Plant Descriptions

Actaea rubra ssp. arguta – Baneberry

Baneberry is an attractive rhizomatous perennial that grows up to 3’ tall.  It produces numerous small white flower clusters, then red (sometimes white) berries. Birds like to eat the berries, but the whole plant is quite poisonous to humans. Found in moist forests, in clearings and on roadsides.  It needs shade to partial sun and organic soil.  It is native across North America (Alaska, Canada, northern US) and in the Rocky Mountains.

Ranunculaceae family

Aruncus dioicus var. acuminatusGoatsbeard

Up to 6’ tall.  Dies back in winter.  Shoots up quickly in the spring.  Slowly spreading rhizomes.  Seeds itself easily if both male and female plants are present (dioecious).  Male flowers are larger and showier than female. (Link).  The fruits are “straw-colored follicles about 3 mm long” (Pojar).  Flowers attract hummingbirds, mourning cloak butterflies, bees and wasps. Full sun if soil is moist; otherwise mostly shade.  Naturally occurs along edges of  forests, roadsides and streams at low to mid-elevations.  Native from Alaska to California and on both sides of the Cascade Mountains.

Rosaceae Family







Vancouveria hexandra – Inside-out Flower, Duck’s Foot

The rhizomes of this woodland groundcover will eventually form a fairly dense network.  The foliage gets up to about 1’ tall.  The flower stalks are taller, bearing several nodding white flowers whose curved petals are folded backwards (thus the name).  It is a perennial, generally dying back completely in the winter.  Full shade to mostly shade.  It does well in moderately moist though well-drained organic soil, but also seems to thrive in fairly dry shade under evergreen trees.  Its irregularly rounded small leaves (shaped like a duck’s foot) give the plant a delicate, interesting texture.  It naturally occurs at low to middle elevations west of the Cascades, from southern Puget Sound down to northern California.

Berberidaceae Family

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