Sunday, March 8, 2009

March Plant of the Month – Woodland Plants

From John Gilrein, Plant of the Month Coordinator

For our March 2009 meeting, the plant of the month will be a mix of woodland plants. Our March selection from Eastern Plant Specialties includes:
  • Hepatica acutiloba (sharp-lobed hepatica)
  • Uvularia grandiflora (large merrybells, large-flowered bellwort)
  • Trilliums, T. grandiflorum (white Trillium), T. luteum (yellow Trillium), and T. sessile (sessile Trillium)
  • Adiantum pedatum (Northern maidenhair fern).

In general, all these plants want part shade conditions and a good, moist, well drained soil and are native to the Eastern U.S. Shade of deciduous trees and soil enriched with organic matter are beneficial.

Hepatica acutiloba is hardy in zones 3-8, height 6 inches, flower color pale to dark violet, blooms in early spring. This plant is found in rich woods and favors alkaline soils.

Uvularia grandiflora is hardy in zones 3-8, height 12-16 inches, flower color pale to medium yellow, blooming in early Spring. U. grandiflora also favors lime rich soils.

Trilliums are hardy in zones 4-8 (T. grandiflorum is hardy in to zone 3), height 6-20 inches, and flower in mid-Spring. T. grandiflorum has white flowers and is native to a wide area of Northeastern North America; T. luteum has yellow flowers is native to the Southern Appalachians; and T. sessile has maroon flowers is native to the Midwest. Both T. luteum and T. sessile are sessile species (the flowers are stemless, nestled in the leaves and the leaves are mottled). Soil pH preferences based on my references are: neutral to alkaline for T. grandiflorum, neutral for T. sessile, and acidic to neutral for T. luteum.

Adiantum pedatum is a graceful fern fond of calcium rich soils (a lime lover) but tolerant of a wide range of conditions. Height is 1 to 2 feet. It has black stems and is a slow spreader. This will tolerate more shade than the flowering plants above.

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