Welcome to Native Plant Appreciation Month! As we move through April, we’ll be updating this page with brief profiles on some of our favorite native plants. These plants are organized by the type of ecosystems you’ll find them in, all of which are reference ecosystems for our restoration efforts. Stay tuned for more!
Hardhack is a bushy shrub that grows well in wetlands and bogs, and has gorgeous pink flowers in late summer. It is often used in wetland and riparian restoration projects because it is fast growing, has tough roots, and provides great habitat for native birds.
Western skunk cabbage does have a bit of a smell when it’s in bloom, but the yellow flower is a gorgeous indicator of a wetland in action. It is not heat-producing like its east coast relative, but it is a great source of early spring food for bears, who like to eat the roots!
In Washington one of our most common sedges is slough sedge. This plant provides important wetland habitat for birds and mammals as well as stabilizing the banks of creeks and preventing erosion. You can see sedge in the wetlands at the Duwamish Hill Preserve!
You might recognize these large evergreen trees from their iconic drooping new growth at the top of their crown. This tree is shade tolerant and while it grows up through the understory is often snacked on by deer and elk. Fun fact: the western hemlock is the Washington State tree!
Red huckleberry are commonly found in the forests of the west coast brightening the understory with their red berries or creamy-pink spring flowers. Their berries serve as an important food source for birds and other wildlife. The red huckleberry is a common plant you’ll see growing on a nurse log – or a fallen, decaying tree that facilitates the growth of young plants.
False Solomon’s seal is found throughout the forests of Washington State and makes a great native plant option for Western Washington gardens. In early summer you are likely to see it’s beautiful clusters of white, showy flowers attracting butterflies and other pollinators.
Conifer Broadleaf Evergreen Mixed Forest
These unique trees may be best recognized for their beautiful, cinnamon colored bark that often peels off in large strips. Its one of our regions few common broadleaved evergreen trees with deep green, leathery leaves that fall from the tree after about two years.
You may find this hardy shrub growing a variety of PNW environments, from sea level to the Cascades. Its browsed on by a variety of wildlife and provides important cover for smaller mammals, birds, and tree frogs. In the late spring you’ll recognize its beautiful plumes of white flowers dropping from its branches.
The thin stem on the western starflower make it appear as though the white, star shaped flowers are floating above the rest of the plant. You’ll find the starflower growing in moist woodlands from a horizontal, underground stem called a rhizome.