Hazelnut, American

Scientific Name: Corylus americana

Family: Betulaceae

Height: 10 – 16 ft.

Spread: 8 – 13 ft.

Bloom Time: March – April

Native Range: Eastern North America, Pennsylvania

Ecological Value: The large shrubs provide shelter and nesting sites for birds. Tallamy reports that American hazelnut is a larval host for 125 species of caterpillars. Mammals and birds eat nuts.

Human Value: Edible nuts.

August 5, 2020: I purchased two American hazelnut whips from Prairie Moon Nursery in the spring of 2019 and planted them against the east fence next to Ian’s clubhouse. The southern whip survived and has grown into a small multi-stemmed shrub, but the more northern whip was planted in much poorer soil and died. I plan to plant a second hazelnut next spring as a pollinator for the surviving plant.



Scientific Name: Vitis sp.

Family: Vitaceae

Height: 15 – 20 ft.

Spread: 8- 15 ft.

Bloom Time: May – June

Native Range: Orchard Hybrid

Ecological Value: Nectar plant. Berries for birds.

Human Value: Green grapes are edible, but reputed to have a thick skin. Varieties like this one were more likely used for making jams and wines than for snacking. Leaves are also edible.

August 5, 2020: In the spring of 2020, Johanna allowed me to transplant three of her green grape vines from the fence beside her drive way. Today they are growing on the south and east side of Ian’s club house. The eastern vine, which had the oldest root system has produced a bunch of grapes this year. I look forward to tasting them in the fall.


Elderberry, American

Scientific Name: Sambucus canadensis

Family: Adoxaceae

Height: 5 – 12 ft.

Spread: 5 – 12 ft.

Bloom Time: June

Native Range: North, Central, and northern South America, Pennsylvania

Ecological Value: Nectar source, berries for birds

Human Value: Berries may be used for jams, baking, and wine making.

August 5, 2020: In the spring of 2019, I planted two elderberries on the espalier along our south side walk. I planted a third in the hedge along the northern property line near the Sweet Birch. All three have grown heartily and I look forward to our first fruit crop this fall.


Chokeberry, Black

Scientific Name: Aronia melanocarpa

Family: Rosaceae

Height: 3 – 6 ft.

Spread: 3 – 6 ft.

Bloom Time: May

Native Range: Eastern North America, Pennsylvania

Ecological Value: Nectar source, berries for birds

Human Value: Extremely bitter berries are technically edible and contain a large amount of pectin, but need to be cooked with a great deal of sweetening such as in jams.

August 5, 2020: In a class on attracting animal life to gardens that I took at the Mt. Cuba Center in the fall of 2018, the lecturer said that he had observed that birds preferred black chokeberries to red chokeberries. I look forward to comparing the interest in the two species in our yard this fall (2020). So far, the birds have largely ignored the red chokeberry by the front door.



Scientific Name: Passiflora incarnata

Family: Passifloraceae

Height: 15 ft.

Spread: 15 ft.

Bloom Time: July – August

Native Range: Mid Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Pennsylvania

Ecological Value: Nectar source for butterflies and bees. Larval host for the variegated fritillary butterfly

Human Value: Native Americans used the Passionflower for food and medicine. Captain John Smith reported that it was grown for its fruit near Jamestown. The fruit can be eaten raw, juiced, or boiled to make syrup. Young shoots and leaves were eaten as greens.


Violet, Blue

Scientific Name: Viola sororia

Family: Violaceae

Height: 0.5-0.75 ft.

Spread: 0.5-0.75 ft.

Native Range: Eastern North America, Pennsylvania

Bloom Time: May-June

Ecological Value: Larval host for fritillary butterflies. Nectar source for insects.

Human Value: Flowers and young leaves are edible. The leaves may be eaten in salads or added to soup to thicken it like okra. Flowers can also be used in salads or candied. Both leaves and flowers can be used for tea.


Spiderwort, Ohio


Scientific Name: Tradescantia ohiensis

Family: Tradescantia

Height: 2-3 ft.

Spread: 1.5-2 ft.

Bloom Time: June-July

Native Range: Eastern United States and Ontario, Pennsylvania

Ecological Value: Nectar source for insects especially long tongued bees like bumblebees. Mammals such as deer and rabbits eat foliage.

Human Value: Leaves, stems, and flowers are edible.


Scarlet Beebalm

Scientific Name: Monarda didyma

Family: Lamiaceae

Height: 2-4 ft

Spread: 3+ ft.

Bloom Time: June-August

Native Range: Eastern North America

Ecological Value: Nectar source for insects and hummingbirds.

Human Value: All above ground parts are edible. Flowers make an attractive garnish for salads. Leaves make a pleasant tea.


Autumn Sedum

Scientific Name: Hylotelephium ‘Autum Joy’

Family: Crassulaceae

Height: 1.5-2 ft.

Spread: 1.5-2 ft.

Bloom Time: September-October

Native Range: Hybird of plants from North America, Asia, and Europe

Ecological Value: Nectar source, particularly popular with bees and skippers

Human Value: Leaves are edible. New spring growth is best.

According to Wikipedia “Herbstfreude’ agm hybrid is also known in English as “Autumn Joy,” which is a literal translation from the German. It is a hybrid between Sedum telephium and H. spectabile. It is self-sterile, as it exhibits female flower parts only.” (



Scientific Name: Hemerocallis sp.

Family: Asphodelaceae

Height: 3-6 ft

Spread: 1.5-2 ft

Bloom Time: July-September

Native Range: China and Japan

Ecological Value: None

Human Value: Roots and leaves are edible. Open and unopened flowers may be eaten.