madrone

A distinctive native, the Madrone is prized by those who have it, and worth trying to find a spot to put it. Because it resents excessive water, it is a good choice for dry sites along with manzanita, mountain mahogany, and other drought tolerant species. Excellent provider of food and habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. 

Arbutus unedo - Strawberry Tree
Arbutus unedo - Strawberry Tree

A great plant for a sunny, well-drained spot, the Strawberry Tree is interesting all year. It makes a wonderful evergreen screen when allowed to branch from the base. When pruned, it is an attractive, open small tree. 

Arctostaphylos manzanita - Common Manzanita
Arctostaphylos manzanita - Common Manzanita

This beautiful native, evergreen shrub is known and admired for its gnarled branches, dense-crowned picturesque form, rich purple-red smooth bark which checkers and peels every season, and its delicate-pink urn-shaped blossoms. A signature plant of our region, it deserves a specimen location.

Arctostaphylos uva ursi - Kinnikinnick, Pinemat Manzanita
Arctostaphylos uva ursi - Kinnikinnick, Pinemat Manzanita

Quite hardy, fast growing and has beautiful big red berries. We like to plant this where it can spread out and become a specimen in a native landscape, near rocks, trailing over a wall, associated with other dry site natives. 

Arctostaphylos viscida - Sticky Whiteleaf Manzanita
Arctostaphylos viscida - Sticky Whiteleaf Manzanita
Artemisia tridentata (Seriphidium tridentata) - Big Sagebrush
Artemisia tridentata (Seriphidium tridentata) - Big Sagebrush

A well-known native of our east side high desert, Sagebrush is well adapted to hot dry sites. Its silvery gray foliage is a good contrast to green-leafed plants. Use it with other drought tolerant species, massed, or as an unclipped screening hedge. 

Asarum caudatum - Wild Ginger
Asarum caudatum - Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger is an excellent native groundcover for a shady, moist, but well drained area. We use this with ferns, wild bleeding heart, vancouveria and other native shade-lovers for really pleasing combinations.

Asclepias speciosa - Showy Milkweed
Asclepias speciosa - Showy Milkweed

This eye-catching native herbaceous perennial has become a very popular plant recently for its pollinator-attracting abilities. A critical component in the diet of Monarch caterpillers, Showy Milkweed is now an essential element to include in your ladnscape! 

Ceanothus gloriosus - Point Reyes Ceanothus
Ceanothus gloriosus - Point Reyes Ceanothus

This gorgeous little beauty is a wonderful broadleaf evergreen ground cover endemic to coastal California, where it grows in seaside bluffs and on slopes of coastal mountains. These are commonly used in gardens and native plant landscapes, in beach sand, or in the back of a perennial bed.

Cornus stolonifera (C. sericea) - Red Osier Dogwood
Cornus stolonifera (C. sericea) - Red Osier Dogwood

In the wild, these beautiful, fast-growing North American natives thrive in wetlands by spreading via underground stolons and creating dense thickets. Their dark-red branches provide a stunning aesthetic contrast with snowy landscapes in wintertime.

Corylopsis spicata - Spike Winterhazel
Corylopsis spicata - Spike Winterhazel

This is an extraordinarily lovely, early spring blooming plant. While best known for its wonderful floral display, its open, crooked branching structure is attractive, as is the foliage. This is an effective border plant, or along a drive where its cheerful, even spectacular, blossoms can be enjoyed. Try against an evergreen background to show off its early bloom.

Crataegus douglasii - Douglas Hawthorn
Crataegus douglasii - Douglas Hawthorn

Sometimes a thicket-forming shrub, in its tree form, Douglas Hawthorn can grow to thirty feet. Its stout branches develop into a compact, rounded crown. Leaves are sharply toothed, but unlike the invasive species that have escaped from cultivation, these are only slightly lobed. The fruit is crab-apple size, very dark red or purplish, looks black.

Heracleum maximum (H. lanatum) - Cow Parsnip
Heracleum maximum (H. lanatum) - Cow Parsnip

This popular North American native boasts quite a tall, stately presence as a biennial herb. It's tall, spreading habit allows it to reach up to 6 feet tall. It's large, lobed leaves and easily recognizable flower umbels make this a great choice for a border planting or riparian project.

Holodiscus discolor - Ocean Spray
Holodiscus discolor - Ocean Spray

Sometimes called Arrow-wood for its strong, straight, young branches, or Cream Bush for its foamy clusters of flowers and seeds, this is one of our choice natives. It blooms in summer, from June to August. Use this massed on a hillside, as a specimen in a drier location, or along a water course.

Mahonia aquifolium - Oregon Grape
Mahonia aquifolium - Oregon Grape

Bright yellow flowers, bronzy new growth of stout evergreen foliage, attractive dark blue berries in summer, and colorful, red-purple tones in winter---what more could you ask! Add drought tolerance (once established) and good wildlife habitat, and you've got an 'ultimate' plant! A native, it adapts well to many situations. 

Mahonia repens - Creeping Oregon Grape
Mahonia repens - Creeping Oregon Grape

This evergreen native spreads slowly, isn't invasive, and is a good plant for use under large shrubs or trees. It should be included in a native woodland, and is an appealing foundation plant. 

Malus fusca - Western Crabapple
Malus fusca - Western Crabapple

Crabapples are excellent wildlife plants: butterflies feed on the nectar; the leaves are food for their larvae. Pheasants, sapsuckers, woodpeckers, jays, robins, and more eat the fruits. Hummingbirds use the nectar.

Mimulus guttatus - Seep Monkeyflower
Mimulus guttatus - Seep Monkeyflower

This adorable herbaceous perennial loves to thrive in wet areas, and would look excellent planted next to a pond, stream, or fountain. Small yellow flowers add a sunny accent to the scene.

Oemleria cerasiformis - Indian Plum, Oso Berry
Oemleria cerasiformis - Indian Plum, Oso Berry

One of the earliest natives to leaf out and bloom each spring, Oso-berry is charming with its white flower clusters hanging from the tips of branches. Delightful among the still dormant maples and alders of its riparian haunts. Allowed to grow into a thicket, Indian Plum provides cover and nesting sites. A valuable restoration plant when used along stream banks or in a woodland.

Philadelphus lewisii - Mock Orange
Philadelphus lewisii - Mock Orange

Often recommended for erosion control, most folks plant this beauty for its fragrant June-July blossoms. Seed are eaten by many birds including grosbeaks, juncos, thrushes, bluebirds, flickers, quail, and the chickadee-finch group. It's a good nectar plant for several butterflies, too.

Physocarpus capitatus - Pacific Ninebark
Physocarpus capitatus - Pacific Ninebark

A tall, multi-stemmed shrub with attractive shredding bark. It can be trained as a small tree, but is pleasing as a large, informal shrub. Fast-growing, it can create a screen, hold a bank, or add interest to a mixed border.

Rhamnus purshiana - Cascara Sagrada
Rhamnus purshiana - Cascara Sagrada

A good wildlife plant, this plants' berries (decorative yellow or red before turning black) are eaten by grosbeaks, woodpeckers, jays, robins and tanagers. Insect-eating species are also attracted to Cascara; kinglets, bushtits, chickadees, and nuthatches. Leaves are used by the swallowtail and other butterflies. Bears, foxes and raccoons enjoy the fruit, too!

Rhamnus tomentella - Hoary Coffeeberry, Mountain Coffeeberry
Rhamnus tomentella - Hoary Coffeeberry, Mountain Coffeeberry

Silvery blue-gray tomentose leaves set this broadleaf evergreen shrub apart. Sure to catch the eye, choose this shrub to add a tinge of fresh cool color to your landscape and to attract birds. 

 

Ribes aureum - Golden Currant
Ribes aureum - Golden Currant

Less commonly used than the red-flowering Currant, the Clove Currant is also a pleasing ornamental plant. Two-inch racemes of spicy-scented golden yellow flowers can brighten a mixed border or woodland. The black fruits feed wildlife and punctuate with the red to purple fall foliage.

Ribes nevadense - Sierra Currant, Mountain Pink Currant
Ribes nevadense - Sierra Currant, Mountain Pink Currant

Sierra Currant is a cheerful plant desirable for its clusters of pink and white flowers hanging below its branchlets. A nice woodland choice, it is also useful in the shrub border.

Ribes sanguineum - Red Flowering Currant
Ribes sanguineum - Red Flowering Currant

Many gardeners who love this plant do not realize it is a native, found in our Pacific Northwest forest. While Red-flowering Currant survives under less than desirable conditions, its real beauty comes when it is nurtured with ample water and good soil. The blue-black fruits are appreciated by the birds.

Rosa nutkana - Nootka Rose
Rosa nutkana - Nootka Rose

If you have a spare corner, or better, a place for a thicket, consider the Nootka Rose. Bloom is charming and the fruits, or hips, add color to the fall and winter landscape. Essential in a wildlife garden that has room for them, they are useful on restoration projects.

Rosa pisocarpa - Clustered Rose
Rosa pisocarpa - Clustered Rose

Usually found on stream banks or wetland edges, the Clustered Rose is the daintiest of our native roses. Sometimes wispy and delicate, it can form thickets, too. Try this in as understory, where it will get occasional water.

Rosa rugosa - Hedgehog Rose, Sea Tomato
Rosa rugosa - Hedgehog Rose, Sea Tomato

Much heavier in texture than our native species, this exotic rose's robust leaves are somewhat leathery, deep green, and slightly curled. Where there is room for it, it is a useful choice, and widely admired for its attractive blooms and orange-red autumn hips, an inch or more in diameter.

Rosa woodsii - Woods Rose
Rosa woodsii - Woods Rose

Pretty blossoms in May to July and the red hips that follow are cheerful and bright. It naturally grows in moist woods and along stream banks in the mountains, so a lightly shaded site that has some regular water is preferred. Like other native roses, it provides excellent wildlife habitat. Try this in a corner or along a border.

Rubus parviflorus - Thimbleberry
Rubus parviflorus - Thimbleberry

Thimbleberry is one of those plants that contribute to the overall 'feel' of Oregon's woodlands. Big maple-like leaves are soft and downy, inviting to touch. Good soil-binding characteristic adds to its value for erosion control or disturbed sites. The large soft berries are eaten by jays, quail, finches, wrens and bushtits.

Sambucus mexicana (S. caerulea) - Blue Elderberry
Sambucus mexicana (S. caerulea) - Blue Elderberry

It has been determined that the Elderberry of this region is more properly designated mexicana, so that is the name we will use. Whatever it is called, this is a great plant! Use this handsome plant in the wild garden, where its spectacular displays of flower and fruit can be enjoyed.

Spiraea densiflora - Subalpine Spirea
Spiraea densiflora - Subalpine Spirea

This is a good choice for the woodland garden, a mixed border, or with other subalpine plants. It is as lovely as any exotic spirea, and deserves a place in the garden. It has good soil-holding properties, and is used for riparian restoration.

Spiraea douglasii - Western Spirea
Spiraea douglasii - Western Spirea

Another stunning native, the Douglas Spirea has pink to rose flowers in three-inch conical spikes. It is suitable for the shrub border, clustered in a bed of its own or in front of conifers, essential to a woodland. Butterflies enjoy the nectar and their larvae eat the leaves.

Symphoricarpos albus - Snowberry
Symphoricarpos albus - Snowberry

Soft blue-green leaves set off the small, pinkish-white, urn-shaped flowers where hummingbirds come for nectar. Plant this to offer shelter to birds and small animals, to control erosion, or to add a light texture to an informal hedge or woodland. Clusters of marble-sized white berries provide winter food when there's not much else available for birds. 

Thymus praecox Minus - Minus Creeping Thyme
Thymus praecox Minus - Minus Creeping Thyme

This miniature thyme with medium-green leaves is gorgeous in a rock garden or along a walk, making dense, solid mats 1-16in. across. The leaves are so tiny, it looks a bit like moss, so you might plant it in areas that get too much sun for moss but where a moss would look good. 

Tilia cordata - Littleleaf Linden
Tilia cordata - Littleleaf Linden

This medium to large deciduous species has long been in cultivation- planted along avenues in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It's formal habit, regularity and symmetry is well loved among landscapers, and the fragrant clusters of bright yellow flowers attract bees and delight the senses. 

Vaccinium ovatum - Evergreen Huckleberry
Vaccinium ovatum - Evergreen Huckleberry

This broadleaf evergreen shrub is native to Pacific coast forests and is popular amongst animals and humans. Glossy green leaves contrast against tiny white-pink flowers that yield tasty purple-black berries. Great for a hedge or backdrop in the shade.