Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening & Conservation

Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening & Conservation

by Donald J. Leopold
     
 

If you've always wanted to garden with native plants, this book is for you. With entries for nearly 700 species of native trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, grasses, and wildflowers from the northeastern quarter of the U.S. and eastern Canada, its comprehensive horticultural coverage is unsurpassed by any other single volume. The natural ranges of many of the plants

Overview

If you've always wanted to garden with native plants, this book is for you. With entries for nearly 700 species of native trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, grasses, and wildflowers from the northeastern quarter of the U.S. and eastern Canada, its comprehensive horticultural coverage is unsurpassed by any other single volume. The natural ranges of many of the plants discussed extend beyond the Northeast; the information on horticultural uses applies to any garden. Each plant description includes information about cultivation and propagation, ranges, and hardiness. An appendix recommends particular plants for difficult situations, as well as attracting butterflies, hummingbirds, and other wildlife. Illustrated throughout with color photographs.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Provides an invaluable resource for using natives in the landscape and restoration projects."
—Viveka Neveln, American Gardener, May/June 2005
Choice
"This book will interest readers who, regardless of their educational background, wish to learn about using native plants for gardening."
—D. A. Lovejoy, Choice, July 2005
The Washington Post
"An encyclopedia of experience."

—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post, July 23, 2005

American Gardener
"Provides an invaluable resource for using natives in the landscape and restoration projects."
—Viveka Neveln, American Gardener, May/June 2005

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780881926736
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
02/08/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
308
Sales rank:
148,019
Product dimensions:
7.69(w) x 10.75(h) x 0.94(d)

Read an Excerpt

Nearly all flowering plants (except artificially created hybrids) are "wildflowers" or "native" species somewhere in the world; but a plant species that naturally occurs somewhere is not necessarily native to that region. For example, when dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis) blooms in moist, open areas throughout the Northeast each year, many people assume it is native, a species of phlox. However, dame's rocket is in the mustard family (four petals, versus five for phlox flowers) and is native to southern Europe and western Asia. Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is another example of a widely naturalized species (again from Europe) that many observers assume is native to this region. In fact, many European species that are naturalized in the eastern U.S. are substantial components of "wildflower" seed mixes. The term "wildflower" should be restricted to those species that are truly native to a specific region. "Native" means that as best as botanists can determine, a species naturally occurred in an area prior to European settlement. While species included in this book are indeed native to some portion of the Northeast, they are not necessarily native to every county, state, or province in this region.

If one wants to learn more about which plant species are native to a particular region in the U.S., and about their identification characteristics and ecological requirements, an excellent source of information is the USDA PLANTS Database Web site. For many of the species listed here, county distribution maps are included, along with much additional information on the plants. State heritage programs also have important information about native plant species, especially those of most concern.

As I reviewed many of the books listed in the bibliography to supplement my personal observations, I often found myself grumbling about species that other authors included or excluded. I suspect the most informed readers will do the same here. I include plants that are native to a good portion of this region, have one or more ornamental attributes, can be found at one or more nurseries (often specialty native plant nurseries), and typically do not require routine incantations to grow. I have not emphasized those that are relatively naturally rare, just too difficult to grow, or too expensive to purchase. And I have excluded hundreds of other species that — while native and likely to fill important natural niches — simply do not compare with the species included here for gardening and restoration purposes. To give some idea of the number of native vascular plant species in this region, relative to the number included here: there are 2078 native, and another 1117 nonnative vascular plant species in New York state alone (Mitchell and Tucker 1997). Although few plant species remain to be discovered in the wild in this region, many wait for gardeners to find and appreciate them.

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Meet the Author

Donald J. Leopold has been studying native plants for nearly 30 years. He is currently at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York, Syracuse. His Native Plants of the Northeast (2005) is also published by Timber Press.

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