Our native shrubs - page 5

Oak-leaf hydrangea
(Hydrangea quercifolia)
 ©Janet Allen Hydrangea flower

An interesting aspect is that the sterile flowers turn pink after the fertile flowers are pollinated.

Oak-leaf hydrangea
(Hydrangea quercifolia)
 ©Janet Allen Oak-leaf Hydrangea

It's a beautiful shrub in the fall. The parts of the plant that were in the sun turn especially nice colors. I suspect if the whole plant was in the sun (rather than on the north side of the house) the whole plant would be red.

Kalm's St. John's wort
(Hypericum kalmianum)
 ©Janet Allen Kalm's St. John's wort

Kalm's St. John's wort has nice foliage and the usual yellow flowers. This is a young plant, just planted the previous fall.

More info from Wildflower Center

Shrubby St. John's wort
(Hypericum prolificum)
 ©Janet Allen St. John's wort

It's growing well, and the foliage is attractive.

Wildlife: Intermediate
More info from Wildflower Center

Inkberry
(Ilex glabra)
 ©Janet Allen Inkberries

Inkberry is a type of holly, so like all hollies, male is needed to pollinate the females. I know I have the cultivars 'Densa' and 'Compacta', both of which I believe are female. I may have acquired another cultivar along the way (or maybe the species), but I don't know for sure that we have a male. Still, though, we do get berries, so I either have a male somewhere they're being pollinated by another plant in the neighborhood. (Unfortunately, I've lost track of which plant is which.)

It has lustrous foliage and beautiful form. It looks very much like boxwood. As I read somewhere, if it came from Asia, people would be clamoring for it, but they never expect our own natives to be so beautiful!

Wildlife: High; nectar for bees; berries for birds
More info from Wildflower Center

Inkberry
(Ilex glabra)
 ©Janet Allen Inkberry berry

I assume birds eat the berries, though these ink-black berries are small and not extremely numerous. This is odd since there seems to be quite a few (very small) flowers, which are themselves a source of nectar.

Winterberry 'Winter Red'
(Ilex verticillata)
 ©Janet Allen Winterberry flowers

Winterberries are another type of native holly, and so require male and female plants. I have the cultivars 'Winter Red' with its male companion 'Southern Gentleman.' Only one male is needed for up to about ten females, and, of course, the females are the ones with the berries. One advantage of the cultivars is that they're labeled, not specifically as male and female, but with different cultivar names that indicate their gender. We have one male in the back yard and one in the front yard, each of them having their own "harem" of three females.

The bees love these tiny flowers as much or more than any other flowers. They must be loaded with nectar.

Wildlife: Cover, nesting; nectar for insects, berries for birds
Larval host: Henry's elfin, Elf
More info from Wildflower Center

Winterberry
(Ilex verticillata)
 ©Janet Allen Winterberry berries

This is the female in late fall when the berries have turned red. Besides being very ornamental, the robins and the northern mockingbird love the berries. Though it likes wet areas, we've found that it grows fine in our regular soil.

NOTE: The commonly-available 'Sparkleberry' is a cross between I. verticillata, the native species, and I. serrata, an Asian species.)

Winterberry
(Ilex verticillata)
 ©Janet Allen Winterberries

Winterberries are spectacular in the winter, especially when it snows and the bright red berries are highlighted by the white snow.

Besides being very ornamental, the robins and the northern mockingbird especially like these. (Yes, we've had robins here in winter.)