From the salt marshes of Chincoteague and Assateague Islands to the forested slopes of the Blue Ridge, Virginia's terrain is home to an enormous variety of plants. The state's native flowering plants include herbs, shrubs, vines, trees and bulbs. Each has adapted to the growing conditions in its own small piece of Virginia. Many of them thrive in your Virginia landscape, brightening your garden and providing food and shelter for the local wildlife.
Eastern Red Columbine
Belonging to the buttercup family, eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) grows wild in Virginia's shady woods where the soil is rich in limestone. Reaching up to 2 feet, perennial red columbine is a jewel among Virginia wildflowers. Delicate three-lobed leaves provide an airy base for its elegant red and yellow spurred bell-shaped flowers. Flowers bloom as early as February, continuing in cool climates until July. Their nectar-filled spurs attract hummingbirds and bees.
Plant eastern red columbine in a partly shady to shady location. It likes moist, neutral-to-alkaline soil--sand or loam is best. Plants in sandy locations are healthy, dense, and long-lasting while those in full sun are susceptible to leaf burn. This vigorously self-sowing plant will continue to provide garden color for years.
A member of the holly family found in Virginia's sandy woodlands, yaupon (ilex vomitoria) is a 12[ to 45-foot- tall evergreen. Yaupon cultivars are available in a variety of forms, including dwarves and weeping trees. These heavily branched trees are heat and drought-resistant growing in sun or shade.
In April and May, yaupon produces white flowers followed in the winter with to small red berries on female trees. The trees' glossy green leaves and berries make its branches desirable as holiday decorations. Plant yaupon in moist, well-drained soil. Trees in full sun have the heaviest bloom and fruit. Birds nest in yaupon's branches and, along with small mammals, feast on its berries.
Like eastern red columbine, white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) belongs to the buttercup family and grows wild in in the shade of Virginia's forests and thickets. Standing 1 to 3 feet high with branching stems, the plants have divided saw-toothed leaves. Between May and June, clusters of fragrant white flowers appear. White porcelain-like berries, toxic if eaten in large amounts, follow the flowers.
Plant white baneberry, says the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, in a partly shady to shady location with moist to wet acidic soil. Soil type isn't significant as long as it is rich in humus.