Category Archives: Native Plants

Red elderberry

Sambucus racemosa

Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa) is a large shrub or small tree, with mature dimensions to 20 feet tall by 10 feet wide. It grows from full sun to full shade, and prefers moist to wet soil. It is deciduous with large, compound leaves. White flowers bloom from early-spring to mid summer in 1.5”-3” pyramidal clusters. Bright red berry-like drupes are toxic to humans unless properly cooked.

Red elderberry attracts hummingbirds, pollinators, and beneficial insects.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist, Wet
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Spreads:
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Pest-eating Insects
  • Edible: Toxic if eaten raw - must be properly cooked
  • Mature Height: 10-20ft
  • Mature Width: 6-10ft

Chokecherry

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
Prunus virginiana

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) is a deciduous, thicket-forming shrub or small tree. Estimates for mature height vary widely from 12-40 feet. It bears ½-inch fragrant white flowers in cylindrical clusters, blooming late spring to mid summer. The leaves are oval, serrated, 2-4 inches long and pointed at the tip. The fruit is a ¼-½ inch cherry (drupe) that starts red and becomes purple or black. The fruit is considered edible but quite tart, and is more likely to be used for jellies or wine than eaten raw. The seeds (pits) are considered toxic; they contain cyanide.

Chokecherry is common across the United States with black (var. melanocarpa) and western (var. demissa) varieties occurring natively in Oregon.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist, Seasonally Wet
  • Ease of Growing: Moderate
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 12-40ft
  • Mature Width: 10-20ft

Black hawthorn

Black hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii)
Crataegus douglasii

Black Hawthorn (Crataegus douglasii) is a deciduous, thicket-forming shrub or small tree. Estimates for mature height vary widely from 20-40 feet. It is a common plant in Oregon and Washington on both sides of the Cascades, growing in moist, well-drained soils. The black hawthorn is an important species for wildlife, attracting pollinators and providing protected nesting and edible fruits for birds and other small wildlife.

Leaves are 1½ -3 inches, doubly serrated, ovate, and sometimes lobed. Small white flowers bloom in clusters from late spring to early summer. The fruit is purple-black pome (similar to a hard berry, but with a dense core containing the seeds), ¼ to ½ inch.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist (well-drained)
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: No
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: No
  • Mature Height: 20-40ft
  • Mature Width: 6-10ft

Oval Leaved Viburnum

Oval-leaved Viburnum (Viburnum ellipticum)
Viburnum ellipticum

Oval-leaved viburnum (Viburnum ellipticum) is a broadleaf, deciduous shrub of three-season interest. Viburnum is also known as the “wayfaring tree.” It attracts pollinators and beneficial insects, and provides food and shelter for birds and other wildlife.

Viburnum’s form is erect and loosely-branched. Leaves are 1-3 inches, simple, ovate to almost round and coarsely toothed. Clusters of small white flowers bloom in late spring and early summer. Fruit is a red drupe, becoming black. Foliage turns red in the autumn.

Oval-leaved viburnum is native west of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington, where it is found mainly on the edges of deciduous woods and along streams. This shrub tolerates seasonal flooding and drought.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads:
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible:
  • Mature Height: 5-15ft
  • Mature Width: 6-10ft

Golden Currant

Golden Currant (Ribes aureum)
Ribes aureum

Golden currant (Ribes aureum) is a low, deciduous shrub, named for its tubular golden flowers. It is common in Oregon and Washington east of the Cascades and into the Great Basin. Golden currant grows in full sun and partial shade, in dry to moist conditions, and is drought tolerant. The leaves are deciduous, lobed, and vaguely maple-like, ½ – 1½ inches. Flowers bloom from mid- to late-spring in clusters. The berries are edible and range in color from red to black.

Golden currant has a mature size of approximately 6 feet by 6 feet. It attracts hummingbirds and the fruit is eaten by birds and other wildlife. Thornless.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing:
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: No
  • Wildlife Support: Hummingbirds, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 6ft
  • Mature Width: 6ft

Goat’s Beard

Goat's Beard (Aruncus dioicus)
Aruncus dioicus

Goat’s Beard has decorative finely-cut foliage and will create a bold, showy effect for a moist or partly-shaded spot all season. Dense, feathery plumes of tight white flowers rise well above the foliage spring to summer.

Goat’s Beard is an excellent background plant or grouped in a woodland setting. It dies back to the ground in winter, only to return gloriously in the spring. Goat’s Beard spreads slowly by rhizomes to form attractive patches, and can be planted in more sunny areas provided there is good moisture. It’s a “host” plant to the Dusky Azure Butterfly.


  • Light Requirements: Part Shade, Full Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist, Perennially Wet
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals, Pollinators
  • Edible: No
  • Mature Height: 5-15ft
  • Mature Width: 3-5ft
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