Native Vegetation and Plantings with Purpose
Estonoa's Plant ID In and Around the Wetlands
An important aspect of the stewardship of Wetlands Estonoa is knowing just what it is we are managing. The property is a combination of native vegetation, invasive plants that don't belong and plantings with purpose. All vegetation in and around the Wetlands and Learning Center offer another unique opportunity to learn from and learn to care for. From Aquatic plantlife to native/non-native vegetation and landscape plantings, Team Estonoa members learn to identify, maintain and appreciate the living things in and around our Wetlands. Many of the plants provide much needed nourishment for our wildlife. Others provide shade and a home. All provide a wonderful place to visit and learn. By the way, did you spy the Katydid munching on the Goldenrod in the photo at left?
A sampling of the greenery one will find at the Wetlands is listed below. This is an ever-growing list so you may want to bookmark the page and check back for updates.
Wetlands Estonoa Plant ID (partial listing)
Silky dogwood is a large shrub, often 6-10 feet in height. A young dogwood has bright red stems in the fall, winter and early spring, which turn reddish-brown in the summer. As the shrub matures, the stems turn reddish-brown year-round and later gray. Silky Dogwoods can be distinguished by their pith and fruit color. Silky dogwood has a brown pith in 1-2 year old stems, dark green ovate leaves, yellowish-white flowers which bloom in mid-June, and bluish colored fruit which mature in September.
Yucca plants are pollinated specifically by the yucca moth which lays its egg in each bloom so that the larvae may eat the seed after hatching. The fibers of Yucca can be used for rope and cloth and the roots are made into soap. There are over 73 types of yucca, which are either trees or shrubs. Parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested; also handling the plant may cause skin irritation from an allergic reaction.
This plant is a climbing vine with tough woody stems and stalks, dark green leaves in the spring and summer, yellow red and orange leaves in the fall. Virginia Creeper is often mistaken for poison ivy yet there are five leaves on each stalk.The berries of this plant are eaten by many animals especially birds. Animals such as mice, skunks, chipmunks, squirrels, cattle and deer will munch on the leaves and stems.Virginia creeper is used as a ground cover to control soil erosion in shaded areas and on slopes.
This plant grows 3 to 7 feet tall. The buds of this plant look like golden wands and this is probably how it got its name.Goldenrod will perform well in full to partial sun and in well-drained soil. They are mostly short-day plants and bloom in late summer and early fall. Some species produce abundant nectar when the weather is moist, warm, and sunny. This plant is often known as “a plant that attracts butterflies.” Goldenrod is used for healing wounds, fighting infections, kidney stones, and many other things.
Ironwood trees are single or multi-trunked evergreen tree that display lavender flowers in May. The shaded sanctuary and richer soils created by ironwoods increase plant diversity and provide benefits to wildlife. This tree is often planted as an ornamental for its fragrant white flowers that yield a perfume. It is a source of very heavy hardwood used for railroad ties.
This plant develops into a shrub or a tree. The bark of the mature trunk is thick, red-brown, and deeply furrowed. The wood is light, hard, and sometimes brittle. All parts of the plants are very fragrant.While providingnatural plant killing toxins, sassafras is important to animals as a source of food.Steam distillation of dried root bark produces an essential oil consisting mostly of safrole that once was extensively used as a fragrance in perfumes and soaps, food and for aromatherapy.
Joe-Pye is found in moist woods and meadows. The plant reaches the height of 5-7 feet and the spread is 2-4 feet. The flowers are pale magenta or a lavender pink color.The flowers of Joe-Pye have a light vanilla scent. Joe Pye, an Indian healer from New England, used E. purpureum (Sweet Joe-Pye weed) to treat a variety of ailments, which led to the name Joe-Pye weed for these plants. A wet area in the landscape often presents a challenge to the homeowner: Many plants won't perform well there. At home in wetlands in the wild, spotted Joe-Pye weeds are a good choice when you need plants for wet soils.
This is a smooth annual plant that grows 3-5 feet tall. Their leaves are ovate, hairless, and serrated along the margins. Their stems are light green, glabrous, and glucose filled. It is found most often in moist woods, usually near poison ivy or stinging nettle. The Jewelweed plant has been used for centuries in North America by Native Americans and Herbalists, as a natural preventative and treatment for poison ivy and poison oak; and is a folk remedy for many other skin disorders.
Black willow is a shrub or a large tree, which can grow up to 100 feet tall. These plants are found along streams, in marshes, or places where sun is available. Black willow leaves are narrow and skinny and are three to five inches long.They are shiny green on top and pale green on the bottom. Black willow bark is dark brown or black with ridges. Black willow flowers are catkins; they are yellow and one to three inches long. The fruit of this tree is a small capsule, turning reddish-brown. It contains tiny, hairy green seeds. Black willows are a food source for white-tailed deer, rabbits, small rodents, and beaver which eat the bark, stems and twigs. The nectar is consumed by bees, butterflies and other insects. Black willows depend on bees, butterflies, and other insects to help during pollination. Seeds are also spread by wind and water.
Weeping willow trees are fast growing. They easily grow ten feet per year, and dominate the landscape. Their rounded, drooping branches give the tree a distinctive shape. Willows like standing water. Weeping willows aren't fussy about their soil type, and they're very adaptive. While they prefer moist, cool conditions, they can tolerate some drought. They're a great choice to create an oasis of shade, if you have space to grow these large trees. Willow trees produce an abundant, milky sap. Within the sap is a substance called salicylic acid. In 1763, a British minister named Edward Stone did experiments on willow sap and identified and isolated salicylic acid. The acid caused too much stomach upset to be widely used until 1897, when a chemist named Felix Hoffman created a synthetic version which was gentle on the stomach. His company, Bayer, produced his invention as the first aspirin.
A low-growing perennial shrub with rhizomes and distinctive red berries that persist well into the winter. Leaves are arranged oppositely along the stem, approximately 3/4 to 4 3/4 inches long and 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches wide.Leaves are also oval-shaped to elliptical in outline with many soft hairs on the lower surfaces. Flowers are clusters in the positions between the stem and leaves.The flowers are greenish in color, small, and relatively inconspicuous. The fruit of this plant is a round berry that is red to purple in color.Berries are 5 to 8 mm long and persist well into the winter. Coralberry fruit is preferred by many species of birds and is browsed by white-tailed deer and some livestock.
Columbine is an early summer flowering plant that is very hardy. It is one of the easiest perennials to grow with delightful, interesting flower shape. Columbine is a plant that can be found in meadows and woodlands.They are used as food for butterflies and moths. The flowers of various species of Columbine were consumed in moderation by Native Americans as a condiment with other fresh greens, and are reported to be very sweet, and safe if consumed in small quantities. The plant's seeds and roots are highly poisonous however, and contain toxins.
This native perennial plant is 2-5' tall. It has a stout central stem that isn’t branched.It has pale green yucca–like foliage supporting long stems topped with white or green spherical flower heads. Individual flowers are greenish white and are surrounded by larger pointed bracts. The alternate leaves tend to occur near the base of the plant, although a few smaller leaves occur along the upper portion of the stem. These leaves are long and strap-like, rather stiff in texture. Flower heads dry to white and persist neatly for months. Though there is no evidence to support the traditional uses of this species, it may have some value it treating inflammations and malaria.
Download: Estonoa Plant ID Fact Sheet (PDF)