Native Plants / Washington
Washington State Native Plants
A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region or ecosystem without human introduction. There are many benefits in growing native plants. First, these plants are better adapted to soils, moisture and weather than exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world. They need less fertilizers, pesticides or use less water. Second, they are unlikely to escape and become invasive, destroying natural habitat. Third, they support wildlife, providing shelter and food for native birds and insects, while exotic plants do not.
One of the tallest firs in the world, Abies grandis (Grand Fir) is a large evergreen conifer of narrow, conical habit becoming round-topped or straggly with age. Its spreading and drooping branches are densely clad with sharp-tipped needles, shiny dark green above with two silver bands beneath. The needles are arranged in 2 distinct, flattened rows. They exude an orange aroma when crushed.
Perfect for shade gardens, Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry) is herbaceous perennial forming bushy clumps of finely divided, bright green foliage, enhanced by clusters of small fluffy white flowers in late spring and early summer. Borne on conspicuous red stems which rise above the foliage, they give way to pea-sized glossy scarlet berries in summer.
Incredibly attractive, Adiantum aleuticum (Maidenhair Fern) is a deciduous or semi-evergreen, perennial fern with graceful, bright green fronds which open like the fingers of a hand atop upright, shiny, purple-black wiry stems. Each finger is further divided into a series of triangular segments (pinnules).
Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop) is an upright, clump-forming perennial with attractive spikes of small, tubular, lavender to purple flowers from early summer to early fall. Adding lovely vertical lines to the landscape, they are attractive to bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects.
Native to North America, Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo Bush) is a vigorous deciduous shrub of upright-spreading habit with bright green leaves composed of up to 35 spiny-tipped, oval leaflets. In late spring to early summer, showy racemes, up to 6 in. long (15 cm), of small, scented, purplish blue flowers with protruding stamens and orange-yellow anthers are on display.
Ideal to complement colorful perennials in beds or borders, award-winner Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) is a rewarding bushy perennial topped with bountiful clusters of long-lasting, buttonlike flowers which are perfect for dried floral arrangements.
A low-growing western native, Antennaria parvifolia (Small-Leaf Pussytoes) is a stoloniferous, mat-forming perennial forming a beautiful carpet of fine-textured, broad spatulate to oblanceolate, silver-gray leaves that remain attractive year-round.
Native to Western North America, Aquilegia Formosa, commonly known as 'Western Columbine', features masses of pendant, glowing red and soft yellow flowers, 2 in. across (5 cm), with straight spurs and bushy golden stamens. They rise elegantly on long, thin stems above a lovely fern-like bluish-green foliage and bloom for weeks from late spring to early summer
Exquisite, Arbutus menziesii (Madrone) is a spreading evergreen tree with an elegant, wide-branching habit and leathery, lustrous dark green leaves, 6 in. long (15 cm). In spring, a profusion of drooping clusters of urn-shaped, white flowers hang at the tip of the branches. Rich in nectar, they attract hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators. They are followed by small, brilliant red-orange fruit that ripen in the fall
Extremely winter hardy, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry) is a slow-growing, creeping, evergreen shrub with trailing red stems studded with small, leathery, shiny, obovate, dark green leaves, up to 1 in. long (2.5 cm). The foliage turns red or purplish in winter before becoming green again in spring. Pretty clusters of lantern-shaped, white-to-pink flowers hang gracefully from the short red stems in mid to late spring.
Armeria maritima (Sea Thrift) is a compact, evergreen perennial boasting round clusters of pink to lavender (or sometimes white) flowers borne atop slender stalks that rise well above the foliage. Blooming profusely in mid to late spring, sporadic additional flowering may occur throughout the summer.