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.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Plant of the Week: St. Andrew's Cross (Hypericum hypericoides)

I was visiting a cemetery the other day in eastern Kentucky and as is typical, it was located on the top of a hill with shallow, acidic soils.  Looking upon the landscape and seeing the typical horticultural flowers gracing the graves, I noticed a natural garden, albeit very small flowers, gracing the grounds surrounding the cemetery.  In this natural garden I found wild petunia (shortened because it was mowed), white milkwort, and great masses of St. Andrew's Cross (H. stragulum to some).  This very low growing shrub forms large masses, usually several feet in diameter where the four petaled, 8 sepaled 1/3" long flowers are arranged in a cross shape with an egg shaped ovary.  The leaves are simple, somewhat waxy, slender and oblong in shaped and occur opposite on the stem and the subspecies most common in Kentucky is multicaule (mat-forming).  The other subspecies get much taller, in some cases 2-4' tall.  This plant would make an excellent ground cover for a rock garden or other dry, shallow, well-drained soil in full sun.  I was only able to locate plants at one nursery, Mulberry Woods Nursery.  This has a tendency to be evergreen which gives it an additional value in the landscape providing some green during the winter.  The other great advantage is that it will stay in flower for several months.

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