Photo: ©Jeff McMillian @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS database
Sensitive fern Onoclea sensibilis
Campus Location: Rain Garden
Habitat: Sensitive Fern is found growing in wet meadows, thickets, woods, banks of streams and river, swamps, and in bogs. Sometimes these ferns are found growing along dried up streambeds and drainage ditches that will fill up with water when heavy rains fall. USDA Plants Database
In the Garden: This fern tolerates the toughest of conditions and is considered a low maintenance plant for moist sites. Onocolea sensibilis will want to have shade or part shade, but will tolerate sun with adequate moisture. Average garden soil on the acidic side with extra moisture will provide this fern with what it needs to grow well. Sensitive fern will tolerate wet soils and is very useful planted near water. Caution: this fern may cause poisoning and in some cases death in older horses.
Prehistoric and Still Popular.
From the Dinosaur era to the modern world of today, Sensitive Fern continues as it was growing several million years ago. Fossils of this fern have been found dating back more than 60 million years and look remarkably similar to today’s Sensitive Fern. This and other ferns have been popular in gardens for many years as well. Evolution gardens, or’ Jurassic’ gardens can turn a shady corner into a prehistoric wonderland. By using Gymnosperms (conifers) and seedless plants such as ferns, and Selaginellas you can replicate the plant culture that early man might have recognized.
via What’s Native

Photo: ©Jeff McMillian @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS database

Sensitive fern Onoclea sensibilis

Campus Location: Rain Garden

Habitat: Sensitive Fern is found growing in wet meadows, thickets, woods, banks of streams and river, swamps, and in bogs. Sometimes these ferns are found growing along dried up streambeds and drainage ditches that will fill up with water when heavy rains fall. USDA Plants Database

In the Garden: This fern tolerates the toughest of conditions and is considered a low maintenance plant for moist sites. Onocolea sensibilis will want to have shade or part shade, but will tolerate sun with adequate moisture. Average garden soil on the acidic side with extra moisture will provide this fern with what it needs to grow well. Sensitive fern will tolerate wet soils and is very useful planted near water. Caution: this fern may cause poisoning and in some cases death in older horses.

Prehistoric and Still Popular.

From the Dinosaur era to the modern world of today, Sensitive Fern continues as it was growing several million years ago. Fossils of this fern have been found dating back more than 60 million years and look remarkably similar to today’s Sensitive Fern. This and other ferns have been popular in gardens for many years as well. Evolution gardens, or’ Jurassic’ gardens can turn a shady corner into a prehistoric wonderland. By using Gymnosperms (conifers) and seedless plants such as ferns, and Selaginellas you can replicate the plant culture that early man might have recognized.

via What’s Native

Photo: Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Barnes, T.G., and S.W. Francis. 2004. Wildflowers and ferns of Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky.
Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica
Campus Location: Rain Garden
Stout spikes of two-lipped blue flowers bloom in September and October. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions, forming attractive colonies.
Culture:Grow in partial shade or full sun in moist soil. Occurs naturally in wet areas. Does not tolerate drought.
Use:Provides late summer bloom in the perennial border, wild garden or native plant garden. Excellent for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Very happy near ponds or streams.
Height:24 to 36 inches
Spread:12 to 18 inches
Color:Blue
USDA Hardiness Zone:4 - 8
Good Companion Plants
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
Golden Ragwort (Senecio aureus)
Copper Iris (Iris fulva)
Characteristics and Attributes
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun Medium Sun/Average Shade
Season of Interest:
Late (July - frost)
Soil Moisture:
High
Wildlife Benefit:
Butterfly Nectar
Special Uses:
Bog Fresh Cut Flower
Nature Attracting:
Butterfly Hummingbird
Critter Resistance:
Deer Resistant Rabbit Resistant
via Grow Native!
Uses
Ethnobotanic: The Iroquois used the plant as a cough medicine. The Meskwaki ground up the roots of this plant and used it as an anti-divorce remedy. The mashed roots were secretly put into some common dish, which was eaten by both husband and wife. The Cherokee used a cold infusion of the roots of great blue lobelia and cardinal flower to treat nosebleed. A poultice of the crushed leaves of the plant was used for headache and a warm leaf infusion was good for colds.
Wildlife: Hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar.

Distribution
This plant is found in swamps and wet ground from Maine to Manitoba and Colorado, south to North Carolina and Texas.
via USDA

Photo: Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Barnes, T.G., and S.W. Francis. 2004. Wildflowers and ferns of Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky.

Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica

Campus Location: Rain Garden

Stout spikes of two-lipped blue flowers bloom in September and October. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions, forming attractive colonies.

Culture:
Grow in partial shade or full sun in moist soil. Occurs naturally in wet areas. Does not tolerate drought.

Use:
Provides late summer bloom in the perennial border, wild garden or native plant garden. Excellent for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Very happy near ponds or streams.

Height:
24 to 36 inches

Spread:
12 to 18 inches

Color:
Blue

USDA Hardiness Zone:
4 - 8

Good Companion Plants

Characteristics and Attributes

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun 
Medium Sun/Average Shade

Season of Interest:

Late (July - frost)

Soil Moisture:

High

Wildlife Benefit:

Butterfly Nectar

Special Uses:

Bog 
Fresh Cut Flower

Nature Attracting:

Butterfly 
Hummingbird

Critter Resistance:

Deer Resistant 
Rabbit Resistant

via Grow Native!

Uses

Ethnobotanic: The Iroquois used the plant as a cough medicine. The Meskwaki ground up the roots of this plant and used it as an anti-divorce remedy. The mashed roots were secretly put into some common dish, which was eaten by both husband and wife. The Cherokee used a cold infusion of the roots of great blue lobelia and cardinal flower to treat nosebleed. A poultice of the crushed leaves of the plant was used for headache and a warm leaf infusion was good for colds.

Wildlife: Hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar.

Distribution

This plant is found in swamps and wet ground from Maine to Manitoba and Colorado, south to North Carolina and Texas.

via USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider
Little Henry sweetspire Itea virginica
Campus Location: Rain Garden
Shrub with slender upright branches that eventually arch over; usually wider than tall. Very fragrant clusters of drooping creamy white flowers May-June. Dark green leaves turn scarlet and crimson in fall, remaining showy for many weeks.
Culture:Grow in full sun or shade in moist soil. Will tolerate short periods of drought.
Use:Mass in a shrub border or group as a background plant in native gardens or perennial borders.
Height:3 to 5 feet
Spread:4 to 6 feet
Color:White
USDA Hardiness Zone:5 - 9
Good Companion Plants
Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Squaw-weed (Senecio obovatus)
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans)
Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
Characteristics and Attributes
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun Medium Sun/Average Shade Shade
Season of Interest:
Mid (May - June) Late (July - frost)
Soil Moisture:
Moderate High
Wildlife Benefit:
Butterfly Nectar
Special Uses:
Fragrant
Nature Attracting:
Butterfly Beneficial Insects
via Grow Native!
Status
This plant is considered endangered in Indiana and extirpated in Pennsylvania.
via USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider

Little Henry sweetspire Itea virginica

Campus Location: Rain Garden

Shrub with slender upright branches that eventually arch over; usually wider than tall. Very fragrant clusters of drooping creamy white flowers May-June. Dark green leaves turn scarlet and crimson in fall, remaining showy for many weeks.

Culture:
Grow in full sun or shade in moist soil. Will tolerate short periods of drought.

Use:
Mass in a shrub border or group as a background plant in native gardens or perennial borders.

Height:
3 to 5 feet

Spread:
4 to 6 feet

Color:
White

USDA Hardiness Zone:
5 - 9

Good Companion Plants

Characteristics and Attributes

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun 
Medium Sun/Average Shade 
Shade

Season of Interest:

Mid (May - June) 
Late (July - frost)

Soil Moisture:

Moderate 
High

Wildlife Benefit:

Butterfly Nectar

Special Uses:

Fragrant

Nature Attracting:

Butterfly 
Beneficial Insects

via Grow Native!

Status

This plant is considered endangered in Indiana and extirpated in Pennsylvania.

via USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider
Blue flag iris (Virginia iris) Iris virginica
Campus Location: Rain Garden
Uses
Ethnobotanic: The Cherokee and other tribes in the southeastern United States are known to have used Virginia iris for its medicinal properties. The root was pounded into a paste that was used as a salve for skin. An infusion made from the root was used to treat ailments of the liver, and a decoction of root was used to treat “yellowish urine.” Virginia iris mayhave been one of the iris species used by the Seminole to treat “shock following alligator-bite.”
Warning: The roots of Virginia iris are toxic when taken internally, without sufficient preparation.
Pests and Potential Problems
Snails are known to eat the leaves.
via USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider

Blue flag iris (Virginia iris) Iris virginica

Campus Location: Rain Garden

Uses

Ethnobotanic: The Cherokee and other tribes in the southeastern United States are known to have used Virginia iris for its medicinal properties. The root was pounded into a paste that was used as a salve for skin. An infusion made from the root was used to treat ailments of the liver, and a decoction of root was used to treat “yellowish urine.” Virginia iris mayhave been one of the iris species used by the Seminole to treat “shock following alligator-bite.”

Warning: The roots of Virginia iris are toxic when taken internally, without sufficient preparation.

Pests and Potential Problems

Snails are known to eat the leaves.

via USDA

Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Copper Iris Iris fulva
Campus Location: Rain Garden
Beardless, crestless deep copper flowers bloom in late spring. Bright green, sword-shaped leaves remain attractive all thorugh the growing season. Flowers attract hummingbirds.
Culture:Grow in full sun or part shade with fertile, average to moist soil. Useful around water gardens
Use:Provides early spring bloom in the perennial border or native garden. Excellent for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Very happy near ponds or streams.
Height:24 to 36 inches
Spread:12 to 24 inches
Color:Red
USDA Hardiness Zone:4 - 9
Good Companion Plants
Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Rose Mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpos)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
Golden Ragwort (Senecio aureus)
Characteristics and Attributes
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun Medium Sun/Average Shade
Season of Interest:
Early (Feb - Apr) Mid (May - June)
Soil Moisture:
Moderate High
Special Uses:
Bog
Nature Attracting:
Hummingbird
via Grow Native!
Status
This plant is considered endangered in Kentucky and threatened in Tennessee.
via USDA

Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Copper Iris Iris fulva

Campus Location: Rain Garden

Beardless, crestless deep copper flowers bloom in late spring. Bright green, sword-shaped leaves remain attractive all thorugh the growing season. Flowers attract hummingbirds.

Culture:
Grow in full sun or part shade with fertile, average to moist soil. Useful around water gardens

Use:
Provides early spring bloom in the perennial border or native garden. Excellent for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Very happy near ponds or streams.

Height:
24 to 36 inches

Spread:
12 to 24 inches

Color:
Red

USDA Hardiness Zone:
4 - 9

Good Companion Plants

Characteristics and Attributes

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun 
Medium Sun/Average Shade

Season of Interest:

Early (Feb - Apr) 
Mid (May - June)

Soil Moisture:

Moderate 
High

Special Uses:

Bog

Nature Attracting:

Hummingbird

via Grow Native!

Status

This plant is considered endangered in Kentucky and threatened in Tennessee.

via USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider
Oakleaf Hydrangea/Hydrangea quercifolia
Campus Location: Rain Garden

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider

Oakleaf Hydrangea/Hydrangea quercifolia

Campus Location: Rain Garden

©J.S. Peterson. USDA NRCS NPDC. United States, MO, Saint Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden. October 14, 2002.
Indian wood-oats Chasmanthium latifolium
Campus Location: Rain Garden & Butterfly Garden

Uses
Chasmanthium latifolium is best known for its ornamental uses. It is a desirable ornamental grass because of its flower color, drought, moisture, salt and shade tolerance. It is popular for its uses as cut flowers and for groundcover in partial or full shade. The flower heads may be cut and dried while the plant is green or when it has fully matured to its natural copper-brownish color. The plant persists through winter or until snow weighs it down.
The seeds have been noted as a source of food for birds and the leaves are a host plant for Linda’s Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes linda), a butterfly native to Oklahoma. Cattle will graze this species.
Distribution
Known from Arizona to Florida and Michigan to New Jersey.
Status
In 2005, this species was considered threatened in Michigan.
via
USDA

©J.S. Peterson. USDA NRCS NPDC. United States, MO, Saint Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden. October 14, 2002.

Indian wood-oats Chasmanthium latifolium

Campus Location: Rain Garden & Butterfly Garden

Uses

Chasmanthium latifolium is best known for its ornamental uses. It is a desirable ornamental grass because of its flower color, drought, moisture, salt and shade tolerance. It is popular for its uses as cut flowers and for groundcover in partial or full shade. The flower heads may be cut and dried while the plant is green or when it has fully matured to its natural copper-brownish color. The plant persists through winter or until snow weighs it down.

The seeds have been noted as a source of food for birds and the leaves are a host plant for Linda’s Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes linda), a butterfly native to Oklahoma. Cattle will graze this species.

Distribution

Known from Arizona to Florida and Michigan to New Jersey.

Status

In 2005, this species was considered threatened in Michigan.

via

USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider
Butterfly milkweed Asclepias tuberosa
Campus location: Butterfly Garden & Rain Garden
Lots of bright orange, flat-topped flower clusters open in early June. Plants bloom for many weeks. Host plant for the monarch butterfly and a great nectar source for many other butterflies and pollinators.
Culture:Grow in full sun in well-drained soil. Plants have deep tap roots and are slow to emerge in the spring.
Use:An excellent garden plant and a great addition to a native plant garden, naturalized area, prairie or wildflower meadow. An essential plant for attracting butterflies.
Height:18 to 24 inches
Spread:24 to inches
Color:Red Orange
USDA Hardiness Zone:4 - 9
Good Companion Plants
Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Lead Plant (Amorpha canescens)
Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Characteristics and Attributes
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Season of Interest:
Mid (May - June) Late (July - frost)
Soil Moisture:
Average
Wildlife Benefit:
Butterfly Host Butterfly Nectar
Special Uses:
Fragrant Fresh Cut Flower Dried Flower
Nature Attracting:
Butterfly Hummingbird Beneficial Insects
Critter Resistance:
Deer Resistant
Source: Grow Native!
Uses
Warning: Milkweed may be toxic when taken internally, without sufficient preparation.
Ethnobotanic: Milkweed has been used for fiber, food, and medicine by people all over the United States and southern Canada. Fibers from the stems of milkweed have been identified in prehistoric textiles in the Pueblo region. Tewa-speaking people of the Rio Grande still make string and rope from these fibers. At the Zuni Pueblo, the silky seed fibers are spun on a hand-held wooden spindle and made into yarn and woven into fabric, especially for dancers. Pueblo people ate green milkweed pods and uncooked roots from one of the species that forms fleshy tubers underground.
Milkweeds supply tough fibers for making cords and ropes, and for weaving a coarse cloth. Milkweed stems are collected after the stalks senesce in late fall to early winter. The dried stalks are split open to release the fibers. Milkweed fibers are sometimes mixed with fibers of Indian-hemp (Apocynum cannabinum). The bark is removed and the fibers released by first rubbing between the hands and then drawing the fibers over a hard surface. The cord is
formed by twisting the fiber opposite each other and twining them together. Often this is accomplished by rolling the fibers on the thigh, while twisting them together.
The young shoots, stems, flower buds, immature fruits, and roots of butterfly milkweed were boiled and eaten as a vegetable by various indigenous groups of eastern and mid-western America.
Butterfly milkweed has many medicinal uses. The Omahas and Poncas ate the raw root of the butterfly milkweed for bronchial and pulmonary troubles. Butterfly milkweed root was also chewed and placed on wounds, or dried, pulverized, and blown into wounds. The Omaha tribe used butterfly milkweed medicine for rites belonging to the Shell Society. The Dakotas used the butterfly milkweed as an emetic. The Menominis considered the butterfly milkweed, which they called the “deceiver,” one of their most important medicines.
Generalized medicinal uses for milkweed species include 1) its use in a salve for scrofulous swelling, 2) as a diarrhea medicine, 3) drunk by mothers unable to produce milk, 4) medicine for snow blindness and other forms of blindness, 5) relief of sore throat, 6) applied chewed root for swelling and rashes, 7) to expel tapeworm, 8) to treat colic, 9) to act as contraceptives, and 10) to cure snakebite.
European Americans used Asclepias tuberosa, called “pleurisy root”, to relieve inflammation of the lining of the lungs and thorax, and to relieve bronchial and pulmonary trouble. Pleurisy root is a stimulant to the vagus nerve, producing perspiration, expectoration, and bronchial dilation. As its name signifies, it is useful for pleurisy and mild pulmonary edema, increasing fluid circulation, cilia function, and lymphatic drainage. The root of the butterfly milkweed, was officially listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1905 and in the National Formulary from 1916 to 1936.
Milkweed species, as a group, are known to contain cardiac glycosides that are poisonous both to humans and to livestock, as well as other substances that may account for their medicinal effect. Resinoids, glycosides, and a small amount of alkaloids are present in all parts of the plant. Symptoms of poisoning by the cardiac glycosides include dullness, weakness, bloating, inability to stand or walk, high body temperature, rapid and weak pulse, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, spasms, and coma.
The cardiac glycoside in milkweed has also been useful as a chemical defense for monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). Chemicals from the milkweed plant make the monarch caterpillar’s flesh distasteful to most predators. Monarch butterflies are specific to milkweed plants. This is the only type of plant on which the eggs are laid and the larvae will feed and mature into a chrysalis. Eggs are laid on the underside of young healthy leaves. Monarch, Queen, and Viceroy butterflies are Müllerian mimics, all are toxic, and have co-evolved similar warning patterns to avoid predation.
Wildlife: Milkweed species are attractive to many insect species, including the large milkweed bug, common milkweed bug, red milkweed beetle, blue milkweed beetle, and bees. Accordingly, this is a wonderful horticultural plant for landscaping to attract butterflies (particularly monarchs), whose numbers are declining and migratory routes changing due to lack of appropriate habitat. Butterfly milkweed also has strikingly beautiful flowers.
Caution: At one time, milkweed was classified as a noxious weed due to reported toxic effects on livestock, and efforts were made to eradicate it. Milkweeds are thought to be poisonous to cows and sheep. Milkweed also can have invasive characteristics in disturbed areas.
Distribution
Milkweeds grow in clumps beside roadways, on abandoned farmlands, and in other open areas throughout the United States. Butterfly milkweed grows on sandy, loamy, or rocky limestone soils of prairies, open woodlands, roadsides, and disturbed areas similar to other milkweed species.
Source: USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider

Butterfly milkweed Asclepias tuberosa

Campus location: Butterfly Garden & Rain Garden

Lots of bright orange, flat-topped flower clusters open in early June. Plants bloom for many weeks. Host plant for the monarch butterfly and a great nectar source for many other butterflies and pollinators.

Culture:
Grow in full sun in well-drained soil. Plants have deep tap roots and are slow to emerge in the spring.

Use:
An excellent garden plant and a great addition to a native plant garden, naturalized area, prairie or wildflower meadow. An essential plant for attracting butterflies.

Height:
18 to 24 inches

Spread:
24 to inches

Color:
Red Orange

USDA Hardiness Zone:
4 - 9

Good Companion Plants

Characteristics and Attributes

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Season of Interest:

Mid (May - June) 
Late (July - frost)

Soil Moisture:

Average

Wildlife Benefit:

Butterfly Host 
Butterfly Nectar

Special Uses:

Fragrant 
Fresh Cut Flower 
Dried Flower

Nature Attracting:

Butterfly 
Hummingbird 
Beneficial Insects

Critter Resistance:

Deer Resistant

Source: Grow Native!

Uses

Warning: Milkweed may be toxic when taken internally, without sufficient preparation.

Ethnobotanic: Milkweed has been used for fiber, food, and medicine by people all over the United States and southern Canada. Fibers from the stems of milkweed have been identified in prehistoric textiles in the Pueblo region. Tewa-speaking people of the Rio Grande still make string and rope from these fibers. At the Zuni Pueblo, the silky seed fibers are spun on a hand-held wooden spindle and made into yarn and woven into fabric, especially for dancers. Pueblo people ate green milkweed pods and uncooked roots from one of the species that forms fleshy tubers underground.

Milkweeds supply tough fibers for making cords and ropes, and for weaving a coarse cloth. Milkweed stems are collected after the stalks senesce in late fall to early winter. The dried stalks are split open to release the fibers. Milkweed fibers are sometimes mixed with fibers of Indian-hemp (Apocynum cannabinum). The bark is removed and the fibers released by first rubbing between the hands and then drawing the fibers over a hard surface. The cord is

formed by twisting the fiber opposite each other and twining them together. Often this is accomplished by rolling the fibers on the thigh, while twisting them together.

The young shoots, stems, flower buds, immature fruits, and roots of butterfly milkweed were boiled and eaten as a vegetable by various indigenous groups of eastern and mid-western America.

Butterfly milkweed has many medicinal uses. The Omahas and Poncas ate the raw root of the butterfly milkweed for bronchial and pulmonary troubles. Butterfly milkweed root was also chewed and placed on wounds, or dried, pulverized, and blown into wounds. The Omaha tribe used butterfly milkweed medicine for rites belonging to the Shell Society. The Dakotas used the butterfly milkweed as an emetic. The Menominis considered the butterfly milkweed, which they called the “deceiver,” one of their most important medicines.

Generalized medicinal uses for milkweed species include 1) its use in a salve for scrofulous swelling, 2) as a diarrhea medicine, 3) drunk by mothers unable to produce milk, 4) medicine for snow blindness and other forms of blindness, 5) relief of sore throat, 6) applied chewed root for swelling and rashes, 7) to expel tapeworm, 8) to treat colic, 9) to act as contraceptives, and 10) to cure snakebite.

European Americans used Asclepias tuberosa, called “pleurisy root”, to relieve inflammation of the lining of the lungs and thorax, and to relieve bronchial and pulmonary trouble. Pleurisy root is a stimulant to the vagus nerve, producing perspiration, expectoration, and bronchial dilation. As its name signifies, it is useful for pleurisy and mild pulmonary edema, increasing fluid circulation, cilia function, and lymphatic drainage. The root of the butterfly milkweed, was officially listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1905 and in the National Formulary from 1916 to 1936.

Milkweed species, as a group, are known to contain cardiac glycosides that are poisonous both to humans and to livestock, as well as other substances that may account for their medicinal effect. Resinoids, glycosides, and a small amount of alkaloids are present in all parts of the plant. Symptoms of poisoning by the cardiac glycosides include dullness, weakness, bloating, inability to stand or walk, high body temperature, rapid and weak pulse, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, spasms, and coma.

The cardiac glycoside in milkweed has also been useful as a chemical defense for monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). Chemicals from the milkweed plant make the monarch caterpillar’s flesh distasteful to most predators. Monarch butterflies are specific to milkweed plants. This is the only type of plant on which the eggs are laid and the larvae will feed and mature into a chrysalis. Eggs are laid on the underside of young healthy leaves. Monarch, Queen, and Viceroy butterflies are Müllerian mimics, all are toxic, and have co-evolved similar warning patterns to avoid predation.

Wildlife: Milkweed species are attractive to many insect species, including the large milkweed bug, common milkweed bug, red milkweed beetle, blue milkweed beetle, and bees. Accordingly, this is a wonderful horticultural plant for landscaping to attract butterflies (particularly monarchs), whose numbers are declining and migratory routes changing due to lack of appropriate habitat. Butterfly milkweed also has strikingly beautiful flowers.

Caution: At one time, milkweed was classified as a noxious weed due to reported toxic effects on livestock, and efforts were made to eradicate it. Milkweeds are thought to be poisonous to cows and sheep. Milkweed also can have invasive characteristics in disturbed areas.

Distribution

Milkweeds grow in clumps beside roadways, on abandoned farmlands, and in other open areas throughout the United States. Butterfly milkweed grows on sandy, loamy, or rocky limestone soils of prairies, open woodlands, roadsides, and disturbed areas similar to other milkweed species.

Source: USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider
Little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium
Campus location: Rain Garden & Rain Garden
A small, non-spreading, clump-forming grass with blue-green leaves that turn reddish orange in the fall. Fluffy silver seed heads are ornamental through winter.
Culture:Grow in dry to average soil in full sun.Tolerates heat and humidity easily.
Use:This is an excellent short grass for the garden. Use freely in sunny borders, native plant gardens, naturalized areas, prairies and meadows. Excellent in massed plantings. Provides food and cover for wildlife.
Height:24 to 36 inches
Spread:12 to inches
Color:Blue GreenFall color: Red-Orange
USDA Hardiness Zone:5 - 9
Good Companion Plants
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)
Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida)
Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)
Characteristics and Attributes
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Season of Interest:
Mid (May - June) Late (July - frost) Winter (Nov - Mar)
Soil Moisture:
Average
Wildlife Benefit:
Cover Food/Small Animals
Special Uses:
Fresh Cut Flower Dried Flower
Critter Resistance:
Deer Resistant
Source: Grow Native!
Uses
Pasture/range/hayland: Little bluestem is a fair forage species and is readily grazed by livestock, deer, and elk. It is also suitable for hay.
Erosion control: Because of its growth habit and adaptability to a wide range of soil conditions, little bluestem is useful as a component of revegetation mixes. It is especially well-suited for use on thin upland range sites.
Wildlife: Little bluestem seed is eaten by songbirds and upland gamebirds. The plant provides cover for ground birds and small mammals.
Landscaping: With its blue-green leaves during the growing season and attractive rusty color with white fluffy seedheads in the fall, little bluestem is useful in ornamental plantings.
Adaptation and Distribution
Little bluestem is one of the most widely distributed native grasses in North America. It will grow on a wide variety of soils but is very well adapted to well-drained, medium to dry, infertile soils. The plant has excellent drought and fair shade tolerance, and fair to poor flood tolerance. It grows preferentially on sites with pH 7.0 and slightly higher.
Source: USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider

Little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium

Campus location: Rain Garden & Rain Garden

A small, non-spreading, clump-forming grass with blue-green leaves that turn reddish orange in the fall. Fluffy silver seed heads are ornamental through winter.

Culture:
Grow in dry to average soil in full sun.Tolerates heat and humidity easily.

Use:
This is an excellent short grass for the garden. Use freely in sunny borders, native plant gardens, naturalized areas, prairies and meadows. Excellent in massed plantings. Provides food and cover for wildlife.

Height:
24 to 36 inches

Spread:
12 to inches

Color:
Blue Green
Fall color: Red-Orange

USDA Hardiness Zone:
5 - 9

Good Companion Plants

Characteristics and Attributes

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Season of Interest:

Mid (May - June) 
Late (July - frost) 
Winter (Nov - Mar)

Soil Moisture:

Average

Wildlife Benefit:

Cover 
Food/Small Animals

Special Uses:

Fresh Cut Flower 
Dried Flower

Critter Resistance:

Deer Resistant

Source: Grow Native!

Uses

Pasture/range/hayland: Little bluestem is a fair forage species and is readily grazed by livestock, deer, and elk. It is also suitable for hay.

Erosion control: Because of its growth habit and adaptability to a wide range of soil conditions, little bluestem is useful as a component of revegetation mixes. It is especially well-suited for use on thin upland range sites.

Wildlife: Little bluestem seed is eaten by songbirds and upland gamebirds. The plant provides cover for ground birds and small mammals.

Landscaping: With its blue-green leaves during the growing season and attractive rusty color with white fluffy seedheads in the fall, little bluestem is useful in ornamental plantings.

Adaptation and Distribution

Little bluestem is one of the most widely distributed native grasses in North America. It will grow on a wide variety of soils but is very well adapted to well-drained, medium to dry, infertile soils. The plant has excellent drought and fair shade tolerance, and fair to poor flood tolerance. It grows preferentially on sites with pH 7.0 and slightly higher.

Source: USDA

Photo: ©Jeff McMillian @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS database
Sensitive fern Onoclea sensibilis
Campus Location: Rain Garden
Habitat: Sensitive Fern is found growing in wet meadows, thickets, woods, banks of streams and river, swamps, and in bogs. Sometimes these ferns are found growing along dried up streambeds and drainage ditches that will fill up with water when heavy rains fall. USDA Plants Database
In the Garden: This fern tolerates the toughest of conditions and is considered a low maintenance plant for moist sites. Onocolea sensibilis will want to have shade or part shade, but will tolerate sun with adequate moisture. Average garden soil on the acidic side with extra moisture will provide this fern with what it needs to grow well. Sensitive fern will tolerate wet soils and is very useful planted near water. Caution: this fern may cause poisoning and in some cases death in older horses.
Prehistoric and Still Popular.
From the Dinosaur era to the modern world of today, Sensitive Fern continues as it was growing several million years ago. Fossils of this fern have been found dating back more than 60 million years and look remarkably similar to today’s Sensitive Fern. This and other ferns have been popular in gardens for many years as well. Evolution gardens, or’ Jurassic’ gardens can turn a shady corner into a prehistoric wonderland. By using Gymnosperms (conifers) and seedless plants such as ferns, and Selaginellas you can replicate the plant culture that early man might have recognized.
via What’s Native

Photo: ©Jeff McMillian @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS database

Sensitive fern Onoclea sensibilis

Campus Location: Rain Garden

Habitat: Sensitive Fern is found growing in wet meadows, thickets, woods, banks of streams and river, swamps, and in bogs. Sometimes these ferns are found growing along dried up streambeds and drainage ditches that will fill up with water when heavy rains fall. USDA Plants Database

In the Garden: This fern tolerates the toughest of conditions and is considered a low maintenance plant for moist sites. Onocolea sensibilis will want to have shade or part shade, but will tolerate sun with adequate moisture. Average garden soil on the acidic side with extra moisture will provide this fern with what it needs to grow well. Sensitive fern will tolerate wet soils and is very useful planted near water. Caution: this fern may cause poisoning and in some cases death in older horses.

Prehistoric and Still Popular.

From the Dinosaur era to the modern world of today, Sensitive Fern continues as it was growing several million years ago. Fossils of this fern have been found dating back more than 60 million years and look remarkably similar to today’s Sensitive Fern. This and other ferns have been popular in gardens for many years as well. Evolution gardens, or’ Jurassic’ gardens can turn a shady corner into a prehistoric wonderland. By using Gymnosperms (conifers) and seedless plants such as ferns, and Selaginellas you can replicate the plant culture that early man might have recognized.

via What’s Native

Photo: Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Barnes, T.G., and S.W. Francis. 2004. Wildflowers and ferns of Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky.
Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica
Campus Location: Rain Garden
Stout spikes of two-lipped blue flowers bloom in September and October. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions, forming attractive colonies.
Culture:Grow in partial shade or full sun in moist soil. Occurs naturally in wet areas. Does not tolerate drought.
Use:Provides late summer bloom in the perennial border, wild garden or native plant garden. Excellent for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Very happy near ponds or streams.
Height:24 to 36 inches
Spread:12 to 18 inches
Color:Blue
USDA Hardiness Zone:4 - 8
Good Companion Plants
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
Golden Ragwort (Senecio aureus)
Copper Iris (Iris fulva)
Characteristics and Attributes
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun Medium Sun/Average Shade
Season of Interest:
Late (July - frost)
Soil Moisture:
High
Wildlife Benefit:
Butterfly Nectar
Special Uses:
Bog Fresh Cut Flower
Nature Attracting:
Butterfly Hummingbird
Critter Resistance:
Deer Resistant Rabbit Resistant
via Grow Native!
Uses
Ethnobotanic: The Iroquois used the plant as a cough medicine. The Meskwaki ground up the roots of this plant and used it as an anti-divorce remedy. The mashed roots were secretly put into some common dish, which was eaten by both husband and wife. The Cherokee used a cold infusion of the roots of great blue lobelia and cardinal flower to treat nosebleed. A poultice of the crushed leaves of the plant was used for headache and a warm leaf infusion was good for colds.
Wildlife: Hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar.

Distribution
This plant is found in swamps and wet ground from Maine to Manitoba and Colorado, south to North Carolina and Texas.
via USDA

Photo: Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Barnes, T.G., and S.W. Francis. 2004. Wildflowers and ferns of Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky.

Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica

Campus Location: Rain Garden

Stout spikes of two-lipped blue flowers bloom in September and October. May self-seed in optimum growing conditions, forming attractive colonies.

Culture:
Grow in partial shade or full sun in moist soil. Occurs naturally in wet areas. Does not tolerate drought.

Use:
Provides late summer bloom in the perennial border, wild garden or native plant garden. Excellent for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Very happy near ponds or streams.

Height:
24 to 36 inches

Spread:
12 to 18 inches

Color:
Blue

USDA Hardiness Zone:
4 - 8

Good Companion Plants

Characteristics and Attributes

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun 
Medium Sun/Average Shade

Season of Interest:

Late (July - frost)

Soil Moisture:

High

Wildlife Benefit:

Butterfly Nectar

Special Uses:

Bog 
Fresh Cut Flower

Nature Attracting:

Butterfly 
Hummingbird

Critter Resistance:

Deer Resistant 
Rabbit Resistant

via Grow Native!

Uses

Ethnobotanic: The Iroquois used the plant as a cough medicine. The Meskwaki ground up the roots of this plant and used it as an anti-divorce remedy. The mashed roots were secretly put into some common dish, which was eaten by both husband and wife. The Cherokee used a cold infusion of the roots of great blue lobelia and cardinal flower to treat nosebleed. A poultice of the crushed leaves of the plant was used for headache and a warm leaf infusion was good for colds.

Wildlife: Hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar.

Distribution

This plant is found in swamps and wet ground from Maine to Manitoba and Colorado, south to North Carolina and Texas.

via USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider
Little Henry sweetspire Itea virginica
Campus Location: Rain Garden
Shrub with slender upright branches that eventually arch over; usually wider than tall. Very fragrant clusters of drooping creamy white flowers May-June. Dark green leaves turn scarlet and crimson in fall, remaining showy for many weeks.
Culture:Grow in full sun or shade in moist soil. Will tolerate short periods of drought.
Use:Mass in a shrub border or group as a background plant in native gardens or perennial borders.
Height:3 to 5 feet
Spread:4 to 6 feet
Color:White
USDA Hardiness Zone:5 - 9
Good Companion Plants
Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Squaw-weed (Senecio obovatus)
Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans)
Wild Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
Characteristics and Attributes
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun Medium Sun/Average Shade Shade
Season of Interest:
Mid (May - June) Late (July - frost)
Soil Moisture:
Moderate High
Wildlife Benefit:
Butterfly Nectar
Special Uses:
Fragrant
Nature Attracting:
Butterfly Beneficial Insects
via Grow Native!
Status
This plant is considered endangered in Indiana and extirpated in Pennsylvania.
via USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider

Little Henry sweetspire Itea virginica

Campus Location: Rain Garden

Shrub with slender upright branches that eventually arch over; usually wider than tall. Very fragrant clusters of drooping creamy white flowers May-June. Dark green leaves turn scarlet and crimson in fall, remaining showy for many weeks.

Culture:
Grow in full sun or shade in moist soil. Will tolerate short periods of drought.

Use:
Mass in a shrub border or group as a background plant in native gardens or perennial borders.

Height:
3 to 5 feet

Spread:
4 to 6 feet

Color:
White

USDA Hardiness Zone:
5 - 9

Good Companion Plants

Characteristics and Attributes

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun 
Medium Sun/Average Shade 
Shade

Season of Interest:

Mid (May - June) 
Late (July - frost)

Soil Moisture:

Moderate 
High

Wildlife Benefit:

Butterfly Nectar

Special Uses:

Fragrant

Nature Attracting:

Butterfly 
Beneficial Insects

via Grow Native!

Status

This plant is considered endangered in Indiana and extirpated in Pennsylvania.

via USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider
Blue flag iris (Virginia iris) Iris virginica
Campus Location: Rain Garden
Uses
Ethnobotanic: The Cherokee and other tribes in the southeastern United States are known to have used Virginia iris for its medicinal properties. The root was pounded into a paste that was used as a salve for skin. An infusion made from the root was used to treat ailments of the liver, and a decoction of root was used to treat “yellowish urine.” Virginia iris mayhave been one of the iris species used by the Seminole to treat “shock following alligator-bite.”
Warning: The roots of Virginia iris are toxic when taken internally, without sufficient preparation.
Pests and Potential Problems
Snails are known to eat the leaves.
via USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider

Blue flag iris (Virginia iris) Iris virginica

Campus Location: Rain Garden

Uses

Ethnobotanic: The Cherokee and other tribes in the southeastern United States are known to have used Virginia iris for its medicinal properties. The root was pounded into a paste that was used as a salve for skin. An infusion made from the root was used to treat ailments of the liver, and a decoction of root was used to treat “yellowish urine.” Virginia iris mayhave been one of the iris species used by the Seminole to treat “shock following alligator-bite.”

Warning: The roots of Virginia iris are toxic when taken internally, without sufficient preparation.

Pests and Potential Problems

Snails are known to eat the leaves.

via USDA

Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Copper Iris Iris fulva
Campus Location: Rain Garden
Beardless, crestless deep copper flowers bloom in late spring. Bright green, sword-shaped leaves remain attractive all thorugh the growing season. Flowers attract hummingbirds.
Culture:Grow in full sun or part shade with fertile, average to moist soil. Useful around water gardens
Use:Provides early spring bloom in the perennial border or native garden. Excellent for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Very happy near ponds or streams.
Height:24 to 36 inches
Spread:12 to 24 inches
Color:Red
USDA Hardiness Zone:4 - 9
Good Companion Plants
Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Rose Mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpos)
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
Golden Ragwort (Senecio aureus)
Characteristics and Attributes
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun Medium Sun/Average Shade
Season of Interest:
Early (Feb - Apr) Mid (May - June)
Soil Moisture:
Moderate High
Special Uses:
Bog
Nature Attracting:
Hummingbird
via Grow Native!
Status
This plant is considered endangered in Kentucky and threatened in Tennessee.
via USDA

Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Copper Iris Iris fulva

Campus Location: Rain Garden

Beardless, crestless deep copper flowers bloom in late spring. Bright green, sword-shaped leaves remain attractive all thorugh the growing season. Flowers attract hummingbirds.

Culture:
Grow in full sun or part shade with fertile, average to moist soil. Useful around water gardens

Use:
Provides early spring bloom in the perennial border or native garden. Excellent for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Very happy near ponds or streams.

Height:
24 to 36 inches

Spread:
12 to 24 inches

Color:
Red

USDA Hardiness Zone:
4 - 9

Good Companion Plants

Characteristics and Attributes

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun 
Medium Sun/Average Shade

Season of Interest:

Early (Feb - Apr) 
Mid (May - June)

Soil Moisture:

Moderate 
High

Special Uses:

Bog

Nature Attracting:

Hummingbird

via Grow Native!

Status

This plant is considered endangered in Kentucky and threatened in Tennessee.

via USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider
Oakleaf Hydrangea/Hydrangea quercifolia
Campus Location: Rain Garden

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider

Oakleaf Hydrangea/Hydrangea quercifolia

Campus Location: Rain Garden

©J.S. Peterson. USDA NRCS NPDC. United States, MO, Saint Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden. October 14, 2002.
Indian wood-oats Chasmanthium latifolium
Campus Location: Rain Garden & Butterfly Garden

Uses
Chasmanthium latifolium is best known for its ornamental uses. It is a desirable ornamental grass because of its flower color, drought, moisture, salt and shade tolerance. It is popular for its uses as cut flowers and for groundcover in partial or full shade. The flower heads may be cut and dried while the plant is green or when it has fully matured to its natural copper-brownish color. The plant persists through winter or until snow weighs it down.
The seeds have been noted as a source of food for birds and the leaves are a host plant for Linda’s Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes linda), a butterfly native to Oklahoma. Cattle will graze this species.
Distribution
Known from Arizona to Florida and Michigan to New Jersey.
Status
In 2005, this species was considered threatened in Michigan.
via
USDA

©J.S. Peterson. USDA NRCS NPDC. United States, MO, Saint Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden. October 14, 2002.

Indian wood-oats Chasmanthium latifolium

Campus Location: Rain Garden & Butterfly Garden

Uses

Chasmanthium latifolium is best known for its ornamental uses. It is a desirable ornamental grass because of its flower color, drought, moisture, salt and shade tolerance. It is popular for its uses as cut flowers and for groundcover in partial or full shade. The flower heads may be cut and dried while the plant is green or when it has fully matured to its natural copper-brownish color. The plant persists through winter or until snow weighs it down.

The seeds have been noted as a source of food for birds and the leaves are a host plant for Linda’s Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes linda), a butterfly native to Oklahoma. Cattle will graze this species.

Distribution

Known from Arizona to Florida and Michigan to New Jersey.

Status

In 2005, this species was considered threatened in Michigan.

via

USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider
Butterfly milkweed Asclepias tuberosa
Campus location: Butterfly Garden & Rain Garden
Lots of bright orange, flat-topped flower clusters open in early June. Plants bloom for many weeks. Host plant for the monarch butterfly and a great nectar source for many other butterflies and pollinators.
Culture:Grow in full sun in well-drained soil. Plants have deep tap roots and are slow to emerge in the spring.
Use:An excellent garden plant and a great addition to a native plant garden, naturalized area, prairie or wildflower meadow. An essential plant for attracting butterflies.
Height:18 to 24 inches
Spread:24 to inches
Color:Red Orange
USDA Hardiness Zone:4 - 9
Good Companion Plants
Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Lead Plant (Amorpha canescens)
Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Characteristics and Attributes
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Season of Interest:
Mid (May - June) Late (July - frost)
Soil Moisture:
Average
Wildlife Benefit:
Butterfly Host Butterfly Nectar
Special Uses:
Fragrant Fresh Cut Flower Dried Flower
Nature Attracting:
Butterfly Hummingbird Beneficial Insects
Critter Resistance:
Deer Resistant
Source: Grow Native!
Uses
Warning: Milkweed may be toxic when taken internally, without sufficient preparation.
Ethnobotanic: Milkweed has been used for fiber, food, and medicine by people all over the United States and southern Canada. Fibers from the stems of milkweed have been identified in prehistoric textiles in the Pueblo region. Tewa-speaking people of the Rio Grande still make string and rope from these fibers. At the Zuni Pueblo, the silky seed fibers are spun on a hand-held wooden spindle and made into yarn and woven into fabric, especially for dancers. Pueblo people ate green milkweed pods and uncooked roots from one of the species that forms fleshy tubers underground.
Milkweeds supply tough fibers for making cords and ropes, and for weaving a coarse cloth. Milkweed stems are collected after the stalks senesce in late fall to early winter. The dried stalks are split open to release the fibers. Milkweed fibers are sometimes mixed with fibers of Indian-hemp (Apocynum cannabinum). The bark is removed and the fibers released by first rubbing between the hands and then drawing the fibers over a hard surface. The cord is
formed by twisting the fiber opposite each other and twining them together. Often this is accomplished by rolling the fibers on the thigh, while twisting them together.
The young shoots, stems, flower buds, immature fruits, and roots of butterfly milkweed were boiled and eaten as a vegetable by various indigenous groups of eastern and mid-western America.
Butterfly milkweed has many medicinal uses. The Omahas and Poncas ate the raw root of the butterfly milkweed for bronchial and pulmonary troubles. Butterfly milkweed root was also chewed and placed on wounds, or dried, pulverized, and blown into wounds. The Omaha tribe used butterfly milkweed medicine for rites belonging to the Shell Society. The Dakotas used the butterfly milkweed as an emetic. The Menominis considered the butterfly milkweed, which they called the “deceiver,” one of their most important medicines.
Generalized medicinal uses for milkweed species include 1) its use in a salve for scrofulous swelling, 2) as a diarrhea medicine, 3) drunk by mothers unable to produce milk, 4) medicine for snow blindness and other forms of blindness, 5) relief of sore throat, 6) applied chewed root for swelling and rashes, 7) to expel tapeworm, 8) to treat colic, 9) to act as contraceptives, and 10) to cure snakebite.
European Americans used Asclepias tuberosa, called “pleurisy root”, to relieve inflammation of the lining of the lungs and thorax, and to relieve bronchial and pulmonary trouble. Pleurisy root is a stimulant to the vagus nerve, producing perspiration, expectoration, and bronchial dilation. As its name signifies, it is useful for pleurisy and mild pulmonary edema, increasing fluid circulation, cilia function, and lymphatic drainage. The root of the butterfly milkweed, was officially listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1905 and in the National Formulary from 1916 to 1936.
Milkweed species, as a group, are known to contain cardiac glycosides that are poisonous both to humans and to livestock, as well as other substances that may account for their medicinal effect. Resinoids, glycosides, and a small amount of alkaloids are present in all parts of the plant. Symptoms of poisoning by the cardiac glycosides include dullness, weakness, bloating, inability to stand or walk, high body temperature, rapid and weak pulse, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, spasms, and coma.
The cardiac glycoside in milkweed has also been useful as a chemical defense for monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). Chemicals from the milkweed plant make the monarch caterpillar’s flesh distasteful to most predators. Monarch butterflies are specific to milkweed plants. This is the only type of plant on which the eggs are laid and the larvae will feed and mature into a chrysalis. Eggs are laid on the underside of young healthy leaves. Monarch, Queen, and Viceroy butterflies are Müllerian mimics, all are toxic, and have co-evolved similar warning patterns to avoid predation.
Wildlife: Milkweed species are attractive to many insect species, including the large milkweed bug, common milkweed bug, red milkweed beetle, blue milkweed beetle, and bees. Accordingly, this is a wonderful horticultural plant for landscaping to attract butterflies (particularly monarchs), whose numbers are declining and migratory routes changing due to lack of appropriate habitat. Butterfly milkweed also has strikingly beautiful flowers.
Caution: At one time, milkweed was classified as a noxious weed due to reported toxic effects on livestock, and efforts were made to eradicate it. Milkweeds are thought to be poisonous to cows and sheep. Milkweed also can have invasive characteristics in disturbed areas.
Distribution
Milkweeds grow in clumps beside roadways, on abandoned farmlands, and in other open areas throughout the United States. Butterfly milkweed grows on sandy, loamy, or rocky limestone soils of prairies, open woodlands, roadsides, and disturbed areas similar to other milkweed species.
Source: USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider

Butterfly milkweed Asclepias tuberosa

Campus location: Butterfly Garden & Rain Garden

Lots of bright orange, flat-topped flower clusters open in early June. Plants bloom for many weeks. Host plant for the monarch butterfly and a great nectar source for many other butterflies and pollinators.

Culture:
Grow in full sun in well-drained soil. Plants have deep tap roots and are slow to emerge in the spring.

Use:
An excellent garden plant and a great addition to a native plant garden, naturalized area, prairie or wildflower meadow. An essential plant for attracting butterflies.

Height:
18 to 24 inches

Spread:
24 to inches

Color:
Red Orange

USDA Hardiness Zone:
4 - 9

Good Companion Plants

Characteristics and Attributes

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Season of Interest:

Mid (May - June) 
Late (July - frost)

Soil Moisture:

Average

Wildlife Benefit:

Butterfly Host 
Butterfly Nectar

Special Uses:

Fragrant 
Fresh Cut Flower 
Dried Flower

Nature Attracting:

Butterfly 
Hummingbird 
Beneficial Insects

Critter Resistance:

Deer Resistant

Source: Grow Native!

Uses

Warning: Milkweed may be toxic when taken internally, without sufficient preparation.

Ethnobotanic: Milkweed has been used for fiber, food, and medicine by people all over the United States and southern Canada. Fibers from the stems of milkweed have been identified in prehistoric textiles in the Pueblo region. Tewa-speaking people of the Rio Grande still make string and rope from these fibers. At the Zuni Pueblo, the silky seed fibers are spun on a hand-held wooden spindle and made into yarn and woven into fabric, especially for dancers. Pueblo people ate green milkweed pods and uncooked roots from one of the species that forms fleshy tubers underground.

Milkweeds supply tough fibers for making cords and ropes, and for weaving a coarse cloth. Milkweed stems are collected after the stalks senesce in late fall to early winter. The dried stalks are split open to release the fibers. Milkweed fibers are sometimes mixed with fibers of Indian-hemp (Apocynum cannabinum). The bark is removed and the fibers released by first rubbing between the hands and then drawing the fibers over a hard surface. The cord is

formed by twisting the fiber opposite each other and twining them together. Often this is accomplished by rolling the fibers on the thigh, while twisting them together.

The young shoots, stems, flower buds, immature fruits, and roots of butterfly milkweed were boiled and eaten as a vegetable by various indigenous groups of eastern and mid-western America.

Butterfly milkweed has many medicinal uses. The Omahas and Poncas ate the raw root of the butterfly milkweed for bronchial and pulmonary troubles. Butterfly milkweed root was also chewed and placed on wounds, or dried, pulverized, and blown into wounds. The Omaha tribe used butterfly milkweed medicine for rites belonging to the Shell Society. The Dakotas used the butterfly milkweed as an emetic. The Menominis considered the butterfly milkweed, which they called the “deceiver,” one of their most important medicines.

Generalized medicinal uses for milkweed species include 1) its use in a salve for scrofulous swelling, 2) as a diarrhea medicine, 3) drunk by mothers unable to produce milk, 4) medicine for snow blindness and other forms of blindness, 5) relief of sore throat, 6) applied chewed root for swelling and rashes, 7) to expel tapeworm, 8) to treat colic, 9) to act as contraceptives, and 10) to cure snakebite.

European Americans used Asclepias tuberosa, called “pleurisy root”, to relieve inflammation of the lining of the lungs and thorax, and to relieve bronchial and pulmonary trouble. Pleurisy root is a stimulant to the vagus nerve, producing perspiration, expectoration, and bronchial dilation. As its name signifies, it is useful for pleurisy and mild pulmonary edema, increasing fluid circulation, cilia function, and lymphatic drainage. The root of the butterfly milkweed, was officially listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1905 and in the National Formulary from 1916 to 1936.

Milkweed species, as a group, are known to contain cardiac glycosides that are poisonous both to humans and to livestock, as well as other substances that may account for their medicinal effect. Resinoids, glycosides, and a small amount of alkaloids are present in all parts of the plant. Symptoms of poisoning by the cardiac glycosides include dullness, weakness, bloating, inability to stand or walk, high body temperature, rapid and weak pulse, difficulty breathing, dilated pupils, spasms, and coma.

The cardiac glycoside in milkweed has also been useful as a chemical defense for monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). Chemicals from the milkweed plant make the monarch caterpillar’s flesh distasteful to most predators. Monarch butterflies are specific to milkweed plants. This is the only type of plant on which the eggs are laid and the larvae will feed and mature into a chrysalis. Eggs are laid on the underside of young healthy leaves. Monarch, Queen, and Viceroy butterflies are Müllerian mimics, all are toxic, and have co-evolved similar warning patterns to avoid predation.

Wildlife: Milkweed species are attractive to many insect species, including the large milkweed bug, common milkweed bug, red milkweed beetle, blue milkweed beetle, and bees. Accordingly, this is a wonderful horticultural plant for landscaping to attract butterflies (particularly monarchs), whose numbers are declining and migratory routes changing due to lack of appropriate habitat. Butterfly milkweed also has strikingly beautiful flowers.

Caution: At one time, milkweed was classified as a noxious weed due to reported toxic effects on livestock, and efforts were made to eradicate it. Milkweeds are thought to be poisonous to cows and sheep. Milkweed also can have invasive characteristics in disturbed areas.

Distribution

Milkweeds grow in clumps beside roadways, on abandoned farmlands, and in other open areas throughout the United States. Butterfly milkweed grows on sandy, loamy, or rocky limestone soils of prairies, open woodlands, roadsides, and disturbed areas similar to other milkweed species.

Source: USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider
Little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium
Campus location: Rain Garden & Rain Garden
A small, non-spreading, clump-forming grass with blue-green leaves that turn reddish orange in the fall. Fluffy silver seed heads are ornamental through winter.
Culture:Grow in dry to average soil in full sun.Tolerates heat and humidity easily.
Use:This is an excellent short grass for the garden. Use freely in sunny borders, native plant gardens, naturalized areas, prairies and meadows. Excellent in massed plantings. Provides food and cover for wildlife.
Height:24 to 36 inches
Spread:12 to inches
Color:Blue GreenFall color: Red-Orange
USDA Hardiness Zone:5 - 9
Good Companion Plants
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)
Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida)
Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)
Characteristics and Attributes
Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Season of Interest:
Mid (May - June) Late (July - frost) Winter (Nov - Mar)
Soil Moisture:
Average
Wildlife Benefit:
Cover Food/Small Animals
Special Uses:
Fresh Cut Flower Dried Flower
Critter Resistance:
Deer Resistant
Source: Grow Native!
Uses
Pasture/range/hayland: Little bluestem is a fair forage species and is readily grazed by livestock, deer, and elk. It is also suitable for hay.
Erosion control: Because of its growth habit and adaptability to a wide range of soil conditions, little bluestem is useful as a component of revegetation mixes. It is especially well-suited for use on thin upland range sites.
Wildlife: Little bluestem seed is eaten by songbirds and upland gamebirds. The plant provides cover for ground birds and small mammals.
Landscaping: With its blue-green leaves during the growing season and attractive rusty color with white fluffy seedheads in the fall, little bluestem is useful in ornamental plantings.
Adaptation and Distribution
Little bluestem is one of the most widely distributed native grasses in North America. It will grow on a wide variety of soils but is very well adapted to well-drained, medium to dry, infertile soils. The plant has excellent drought and fair shade tolerance, and fair to poor flood tolerance. It grows preferentially on sites with pH 7.0 and slightly higher.
Source: USDA

Photo: Kayla Kidwell-Snider

Little bluestem Schizachyrium scoparium

Campus location: Rain Garden & Rain Garden

A small, non-spreading, clump-forming grass with blue-green leaves that turn reddish orange in the fall. Fluffy silver seed heads are ornamental through winter.

Culture:
Grow in dry to average soil in full sun.Tolerates heat and humidity easily.

Use:
This is an excellent short grass for the garden. Use freely in sunny borders, native plant gardens, naturalized areas, prairies and meadows. Excellent in massed plantings. Provides food and cover for wildlife.

Height:
24 to 36 inches

Spread:
12 to inches

Color:
Blue Green
Fall color: Red-Orange

USDA Hardiness Zone:
5 - 9

Good Companion Plants

Characteristics and Attributes

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Season of Interest:

Mid (May - June) 
Late (July - frost) 
Winter (Nov - Mar)

Soil Moisture:

Average

Wildlife Benefit:

Cover 
Food/Small Animals

Special Uses:

Fresh Cut Flower 
Dried Flower

Critter Resistance:

Deer Resistant

Source: Grow Native!

Uses

Pasture/range/hayland: Little bluestem is a fair forage species and is readily grazed by livestock, deer, and elk. It is also suitable for hay.

Erosion control: Because of its growth habit and adaptability to a wide range of soil conditions, little bluestem is useful as a component of revegetation mixes. It is especially well-suited for use on thin upland range sites.

Wildlife: Little bluestem seed is eaten by songbirds and upland gamebirds. The plant provides cover for ground birds and small mammals.

Landscaping: With its blue-green leaves during the growing season and attractive rusty color with white fluffy seedheads in the fall, little bluestem is useful in ornamental plantings.

Adaptation and Distribution

Little bluestem is one of the most widely distributed native grasses in North America. It will grow on a wide variety of soils but is very well adapted to well-drained, medium to dry, infertile soils. The plant has excellent drought and fair shade tolerance, and fair to poor flood tolerance. It grows preferentially on sites with pH 7.0 and slightly higher.

Source: USDA

About:

This is an informational photoblog about the native plantlife in the Transylvania University rain garden. The rain garden is located along Haupt Humanities building facing Haupt Plaza.

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