Closed gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) is a wildflower indigenous to meadows and thickets in northeastern regions of North America. This Gentiaceae family plant is a threatened species in Maryland and New York. Closed gentian develops from a taproot and grows to heights of 1 to 2 feet. During late summer until early fall, the blossoms are fused closed and form a cluster of blue, elongated cone-shaped flower buds. Surrounding the flowers are whorls of oval-shaped leaves in a glossy green hue. This perennial thrives in full to partial sun and moist soils. Cherokee Indians utilized closed gentian for medical purposes.
Oconee bells (Shortia galacifolia) are a rare herbaceous perennial native to the southern Appalachians. From the plant family Diapensiaceae, Oconee bells share their name with the Oconi tribe of Timucua Native Americans from Florida. Springtime brings the formation of nodding, white to pink or cone-shaped flowers with ruffled petals. Growing on 3- to 6-inch stalks the blossoms of the Oconee bells are 1-inch in length. The oval to round, toothed foliage of Oconee bells develops on long stalks and is a deep shiny green shade. Oconee bells enjoy partial shade to shade and live in moist rich wooded areas.
Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is a native shrub that develops white cone-shaped flower panicles that fade to dusty pink. The shrub, which can reach 6 to 8 feet at maturity, features leaves shaped like those of an oak tree. Foliage turns red in fall. The oakleaf hydrangea blooms on old wood, so prune back by half immediately after blooming. The plant prefers partial shade and is suitable for the edges of a woodland.
Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) is an invasive ornamental woody shrub treated like an herbaceous perennial in home gardens. Endemic to China and Japan, butterfly bush likes warm temperatures, fertile soil and full sun. A Buddlejaceae plant family member, butterfly bush grows to heights of 5 to 10 feet tall. The deciduous foliage is a grayish-green in color with serrated edges and tiny white hairs beneath the leaves. In the summer, 4- to 10-inch-long flowering cone-shaped spikes emerge in hues of yellow, pink, white and purple. This plant attracts butterflies and moths.