Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Plant of the Week: Culver's Root: (Veronicastrum virginicum)

This elegant plant of the snapdragon family can grow up to 5' tall and when found on steep slopes has a tendency to flop over.  Because of this tendency, even in the garden, I like to put a nice patch of this surrounded by either little bluestem, broomsedge, or split-beard bluestem grasses.  When backlit in the late afternoon it makes a stunning display.  This single stemmed plant has whorled leaves that are narrow and oval shaped, with serrated edges, and are about 6" long by 1.5" wide.  The flowers begin at the base of the flowering stalk and the white tubular flowers have beautiful rusty brown to yellow stamens.  The flowers do not smell and the plant has a central taproot with some lateral rhizomes but it is not an aggressive spreading species by any means.  One established, the taproot makes moving this plant difficult.  It likes loamy, well-drained soil in the full sun but can tolerate clay. There are no major diseases known for this plant. This species has many notable medicinal qualities as Native Americans used it to stop nosebleeds and as a purgative and emetic. It can be very harmful if ingested and therefore it is not used much for medicines today.  The plant is named for a noted 118th century physician who made it popular at this time.  There are so many good companion plants for this species it is hard to list them all.  I like the look with an understory of butterfly milkweed and maybe wild quinine but I think wild bergamot, prairie clover, yellow coneflower, black-eyed susans.  There are at least three cultivars available and include 'Diane',  ‘Lavender Towers’ and ‘Fascination’.  There are a host of other cultivars on the market as well.  This is a great cut flower and works well in a naturalized meadow.  The primary pollinators are bees including honeybees, bumblebees, Mason bees, Green Metallic bees, and Masked bees.  Generally deer resistant.

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