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Hydrangea quercifolia

January 2009 Volume XV, Number 1 President’s Message ............ 2 Native Alternatives: Vines ...................................... 3 Very Berry Viburnums .......... 5 Small Native Trees for the Landscape .............................. 7 2009 Plant of the Year ....... 9 Rescue News ....................... 11 Native Plants at Amicalola Visitors’ Center ................... 11 Habitat Certification .......... 12 2009 Annual Symposium Update ................................. 13 Web Site Updates ............... 14
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Newsletter of the Georgia Native Plant Society

Native Alternatives: Vines
by Mary Tucker page 3 This article is one in a series on native plants that can serve as alternatives to commonly used, non-native landscaping plants.

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

Very Berry Viburnums
by Ellen Honeycutt page 5 Viburnum is a genus of shrubs that is found worldwide and contains more than 100 species. It is classified as part of the Adoxaceae family (reclassified from the Caprifoliaceae family).

Small Native Trees for the Landscape
by Linda Harris Hughes page 7 This past spring brought turbulent weather. Thunderstorms resulting from the many hurricanes wreaked havoc on several landscapes in my area of Cherokee County. After consecutive years of drought had shallowed the root systems, the high winds easily uprooted many large trees in my neighbors’ yards.

2009 Plant of the Year
by Jacqueline McRae and Paula Reith page 9 The Georgia Native Plant Society is very pleased to announce the selection by its enthusiastic members of the white oak (Quercus alba) as the Society’s 2009 Plant of the Year, the first canopy tree ever selected.

Save the Date!
Our members-only Garden Tour will be held April 5th. Details will be posted on the GNPS website,

Habitat Certification
by Jacqueline McRae page 12 The Georgia Native Plant Society started the Native Plant Habitat Certification Program to recognize and honor GNPS members for planting and nurturing native plants in their landscapes.



Georgia Native Plant Society PO Box 422085 Atlanta, GA 30342-2085 770-343-6000
Board Members President Marcia Winchester Vice President Kathryn Gable

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President’s Message
by Marcia Winchester
Members, welcome to our first “Green” electronic newsletter. We hope you like the new color format. Those of you that have elected to receive a black and white paper copy will find the newsletter still packed with a lot of important information on Georgia native plants. As this is a new endeavor there might be a few glitches, so please bear with us. We really want to hear your opinions on our changes. While 2008 wasn’t as severe a drought as 2007, most of the state continues to have very low water tables which will take several years of above average rain to refill. If your garden is not keeping you busy this year, consider helping out with one of our projects. Interested in growing more plants? Join our Stone Mountain propagation project. I guarantee you will learn a lot while volunteering in such a beautiful setting. Check out our Web site at for their workday schedule. I’ve decided to volunteer at our award-winning Heritage Park restoration project. We meet the second Saturday of each month. January 10 will be our third month where we will have several truck loads of rescued plants delivered to plant in areas where invasive plants have been removed. Besides planting, we also discuss the different plants, their preferred growing conditions and even identify plants in the park. Please drop by and join us. It is not only educational but rewarding. Our annual elections were held at our November meeting on November 11, 2008. Please help me welcome our new board members Kathryn Gable, V.P.; Shirley Center, Secretary; Paula Reith, Treasurer; Director of Communication, Sharon Parry; Director of Conservation, David Zaparanick; Member-at-large, Tom Painter; Member-at-large, Dick Reeves; and Member-at-large, Don Stewart, along with returning board members Mary Lou Cannamella, Director of Membership; and Ellen Honeycutt, Director of Education; and myself as President. e

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

Secretary Shirley Center Treasurer Paula Reith Members-at-Large Tom Painter Dick Reeves Don Stewart Communication Sharon Parry Conservation David Zaparanick Membership Mary Lou Cannamela Education Ellen Honeycutt Newsletter Editor Theresa Schrum Newsletter staff: Ellen Honeycutt and Lisa Betz, proofreaders; Susan Wood, layout.

NativeSCAPE is published four times a year by the Georgia Native Plant Society. A subscription is included with membership in the GNPS.
Copyright 2009 by the Georgia Native Plant Society. All rights reserved. Articles may not be reprinted without permission of the author.

It’s Time to Renew
If you haven't done so already, it's time to renew your annual membership for 2009. GNPS memberships run on the calendar year. The cost is $20 for an individual and/or family, $15 for those age 55 and older and for fulltime students, $50 for corporate/commercial/educational members and $250 for an individual or family lifetime. You can also donate additional money for any of our various projects. The renewal form can be found at Renewal memberships for 2009 are due by March 31. e


Native Alternatives

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by Mary Tucker
This article is one in a series on native plants that can serve as alternatives to commonly used, non-native landscaping plants. In this installment, we will look at native vines. First, I must mention that some non-native vines commonly used in landscaping are invasive, meaning that they get out of control easily, spread uncontrollably, and damage our natural environment. I doubt even the least educated gardener would intentionally plant kudzu (Pueraria montana) these days, but there are still those who use the invasive English ivy (Hedera helix) and cultivars of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). Note that it may not be obvious from the name on a plant label that a honeysuckle is an invasive cultivar because often only the cultivar name is given with no reference to the species. Here are a few cultivars of the invasive L. japonica, so BEWARE OF THESE: ‘Hall’s’, ‘Hall’s Prolific’, Halliana’, ‘Aureoreticulata’, and ‘Purpurea’. If you are at all in doubt of the invasiveness of a plant you see in a nursery, please check reliable sources before purchasing. Other invasive vines include fiveleaf akebia (Akebia quinata), sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora syn. C. paniculata, C. dioscoreifolia, or C. maximowicziana), Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), periwinkle (Vinca major and V. minor), porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata), winter creeper or climbing euonymus (Euonymus fortunei), Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), Japanese wisteria (W. floribunda), and Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium japonicum). Let me warn you that you may see some of these noxious plants recommended in books written by respected authorities. They may be touted for their ease of cultivation and rapid growth habits, but those may be the very features that make them invasive. Be warned! The good news is that there are plenty of worthy native vines available. Some are evergreen; others offer exceptional flower display; some can act as screens when grown on a fence; others can function as ground covers; and many offer wildlife benefits. As these native vines gain in popularity, cultivars are increasingly being offered in the nursery trade, which makes these native beauties even easier to come by. To the right and on the following page is a sampling of native vines from which to choose. You can employ them in the landscape knowing that they will add beauty to your garden, serve wildlife, and not damage our natural environment.

Native Vines for Your Landscape
Pipevine or Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia macrophylla syn A. durior) – unusual, brownishpurple, pipe-shaped blooms borne late spring to early summer; fruit a brown, ribbed capsule; large, broad, heart-shaped foliage; larval food for pipevine swallowtail butterfly; prefers moist soil; light shade to sun; use for trellises or fences; grows to 30 feet Cross-vine (Bignonia capreolata) – trumpet-shaped blooms borne early spring attract hummingbirds; flower color from bronze to orange or red, often with a yellow throat; fruit a slender, flat, brown capsule; evergreen to semi-evergreen, ovate to lanceolate foliage; tolerant of many soils; sun to part shade; use as a climbing vine or ground cover; grows to 30+ feet; several cultivars have been selected for flower color, including ‘Tangerine Beauty’ with tangerine-colored blooms

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

Cross-vine (Bignonia capreolata)

continued page 4

Native Vines for Your Landscape
from page 3 Trumpet-vine (Campsis radicans) – trumpet-shaped, red-orange blooms are borne in summer and attract hummingbirds; fruit is long, dry pod; opposite, pinnately compound leaves; can be an aggressive grower, so take care if introducing to the garden; tolerant of many soil types; light shade to sun; appropriate for fences or large arbors; 40 feet or more; cultivars selected for bloom color Swamp leatherflower (Clematis crispa) – small, fragrant, blue-purple, bell-shaped blooms that nod on stalks; blooms spring to summer; dry seed with feathery, plume-like appendage; opposite, pinnately compound leaf, usually with 3-5 leaflets of variable shape; prefers moist soil; sun to part shade; useful for small trellises and fences or intermingled with shrubs; 6-10 feet Leatherflower (Clematis viorna) – small, bell-shaped, nodding blooms lavender pink to dusky purple; blooms spring to summer; dry seed with feathery, plume-like appendage; pinnately compound leaf with variable number of lanceolate to ovate leaflets; rich, moist soil; sun to light shade; use on trellises and fences or intermingled with shrubs; 8-12 feet Virgin’s bower (Clematis virginiana) – numerous small, white, fragrant flowers borne in late summer; dry seed with feathery, plume-like appendage; leaves usually divided into three, toothed, ovate leaflets; adaptable to various moisture conditions; full sun to part shade; useful on fences, arbors, or trellises; grows 8-12 feet; NOTE: be certain of the species as it can be confused with the invasive sweet autumn clematis

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

Wood vamp or native climbing hydrangea (Decumaria barbara) – creamy white flower clusters borne in late spring to summer; fruit is urnshaped, ribbed capsule; ovate to elliptical, glossy, dark green foliage; moist to average soil; sun to shade, though needs sun to bloom well; use as ground cover or climbing vine; 30 feet; NOTE: not a true hydrangea and not to be confused with non-native “climbing hydrangeas” (Hydrangea anomola and Schizophragma hydrangeoides) Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) – yellow, fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers borne in late winter to early spring and attract hummingbirds; fruit is oblong, pointed capsule; glossy, evergreen, opposite foliage; moist, well-drained soil; sun to part shade; use as a ground cover or as a trailing or climbing vine; 10- 20 feet; cultivars selected for bloom color or form; swamp jessamine (G. rankinii) is similar, but blooms later, is more tolerant of damp conditions, and is not as cold hardy, being native to the Coastal Plain Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) – scarlet (or golden yellow), trumpet-shaped flowers that attract hummingbirds; begins blooming in late spring with flushes of bloom through much of growing season; fruit is red berry; opposite, semi-evergreen, oblong to oval foliage; adaptable to moist or moderately dry soil; full sun to partial shade; useful for arbors, fences,

trellises, or mailboxes; 12-15 feet; many cultivars available, including ‘Alabama Crimson’ with bright red blooms and ‘John Clayton’ with clear yellow blooms; the similar yellow honeysuckle (L. flava) bears yellow to golden orange flowers V irginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) – small, green, insignificant bloom; blue-black fruit eaten by many birds; palmately compound foliage with five ovate to elliptical leaflets; foliage provides vivid red to burgundy fall color; adaptable to many soil and moisture conditions; sun or partial shade; can be used as a ground cover or climbing vine; 40 feet or more Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) – lavender, elaborately formed bloom borne in summer, with nectar for butterflies; edible, egg-shaped fruit; deeply three-lobed foliage is host for fritillary butterflies; tolerant of a variety of well-drained soils; sun to part shade; can be used as a climbing vine or spreading on the ground; grows 10 to 25 feet; yellow passionflower (P. lutea) is more diminutive overall, grows to 10 feet and bearing small, greenish yellow flowers and gently lobed leaves Jacksonvine (Smilax smallii) – glossy, lance-shaped, evergreen foliage; tiny, greenish blooms borne in late spring are followed by black fruits, which are eaten by wildlife; dry to moist soil; sun to part shade; appropriate for trellises, arbors, or fences; 10 feet or more American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens) – lavender, drooping, fragrant flower clusters similar to those of the non-native wisterias; blooms in late spring after leaves emerge; fruit is smooth legume; pinnate foliage with 5-7 pairs of leaflets; moist, well-drained soil; sun to part shade; useful for pergolas, arbors, or fences; 10-30 feet; cultivar ‘Amethyst Falls’ is widely available e


Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

and they immediately envision the “Snowball” bush, a term used for several non-native viburnums such as Viburnum macrocephalum (native to China) or Viburnum plicatum (native to Japan). Another familiar nonnative viburnum is the “Double File Viburnum,” another form of the Japanese species. People in the more northern parts of the U.S. are also familiar with the European Cranberry Bush, Viburnum opulus. Although not as floriferously showy as some of the viburnums mentioned above, native viburnums offer the home garden many rewarding characteristics: white flowers in the spring, fruit for wildlife, adaptability to a variety of conditions, attractive foliage, and fall color. In addition, they naturally attract a variety of native insects which provide high protein food for birds and their young during nesting season.

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

Mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)

Very Berry Viburnums
by Ellen Honeycutt
Viburnum is a genus of shrubs that is found worldwide and contains more than 100 species. It is classified as part of the Adoxaceae family (reclassified from the Caprifoliaceae family). It shares this family with the genera Adoxa, Sambucus and Sindoxa. The characteristics of this family include opposite, toothed leaves, flowers with five (sometimes four) petals that are borne in cymose inflorescences (that is, the size of the flower is pre-determined and does not elongate further such as a racemose inflorescence) and a fruit that is a drupe.
There are about 15 native species (reclassification has combined some) in the United States. The different species are predominantly found in the eastern U.S., but the ranges of some species include Canada, the Pacific Northwest and California. Viburnums are especially known for producing large clusters of berries, providing food for wildlife. Many of them also have spectacular fall color in both the foliage and the fruit. They naturally grow in a variety of conditions: along streams, in dry woods, even in boggy areas; in Georgia their range includes the Mountains, the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. Native viburnums are oft-overlooked shrubs for the home landscape. Mention “viburnum” to many folks

There is one consideration that should be made when planting viburnums – optimal fruit production is achieved when cross-pollination can be ensured. Cross-pollination is achieved when two or more compatible plants which are not identical clones are planted near each other AND have overlapping bloom times. Most native viburnums are compatible with each other; however, they don’t all bloom at the same time. Therefore, the easiest recommendation is to have two plants of the same species that a) originate from different genetic sources, b) are not the same cultivar, or c) are a straight species and a cultivar. For example, you might have a Viburnum dentatum (species) and a V. dentatum ‘Blue Muffin’. Or you could have V. dentatum ‘Autumn Jazz’ and V. dentatum ‘Northern Burgundy’. In my garden, I have had success with a planting of Viburnum acerifolium and a single V. dentatum ‘Blue Muffin’. The portion of the V. acerifolium that blooms a week earlier than the ‘Blue Muffin’ does not set fruit while the portion that blooms at the same time fruits heavily. The rest of this article describes some of the characteristics and habits of each the 15 native species.
continued page 6


Very Berry Virbunums
from page 5

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

Viburnum acerifolium is known as the mapleleaf viburnum based on the shape of the leaf. Many a rescuer has had a hard time discerning the difference between a small shrubby red maple (Acer rubrum) and a mapleleaf viburnum when confronted with both on a GNPS rescue site. V. acerifolium can be found across the eastern U.S. from Maine to Texas. A stoloniferous shrub, this viburnum is not only shade tolerant, but also is quite adaptable to drier conditions. The fall foliage can be quite electric with vibrant pink colorations. This shrub is generally up to six feet tall.

course taken from the use of its strong shoots for arrows by Native Americans. Arrowwood viburnums can reach 15 feet in height and have some tendency to sucker in the right conditions.

V. dentatum is considered by Michael Dirr to be one of the most “durable” and “functional” viburnums for the East and Midwest, opinions no doubt shared by the many nurserymen that have created the wide range of available cultivars: ‘Autumn Jazz’, ‘Blue Muffin’, ‘Chicago Lustre’, ‘Northern Burgundy’, ‘Perle Bleu’ and many others.
Nicknames for Viburnum edule include squashberry, mooseberry and lowbush cranberry, the last being a nod to its resemblance to Viburnum opulus var. americanum (formerly Viburnum trilobum), which is known as the highbush cranberry. Both species have ranges into the northern parts of the U.S. and most of Canada. Natural conditions for both are similar as well: they are found along stream banks and shorelines, damp woods, swamps, and peatlands. The flowers on both species are generally showier than other native viburnums. The highbush cranberry is the taller of the two at maturity. Several cultivars for V. opulus var. americanum are in the trade including several compact varieties: ‘Compactum’, ‘Leonard’s Dwarf’ and

Mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)

‘Spring Red Compact’. ‘Red Wing’ is a popular moderately sized selection that has reddish new growth.

Mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)

Viburnum ellipticum, Western viburnum, is found in the Pacific Northwest and California. It is a loosely branched deciduous shrub growing to 10 feet tall with a leaf shape and flower similar to the Arrowwood viburnums. It grows in areas that have good spring moisture but is tolerant of dry summers. The dark green leaves often turn red in the fall. Viburnum lantanoides (formerly V. alnifolium) is known as hobblebush for its tendency to extend branches to the ground where they root and trip up unsuspecting passersby. The broadly ovate leaf shape is unusual among the native viburnums, and the flower contains a ring of sterile florets around the outer edge. The bark is often described as “purplish.” Although the untidy habit of
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Viburnum dentatum and several others make up the group known as the Arrowwood viburnums. This group includes Viburnum bracteatum, Viburnum molle, Viburnum rafinesqueanum, and Viburnum recognitum. The range of these six species combined includes all of the Eastern U.S. and most of Eastern Canada. They are naturally found in woodlands, bogs, stream banks and floodplain forests. The common name is of

Small Native Trees for the Landscape
by Linda Harris Hughes photos by Theresa Schrum
This past spring brought turbulent weather. Thunderstorms resulting from the many hurricanes wreaked havoc on several landscapes in my area of Cherokee County. After consecutive years of drought had shallowed the root systems, the high winds easily uprooted many large trees in my neighbors’ yards. Thankfully, not mine! It’s always heartbreaking to lose a large tree in your landscape. Often they serve as a framework around which you build your gardens. Or they provide much needed shade in the summer for the hellebores and daphnes you enjoy so much in late winter. How do you fill the void when a magnificent tree is removed from your garden? Smaller ornamental native trees are a great alternative. They can quickly fill an empty space, providing flowers for the bees and butterflies and fruit for the birds late in the year. While my neighbors complain about the squirrels emptying their bird feeders, I enjoy watching the birds feast on the fruit of the trees and shrubs I planted in my garden for that very purpose — to get them through the winter months. There are many such native trees and shrubs that will work beautifully in your yard.

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

Fringetree or grancy-greybeard (Chionanthus virginicus)

deciduous tree is in the olive family, and it is dioecious, having male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers on separate plants. So you’ll need both to provide the dark blue ‘olives’ on the female tree to visiting birds in the colder months. Although not considered ‘drought tolerant’, the fringe tree adapts well to most sites, even those that are moderately dry. In the same family (Oleaceae), we also have the native wild olive, or devilwood (Osmanthus americanus). Unlike the fringe tree, this olive is evergreen, and is not dioecious. Devilwood has a medium to slow growth rate and reaches about 20 to 30 feet in height and 15 to 20 feet in width. It grows well in full sun to part shade and has good drought tolerance, if planted in moist, well-drained soils. This tree makes a nice specimen in the garden, or several could be used as a screen to create privacy, perhaps replacing that row of Leyland Cypress that outgrew their space. It has small, white, bell-shaped flowers that are wonderfully fragrant in the spring, and like the fringe tree, it also produces a purple, olive-like fruit.
continued page 8

Wild olives
The fringetree or grancy-greybeard (Chionanthus virginicus) has recently caught my eye. Young trees grow quickly, but “Olives” of the fringetree or the growth slows with grancy-greybeard age, reaching between (Chionanthus virginicus) 15 and 25 feet tall and wide. The light requirements are from full sun to partial shade, so you should be able to find a space for a couple of these. The common name comes from its ‘fringy’ white flowers that emerge in spring. This


Small Native Trees for the Landscape
from page 7

Native hollies are a particular favorite of mine. I love the possumhaw (Ilex decidua) in late fall and winter. It drops its bright yellow leaves in the fall to reveal brilliant red berries that the birds devour. It has a slow to medium growth rate and will be 12 to 15 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. Possumhaw prefers moist soils in full sun to partial shade, transplants easily and has fair drought tolerance. You should plant both male and female plants, since it is considered dioecious (although not strictly dioecious, since the female blooms sometimes produce pollen as well as fruit). Another similar native deciduous holly is the winterberry (Ilex verticillata) in which the female plants are often covered with bright red berries in the winter. Winterberry is an excellent plant for wet soils or in riparian areas. And if you really don’t like the prickly leaves on many evergreen hollies, try the yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria). It grows 12 to 20 feet tall and about 10 feet wide, and has dark green, leathery leaves with serrated edges, but no stickers! It is dioecious, so you should plant at least one male to enjoy the bright red berries on the females later in the year. The fruit provides an important food source for various species of birds. Yaupon hollies are very adaptable, happy in both full sun or shade, but the foliage will be thicker if the planting site has more light. They thrive in alkaline or acid soils that are wet or dry. It’s very drought tolerant. What’s not to like?
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

brown. The Florida anise tree only grows to about 12 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. It likes a moist, shaded area and should be pruned to maintain its upright, compact form. Since it’s Florida anise (Illicium floridanum) an evergreen, this is another great option for adding some volume to your winter garden. Most of you are probably familiar with the sourwood tree (Oxydendrum arboreum), since it was GNPS’s Plant of the Year in 2004. Its growth rate is medium to slow, reaching 25 to 30 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide. The sourwood is a beautiful ornamental that blooms in June and July, with long drooping racemes of small white flowers that will be covered with bees to produce sourwood honey. This tree needs moist, acidic soils with good drainage and will grow well in full sun to partial shade, although the summer flowers and gorgeous fall colors will be more prevalent in full sun. It has moderate drought tolerance. There are so many fabulous native trees and shrubs that would make gorgeous additions to your garden. And because they’re native, they’re naturally comfortable in our climate. I tried to select a few drought tolerant ones above, since rain has been in short supply in recent years, but this is just a small sample. Visit the University of Georgia’s Web site for a much more extensive list of all types of native plants (http:// caespubs/pubcd/ B987/B987contents.htm). e

Other suggested native trees
On a garden tour this past spring, I was struck by the beauty of Florida anise trees (Illicium floridanum) in Ellen Honeycutt’s garden. Since red flowers are my favorite, I fell in love with this shrub’s dark red blooms and aromatic, broad foliage. The flowers appear in April and May and have 20 to 30 petals, followed by a starshaped fruit that fades from green to yellow and finally


Sourwood (Oxydendrum arboreum)

White Oak (Quercus alba)
Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

GNPS 2009 Plant of the Year
by Jacqueline McRae and Paula Reith
DeKalb County’s Champion White Oak.

The Georgia Native Plant Society is very pleased to announce the selection by its enthusiastic members of the white oak (Quercus alba) as the Society’s 2009 Plant of the Year, the first canopy tree ever selected.

The white oak, is one of the pre-eminent hardwoods of eastern North America. It is a longThe variably lobed leaves, sometimes lived and majestic oak in the Beech “If the Oak is the shallow or deep, may be somewhat family (Fagaceae) - some specimens King of trees then branching or have lobes that extend are known to have lived more than less than half-way to the midrib. 600 years. White oaks can be found the white oak is the Mature leaves are thin, bright yellow as far north as Quebec, throughout King of Kings.” green, shiny or dull above and pale, the state of Georgia and south to Donald Peattie glaucous or smooth below with northern Florida and eastern Texas. yellow primary veins being very While found naturally in moist, wellconspicuous. In late fall they turn an orange to deep drained woodlands they are often found in cities since their deep roots rarely present problems to foundations red color before dropping. and the strong branches hold up well to wind and ice. The bright yellow, pistillate flowers borne on short The white oak grows wider than tall when not crowded peduncles appear in mid-spring. The annual acorns are sessile or stalked and begin falling in early October. and typically reaches 50 to 100 feet high; at higher altitudes it matures as a much shorter tree. Its canopy The light brown, shiny 3/4-inch long acorns are a winter staple for many birds, squirrels and deer. is wider than most other trees even in closely packed mature forests. In open areas it can grow to be enorThe white oak is an extremely important plant to mous. The DeKalb County champion white oak has a wildlife, especially after the loss of the American canopy which easily covers a half acre! chestnut; it provides food, shelter, nesting material even the cavities that develop in these living and dead Although called the white oak, the bark is usually ashen-gray in color. On the trunks and larger branches oak giants supply vital nesting sites for dozens of species of birds. Many species of insects are supported of mature trees, a scaly, peeling almost shaggy appearance is easy to observe and is an identifying continued page 10 characteristic in winter.

The alternate leaves have a deep glossy green upper surface with a tint of blue and grow 5-8.5 inches long and 2.75-4.5 inches wide. In spring, the young leaves are exquisite with their delicate silvery-pink color and are covered with soft down. The petioles are short and the leaves cluster close to the ends of the shoots.


Very Berry Virbunums
from page 6

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

the plant does little to recommend it, this viburnum is rather adaptable to both shady and moist situations. Fall color is considered “good.” This shrub should not be mistaken for the European V. lantana (Wayfaringtree), which has escaped from cultivation in some areas of the U.S. There are several species which attain small tree size at maturity, up to 30 feet: Viburnum lentago (Nannyberry), Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw) and the related Viburnum rufidulum (Rusty Blackhaw). All three feature elliptic-obovate leaves, although the leaves on V. rufidulum are the most handsome with especially lustrous dark green foliage. The range is eastern U.S., with V. lentago having the most northern range and V. rufidulum having the most southern. Culturally, these three are tolerant of a variety of

soil types and conditions and quite adaptable, providing reliably handsome small trees as needed for smaller areas. Several cultivars of each have been developed but are not readily available.

Viburnum nudum is known as the Possumhaw and Swamp-haw viburnum; it is closely related to Viburnum cassinoides (now Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides), which is known as Witherod viburnum. The natural range is the eastern U.S. with V. nudum having a more southern range. This species is extremely tolerant of wet conditions, and we have found it on rescues in areas that are constantly wet. It is just as comfortable in average soil of my garden. V. nudum var. cassinoides is smaller than the species, usually maturing around 6 feet, while V. nudum can reach 20 feet. I am especially fond of the V. nudum foliage – it is thick, glossy, and has an almost quilted texture. It has fabulous fall color.

The foliage of V. nudum var. cassinoides is more plain, but the berries are considerably showier in comparison. Both plants have cultivars in the trade; V. nudum ‘Winterthur’ is probably the most well known. Finally, there is the “small” viburnum, Viburnum obovatum. Despite the name, only the leaves are small, as this species can grow to 12 feet with the national champion measuring 23 feet. The natural range includes Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida. This viburnum is also semi-evergreen within its range, although the leaves will turn bronze-purple for the winter. Although naturally found in moist to wet soils, often in swamps, this viburnum does fine in normal landscapes. It is a dense shrub and suitable for hedging; ‘Densa’ and ‘Mrs. Schiller’s Delight’ are more compact forms. ‘Christmas Snow’ is another cultivar. e

Plant of the Year
from page 9

by this magnificent tree which help to sustain the forest ecosystems. The white oak is also the host plant for several butterfly species, including many of the hairstreaks (Satyrium spp.) and several species of moths (Bucculatrix spp.). Although somewhat difficult to transplant once the tree is over a few feet tall, a white oak is easily grown from seed. Unlike red oak acorns, the white oak acorns germinate within a few days of falling from the tree. Although it produces a root, it does not send up a sprout until spring and so may be hidden in the leaves and humus.

Commercial uses of the white oak range from lumber, railroad ties, furniture to barrels and much, much more. Because of its durability, white oak wood has more uses in construction and other man-made objects than any other tree in the U.S. The wood is extremely watertight and rot resistant, which is also why the white oak was used to build the gun deck of the USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides.” “If the Oak is the King of trees then the white oak is the King of Kings.” - Donald Peattie. The white oak is the favorite with many “tree” people, including Greg Levine, program director of Trees Atlanta. The beautiful white oak is clearly the perfect choice for the 2009 GNPS Plant of the Year. e


Rescue News
by Don Schwartz
"If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" ~Shelley I've been thinking a lot about this quote as I've been working outside recently. The cold gray days of winter must yield to spring. Spring is coming! We hold that in our hearts as we plant our natives or dig up privet. Should I pull up a little mulch to see if the trout lilies are ready to spring forth? No, it is too early; putting the mulch back won't be as good at insulating as it is now. What about the early trilliums? Nope, same thing. But, holding spring in our hearts, we know it will come and so will our favorite spring-blooming natives. Gardeners must be positive persons, believing that plants will come up every spring, that seeds are worth planting, that transplants will survive, that their efforts will result in future beauty. We've had some wet days; we should rejoice in that and hope for more, despite the cold, gray, dismal days that are part of the package. Keep thinking positive, that spring will not be far behind. Many thanks to our volunteer facilitators who make the plant rescue program possible. e

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GNPS 2009 Plant Rescue Schedule
Pop-up rescues also may be conducted anytime at the discretion of the Regional Coordinators. Check listserv announcements and Web site for pop-up rescues. For more information, contact GNPS Rescue Director Don Schwarz at or 770-979-4237 Month JAN FEB Day None Sunday Saturday Sunday Saturday Sunday Saturday Sunday Saturday Date Look for pop-ups 1 7 15 21 1 7 15 21

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009


Native Plants at Amicalola Falls Visitors' Center
Last fall, a crew of hardy Master Gardeners from Pickens County and Friends of Amicalola Falls State Park gathered to prepare the landscape surrounding the Visitors’ Center for winter. Perennial beds were trimmed, plants were mulched and fertilized, weeds were pulled and, in spite of a light mist, a fine time was had by all participants. In addition to these chores, replacement of exotic with native plants continued; liriope and non-native azaleas were removed to make room for native azaleas, rhododendrons and inkberries. Efforts to convert the landscape to native plants received GNPS certification this year. Purchase of the new material was made possible through a grant from the Georgia Master Gardeners Association. e ~ Anita Rosen

Back row (l-r): Tricia Turner, Jim Smith, Judy Perkins, Louise Morgan, Jane Lipscomb, Martin Rosen, Debbie Dickson, Jim Burson. Front row (l-r): JoAnna Phillips, Anita Rosen, Kathy Brigman, Arliss Brigman


Habitat Certification
by Jacqueline McRae
The Georgia Native Plant Society started the Native Plant Habitat Certification Program to recognize and honor GNPS members for planting and nurturing native plants in their landscapes. It also applauds the native plant gardener for showing in a small, but significant, way that a residential property can make a connection with the natural world. Natural areas in Georgia and around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate. Watching our friends and neighbors plant the same exotics over and over again seems to be another nail in the coffin for indigenous environments. What we do locally impacts the natural world even beyond our borders because what we grow in our own gardens is reflected far beyond our garden fences. When people begin to plant natives, it is a first step to restoring that land and enabling it to support our native birds and other wildlife. Once again the spores of our native ferns, the seeds of our native flowers, the nuts and berries of our native trees and shrubs will travel with the birds that eat them or float down the small creeks that crisscross our properties. Living in the city can cause us to dream of hiking in our state parks and wild open spaces. Yet those very parks are beginning to be infested with the seeds of nonnative exotic plants such as Chinese Privet, English Ivy and Japanese Climbing Fern — choking out the natives. Imagine the butterflies who can find lots and lots of nectar plants here in Georgia, but who find fewer host larval plants for their caterpillars, especially in residential areas. Most of us know that the monarch butterfly needs the milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) for its caterpillars and many know that the gulf fritillary needs the passion flower vine (Passiflora incarnata). But what about those beautiful tiger swallowtails we are so accustomed to seeing gliding over our yards? Do you

have any Spice Bush (Lindera benzoin) growing on your property? Native insects have evolved to feed on native plants — the rise in exotic plant material effectively deprives them of what they need to survive. Reduced populations of native insects affect every part of the chain that follows them, especially birds and mammals. A native plant habitat is the best way to provide for a diverse community of wildlife. There are many habitat styles to choose from depending on the area itself: shady woodland gardens, water gardens and bogs, brilliant meadow flowers with full sun shrubs, dainty rock gardens, masses of fragrant azaleas… truly something for every passion. When we grow native plants, we grow functional plants, which fit into the natural scheme of things. If we run out of sunflower seed or forget to refill the hummingbird feeder it is just our loss – the birds who visit our yards are just fine because the seeds are dried on the Echinacea, the Salvia is still blooming late into the fall, berries are ripening on the Viburnums, and insects feast quietly on a leaf. Restoring native plants to our landscape provides a legacy for the next tenant of the land and to the natural world. This certification program might be your first step toward habitat restoration or it might be the culmination of years of effort. Either way, it is an opportunity for you to show everyone who sees your yard how alive it is. The pollinators, the reptiles, the hummingbirds, the bluebirds, the thrashers, even the munching caterpillars, are all happy at your house. Take the time to appreciate what you have accomplished in your garden and take stock of your native ecosystem – you probably have more growing than you realize. You can access the online application form at Print it out, attach it to a clipboard and go walk through your
continued page 13


Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

2009 Annual Symposium Update
The 14th GNPS Native Plant Symposium will be held on Saturday, February 14, 2009, at Mercer University’s Atlanta Campus, 2930 Flowers Rd. South, Atlanta, GA. The theme will be “Native Gardening in the Southeast.” We have an exciting group of speakers as well as book and plant vendors to tempt you. As usual, the symposium registration fee includes coffee, juice and pastries in the morning and a light lunch. Registration materials can be found at Symposium_Announcement.html

standing the many ways that insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. He also will be signing copies of his book, “Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens.”

e Greg Levine, program director, Trees Atlanta, landscape architect, and certified arborist
In his session, “Tough Native Trees for Urban Sites,” Levine will be speaking about the success of using native trees in Trees Atlanta projects. His work at Trees Atlanta includes managing the NeighborWoods Program, Urban Forest Restoration Program, Neighborhood Arboretum Program, and the new BeltLine Arboretum Program.

e Wendy Zomlefer, faculty curator, University of Georgia Herbarium
In the session, “Herbaria in Georgia,” Dr. Zomlefer will be speaking about the role that herbariums play in native plant research. She is the recipient of a 2008 GNPS research grant through which she will survey the 10 herbaria across Georgia to establish their needs and promote collaboration among them.

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

e Lauri Lawson, retail manager and horticulturist, Niche Gardens, Chapel Hill, NC
In her session, “Native Perennials – Now more available than ever,” Lawson will be showcasing some of the exceptional native perennials that have been brought into the nursery trade. Niche Gardens, which specializes in native plants, will be one of the Symposium’s plant vendors. e ~ Ellen Honeycutt

Speakers Speakers
e Douglas Tallamy, professor and chair, Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware
In the sessions, “Fighting Extinction with Native Plants” and “Gardening for Life,” Dr. Tallamy will speak about better under-

e Jane Bath, owner, Land Arts nursery in Monroe, GA, landscape designer, and author
In the session, “Designing with Native Plant Materials,” Bath will be speaking about incorporating native plant materials into landscape design. She also will be signing copies of her book, “The Landscape Design Answer Book.”

Habitat Certification
from page 12

garden. If you have plants in each category you are well on your way to becoming certified. The only precondition for certification is that you do not grow any Category 1 invasive plants as rated by the Georgia Exotic Pest Control Council. You can find the list of these thugs at The $10 Certification Program fee, payable to GNPS, is due with the completed application. You must be a

member of GNPS. Upon completion and approval of your application, a member of the Native Plant Habitat Certification Committee will visit your site as part of the certification process. At that time you will receive a personalized certificate suitable for framing. This visit will be coordinated with you prior to the visitation date. e


Web Site Updates
by Mike Strickland
Over the last several months, the following improvements and additions have been made to the GNPS Web site ( We hope these changes will make the Web site even more useful and informative for both GNPS members and the general public. Below is a section-by-section recap of these additions. We’d like to thank the individuals and committee chairs who provided the information for many of the pages and who help us keep the Web site up to date.

Minutes_Index.html). Also included are minutes from the November 11 annual meeting and election, which include year-end committee reports.

The 2009 GNPS Native Plant Symposium information and registration is available under the Meetings and Events menu ( Symposium_Announcement.html). The Membership menu now includes a form ( you can complete online, print and mail in with your dues. This will increase convenience for our members and accuracy with our database maintenance. Conservation Issues that GNPS members may want to support has been posted under the Programs and Projects menu ( Conservation_Issues.html). Restoration Projects have been posted under the Programs and Projects menu (

Georgia Native Plant Society // January 2009

Home page
What’s New: Chapter Formation. A group of native plant enthusiasts in western Georgia is pursuing recognition as the West Georgia Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society. Information about their first meeting is in the What’s New section of the Web site, which is accessed from the Home Page ( events/W_Ga_Chapter_Start.html). What’s New: November 2008 GNPS Meeting. The annual business meeting, election of board members, and holiday social was held Nov. 11, 2008. Highlights of the meeting are posted in the What’s New section ( Symposium: The 2009 GNPS Native Plant Symposium will be held Feb. 14, 2009. Information and registration is available on the Home Page, as well as at other locations on the Web site ( Symposium_Announcement.html). We Need You: Volunteer opportunities with the GNPS are posted at this link on the Home Page (

Native plants
“Native Plants for Georgia,” a slideshow produced by UGA, has been added to the Learn More about Natives menu ( Start_Show.html). A chart on warm-season grasses, along with a glossary, has been added to the Plant Chart menu ( The 2009 Plant of the Year has been posted to the Plant of the Year menu ( plantofyear2009.html).

2009 GNPS Native Plant Symposium information and registration is available under the Symposium menu ( Symposium_Announcement.html).

GNPS information
E-mails have been added for all board members in the About Us menu ( aboutgnps.html#Contact_Us). A Committee Chair Contact Page also has been added ( geninfo/committee_chair_contact.html).

More past newsletter articles have been archived in the NativeSCAPE menu ( newsletter.html). e

Board meeting minutes are available in the About Us menu (