Elms Environmental Education Center

Welcome to Planet Earth

Nursery Plant Guide

Here you will find a guide for which seeds to look for during which season.

 

Seeds Ripe in Autumn

 

Seeds Ripe in Winter

 

Seeds Ripe in Spring

 

Seeds Ripe in Summer

Not all plants are available at all times. Check here  for the current inventory.

  • Click on the image for help with identification.
  • Click on the scientific name for more detailed information.

Image

Name

Sun

Water

pH

Height

Wildlife Value

Landscape Interest

Devil's walking stick

Devil's Walking Stick

Aralia spinosa

Full SunPartial Sun

Moist

6-8

Up to 20'

Good: Berries eaten by birds and small mammals. Spiky branches, large clumps of blue berries.
Arrow Arum

Arrow Arum:

Peltandra virginica

Full SunPartial Sun Wet: to 6" 6-8 Up to 3' Good: Berries eaten by birds and small mammals. Interesting leaf shape, fills shallow areas of water. Can be invasive.
Eastern Columbine

Eastern Columbine:

Aquilegia canadensis

Full SunPartial Sun Dry to moist 6-8 up tp 3' Good: Nectar  attracts hummingbirds, berries eaten by birds. Rose colored flowers seed prolifically.
butterfly weed flowers

Butterfly Weed

Asclepias tuberosa

Full Sun Dry to Moist 5-7 up tp 3' Good: Nectar  atracts butterflies and other insects, monarch host plant. Dense flower clusters provide blanket of cover in late summer/fall.

Swamp Milkweed: 

Asclepias incarnata

Moist to wet 5-8 4 to 6' Good: Nectar  atracts butterflies and other insects,monarch host plant. Large pink flower clusters.

Common Yarrow: 

Achillea Millefolium

Dry     Good: Nectar  atracts butterflies and other insects. Large white flower clusters.

Common Milkweed

Asclepias syriaca

moist, wet   4 to 6' Good: Nectar  atracts butterflies and other insects,monarch host plant. Very large plant, monarchs.
False Indigo Flowers

False Indigo: 

Baptisia australis

Moist 6-7.5 2 to 4' Good: Nectar atracts insects, seeds eaten by birds and small mammals, Beautiful spikes of purple flowers.

American Beautyberry:

Callicarpa americana

Average to moist

 

 

36- 72"

Good: Nectar atracts insects, berries eaten by birds and small mammals,

Flashy pink clusters of berries.

Indian Wood Oats:

Chasmanthium latifolium

dry to moist

5-7

2 to 5'

Good: Seeds are eaten by small mammals and birds.Stems and leaves used as nesting material by birds. Interesting flower heads, often used in dried arrangements.
 

Jack-in-the-Pulpit:

Arisaema triphyllum

moist to wet   1 to 3' High: nutritious berries eaten by birds and small mammals Unique flowers and bright red berries.
Mist flower image

Blue Mist Flower: 

Conoclinium coelestinum

Moist   1 to 3 ' Good: Attracts bees and butterflies. Tall, thin, works well to add blue to a meadow setting.
Joe-Pye-weed flower

Joe-Pye Weed:

Eutrochium fistulosum

Moist to wet   5 to 7 ' or even larger High: Excellent source of late summer food for pollinators. Seeds eaten by Swamp Sparrow. Huge pink flower clusters attract every insect within miles.
black-eyed Susan flowers

Black-eyed Susan:

Rudbeckia hirta

Dry to moist 6-7 1 to 3.5' High: Nectar source for butterflies and other insects. Birds, especially finches, feed on the seeds. Maryland state flower, a sea of yellow. Can be invasive.
 

Seaside Goldenrod:

Solidago sempervirens

Dry to moist 5.5 to 7.5 1 to 6' Poor Large spikey yellow flower clusters.

New York Ironweed:

Vernonia noveboracensis

Moist to wet   3.5 to 8' Good: Nectar source for butterflies and other insects. Birds, especially finches, feed on the seeds. Clusters of purple flowers, very tall and lanky.
Yucca plant

Yucca (Adam's Needle):

Yucca filamentosa

Dry 5.5 to 7.5 2 to 2.5' Poor: The larval host for a couple of different skippers in the southeast. White flower stalks can rise 5' above the plant. Grows well in sand and rock gardens.
Violet plant

Common Wood Violet:

Viola sororia

Moist 6-7.8 6" Poor. Ground cover for small animals. Edible plant and flower, color for shady groundcover.
blue-eyed Grass

Blue-eyed Grass:

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

Dry to moist 5 to 7 .5 to 1.5' Poor. Grassy borders with blue flowers.
buttonbush flower pictures

Buttonbush:

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Moist to wet 6.1 to 8.5 6 to 12' Good: Seeds are eaten by small mammals and birds. Flowers attract polinating insects.. Unique white golf ball like flowers. Requres sunlight to flower.
Winterberry berries

Winterberry:

Ilex verticillata

Moist to wet 4.5 to 6.5 10 to 12' Good: Winter food source for birds. Red berries that persist through the winter. Berries and leaves can be toxic to pets and humans.
 

High Tide Bush:

Iva fructescens

Wet 5 to 5.7 2 to 10' Poor. Birds will eat seeds. Salt tolerant, bushy white flowers.

Possum Haw:

Viburnum nudum

Moist to wet 5.1 to 6 6.5 to 20' High: nutritious berries eaten by a wide variety of birds and small mammals. Attracts wildlife.
Red maple leaves

Red Maple:

Acer rubrum

Moist to wet 5.4-7.1 40 to 100' Good: Browsed by deer and small mammals. Seeds eaten by birds and mammals. Host to a number of moths. Beautiful red fall foliage and well balanced shape. A popular shade tree.
 

Silver Maple:

Acer saccharinum

Moist to wet 5.2 to 7.1 50 to 100' Good: Seeds are eaten by small mammals and birds. Grows quickly, breaks easily. A shade tree for those who don't mind picking up branches.
 

Smooth Alder:

Alnus serrulata

Moist 5.5 to 7.5 12 to 20' High: Birds and mammals eat the seeds. Provides cover along streams. Great for riparian buffers, fixes nitrogen  -- plant right on the edge of the water.
 

Wax Myrtle:

Morella cerifera

Dry to wet 5.1 to 6.5 5 to 10' Good: many species of birds will eat the seeds. Often planted as a screen along property lines. Seeds can be boiled down to make candle wax.
 

Horsetail rush:

Equisetum hyemale

Moist to wet +/- 7 1 to 3' Poor Used as an ornamental in water features. 
Marsh hibiscus flower

Marsh Hibiscus:

Hibiscus moscheutos

Moist to wet 4 - 7.5 3 to 6' Poor: Attracts hummingbirds. Beautiful, large white, occasionally pink, showy flowers. Grows well in any moist location. Acid tolerant.
 

Blue Flag:

Iris versicolor

Moist to wet +/- 6.0 3' Good: Birds and mammals will eat the seeds. Flowers attract insects. Mammals will eat the roots. The classic iris. Smaller and less long-lived than commercial varieties but a good alternative.

Sea-Shore Mallow:

Kosteletzkya virginica

Wet +/- 6.0 1.5 to 4.5' Poor: Attracts hummingbirds. Beautiful pink flowers, salt tolerant. Plant along the edge of tidal creeks.
 

Great Lobelia:

Lobelia siphilitica

Moist to wet +/- 6.0 1 to 5' Good: Flowers attract pollinators and hummingbirds. A beautiful lobelia. Grows tall and lanky so should be planted among other tall plants.
Monkey Flower

Monkey Flower:

Mimulus ringens

Moist to wet +/- 6.0 1 to 3' Poor: Flowers will attract butterflies. Sparse flowers add a touch of purple. Spreads rapidly.
Swamp rose

Swamp Rose:

Rosa palustris

Moist to wet +/- 6.0 3 to 6' Poor: Flowers will attract polinators. One of our native roses, acid tolerant. Can be shaped like other rose bushes. Flowers less showy and long lived than commercial varieties. 
 

Wool grass:

Scirpus cyperinus

Moist to wet 4.8 to 7.2 4 to 6' High: Birds will eat the seeds, mammals the roots.  Very interesting flower heads. Grows tall an lanky. 
 

Common Threesquare:

Schoenoplectus pungens

Wet +/- 6 4' High: Seeds eaten by waterfowl and mammals. Roots eaten by mammals. Salt tolerant sedge. Use as edging around water features and buffers around tidal creeks.
 

Softstem Bulrush:

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani 

Wet +/- 6 6 to 10' High: Seeds eaten by waterfowl and mammals. Roots eaten by mammals. Freshwater rush for erosion control around streams and as a feature in water gardens.
 

Salt-marsh Cordgrass:

Spartina alterniflora

Wet +/- 6 2 to 7' Good: Seeds eaten by birds. Provides nesting material and cover for waterfowl. Classic salt marsh grass. Great erosion control along tidal creeks.
 

Fringed Sedge:

Carex crinita

Moist to wet 4 to 7.5 1 to 5' Good: Seeds eaten by birds. Provides nesting material and cover for waterfowl. Freshwater sedge with attractive seed heads.
 

Switch grass:

Panicum virgatum

Dry to wet 4.5 to 8 3 to 6' Good: Seeds eaten by songbirds. THE native clump grass. Replaces pampas and miscanthus. Grows anywhere, spreads slowly.
serviceberry berries

Service Berry (Canadian):

Amelanchier canadensis

Moist to wet 5.6 to 7.5 35 to 50' Good: Browsed by mammals, birds eat seeds. Beautiful white early spring flowers. Suseptible to a wide variety of fungus and diseases.
Pawpaw

Paw Paw:

Asimina triloba

Moist 5.2 to 7.2 20 to 35' High: The fruit is eaten by a variety of mammals. It is the host plant of the zebra swallowtail. Tends to grow in patches. A fine mid story shade tree for moist areas. Fruit is edible.
river birch bark

River Birch:

Betula nigra

moist to wet 4 to 6 50 to 75' High: Mammals browse the leaves and bark while birds eat the seeds. Planted ornamentally for its colorful, peeling bark.
redbud leaf

Eastern Redbud:

Cercis canadensis

Dry to Moist 4.5 to 6.5 20 to 35' Good: Flowers attract pollinators, birds and small mammals will eat the seeds. Nitrogen fixing with beautiful early spring pink blossoms. Commonly found on forest edges but will stand on its own as well.
persimmon fruit

Persimmon:

Diospyros virginiana

dry to moist 5 to 7 50 to 75' High: Fruit and seeds eaten by a wide variety of bats and other mammals. A native fruit tree planted as a food source for people and animals.
green ash leaf

Green Ash:

Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Dry, moist, wet 5 to 7.5 50 to 100' High: supports a varitey of insects, birds and mammals. A tough, well adapted shade tree that can grow anywhere. Currently under threat from the Emerald Ash Borer.
American Holly leaves

American Holly:

Ilex opaca

Moist 4 to 7.5 15 to 50' Good: Berries are eaten by birds. THE midstory tree of Southern maryland forests. Decorative red berries (poisonous) persist through the winter. Acid tolerant.
sweetgum leaf picture

Sweet Gum:

Liquidambar styraciflua

Moist to wet 4.5 to 7 60 to 100' High: Seeds are eaten by a wide variety of birds and small mammals. A fast growing shade tree. Prickly seed cones (gumballs) can be a nuisance.
black cherry tree with berries

Black Cherry:

Prunus serotina

Dry to moist 5 to 7.5 40 to 75' High: The fruit is eaten by a huge variety of birds and mammals. A classic wild cherry tree with small, usually somewhat bitter fruit. Note: only the fruit is edible, the rest of the plant is poisonous.
chestnut oak

Chestnut Oak:

Quercus prinus

Dry 4.5 to 7 40 to 80' High: Acorns, acorns and more acorns. Supports a vairety of insects. Beautiful, well shaped oak.
bald cypress leaves

Bald Cypress:

Taxodium distichum

Moist to wet 4.6 to 6 50 to 100' Good: Waterfowl will eat the seeds. A unique acid-loving deciduous conifer. When in water will develop "knees".

Sweetbay Magnolia:

Magnolia virginiana

Moist to wet 5 to 6.5 12 to 30' Good: Birds and mammals will eat the seeds, supports a variety of insects. The native magnolia. Blossoms are smaller and less abundant than the popular Southern Magnolia.

Trumpet Vine:

Campsis radicans

Dry to moist 6.1 to 7.5   Good: Attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. A beautiful vine with large showy orange/red blossoms. Can, in time, grow quite large and destructive.

 

 
 
 

Search this site

SMCPS Logo

St. Mary's County Public Schools

Charting a Course to Excellence

www.smcps.org

Home  | For Students | For Parents | For Teachers | Nursery | smcps.org

The Elms Environmental Education Center is the home of Environmental Education for St. Mary's County Public Schools.

Unless otherwise indicated all original content on this site is free and in the public domain.