Welcome to the first installment of "Name That Native", a plant ID blog from the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens! This will be a weekly blog focused on the identification of our southeastern United States native flora. Each week I'll add between ten and fifteen new native plant names along with a botanical description of some of their characteristics, native range, etc. Each latin name will be linked to a page for the species on the USDA plant database where you can see photos and range maps for each plant. My assistant, Katherine Wright, will be using this blog to help build upon her native plant knowledge, and you can follow along as well. Enjoy! Confused by some of the botanical terms? (example: "Cauline") Use this website to learn what those indecipherable descriptions mean.
1) Veronicastrum virginicum, CULVER'S ROOT Scrophulariaceae- Figwort Family
Infrequent native perennial to seven feet tall. White Flowers in a cluster of racemes, one terminal subtended by a whorl of smaller racemes. Lance-shaped, sharply- toothed leaves in whorls of 3-7 along the stem. Blooms July-August. Found in wet meadows, bogs and along stream banks.
2)Lilium superbum, TURK'S CAP LILY Liliaceae- Lily Family
Native perennial to nine feet tall. Three to twenty Orange-red flowers with speckled, reflexed petals produced in the uppermost 1/4 of stem. Lanceolate leaves found in whorls of five to twenty the length of the stem. Blooms July-August. Found in wet meadows and coves.
3)Ratibida pinnata, PINNATE PRARIE CONEFLOWER Asteraceae- Aster Family
Native perennial to five feet. Flowers with five to eight yellow petals in drooping, conelike shape.
Leaves pinnately compound in five to seven lanceolate segments. Leaves scabrous. Disk flowers gray aging to brown. Mature seed heads smell of anise when crushed. Prairie remnant species found in meadows, wood edges and right of ways. Prefers calcareous soils (pH 6-7).
4) Stokesia laevis, STOKE'S ASTER Asteraceae- Aster Family
Native perennial to two feet. Blue-violet flower heads with ray and disk flowers. Thick basal leaves are evergreen. Stem leaves becoming smaller and going from entire to slightly dentate as they ascend the stem. Rarely found in piney woods and wood edges. Multiple horticultural varieties from deep purple to yellow. Blooms June-August.
5) Coreopsis verticillata, WHORLED TICKSEED Asteraceae- Aster Family
Slender native perennial to two feet. Leaves cauline, divided into narrow segments. Flowers with 7-9 yellow petals. Clonal plant forming small colonies in dry woods and wood edges. Blooms June-July.
6) Helianthus atrorubens, PURPLEDISK SUNFLOWER Asteraceae- Aster family
Native perennial to six feet. Stem pubescent. Leaves opposite, rhombic, pubescent and scabrous, found mostly on lower half of stem. Purple-red disk flowers provide common name. Fifteen to twenty yellow ray flowers. Native of remnant piedmont praires in NC. Blooms July-October.
7) Rhododendron prunifolium PLUMLEAF AZALEA Ericaceae- Heath Family
Native shrub/small tree to fifteen feet. Flowers in shades of pink-red to orange-red. This is our latest blooming native deciduous azalea, flowering in July. It is also one of the rarest, found only in a handful of counties along the Georgia/Alabama border.
8) Coreopsis major, GREATER TICKSEED Asteraceae- Aster Family
Native perennial to three feet. Sessile, lanceolate leaves in whorls of 4-7. Six to eight yellow ray flowers. Forms colonies in dry soil along road edges, wood margins and meadows.
9)Smallanthus uvedalius, HAIRY LEAFCUP Asteraceae- Aster Family
Native perennial to eight feet. Leaves to one foot across palmately lobed or dissected and scabrous on upper surface. Eight to ten creamy-yellow ray flowers in flowerheads to 1.5 inches across. Blooms July-October in lowland meadows and clearings. Recently known as Polymnia uvedalia.
10) Phlox paniculata, FALL PHLOX, Polemoniaceae- Phlox Family
Native perennial to five feet. Lanceolate leaves in opposite pairs, pubescent beneath. Pink/Lavender flowers in a compound panicle born from leaf axils on upper stem.
Parent species for a number of horticultural varieties.