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Native Plants of Virginia

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Native Plants of Virginia

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According to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, native plants are defined as those that were in the state before any European settlement. These plants have adapted over time to the state's particular climate, soil and its timing of rainfall and frosts. These traits make natives a valuable alternative for planting in the state's backyard gardens, landscaping and historical garden restorations, the Virginia DCR advised in "Native Plants for Conservation, Restoration and Landscaping." They coexist well with most imported species, and many native plants are still used as agricultural crops in Virginia.

Serviceberry

Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) is a member of the rose family and is also known as juneberry, shadblow, shadbush and shadbloom. It is a deciduous--leaf dropping--shrub or small tree that is native to the forests in the temperate zones of Virginia, and as far south as Georgia. It can grow to a height of 20 feet and has a spread of 10 feet. The plant produces 2-inch white flowers in the spring at the same time as the leaves begin to unfurl. The flowers are replaced by small blue/black edible fruits. The plant needs partial sun and prefers wet soils. It can take dry soil once it becomes established. Because it does best in partial shade, it is a good choice for planting under a tall tree.

Pawpaw

The pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is also known as the "Indian banana." It is a small tree with a short trunk or a multi-stemmed shrub that can grow to a height of 10 to 40 feet. The plant produces purple flowers before leaves appear in the spring. Once the flowers are gone, large green or yellow edible fruit appears and is a favorite of opossums, squirrels, raccoons and birds. The flowers also attract birds and butterflies. The plant can grow in sun or partial to full shade and needs a rich, moist soil.

Eastern Redbud

Eastern redbud (Cercis Canadensis L.) is a tree with a short maroon/purple trunk and branches that spread sideways to from a round crown. The tree can grow to a height of from 15 to 30 feet. It produces pink flowers that grow in clusters and smooth, heart-shaped leaves. The plant grows along the Atlantic coast and around to central Texas. The trees needs a sunny spot and moist, well-drained soil. The flowers are edible and can be added to a salad or fried.

Keywords: Virginia Native Plants, Serviceberry, Pawpaw, Eastern Redbud

About this Author

Regina Sass is based in the Adirondack Region of New York State. She has been a writer for 10 years writing for publications in the real estate and retail industries. Online experience includes writing,advertising and editing for an educational web site. Sass is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.