Native Shrubs

Native Shrubs

Native shrubs provide a wonderful habitat for birds, giving them food and shelter.

 

Aralia spinosa
Devil’s Walking Stick – This tall, spindly, tree-like shrub forms dense colonies of painful, thorny stalks. However, the huge umbels of white flowers in spring provide nectar for pollinators and in fall, the cluster of berries are a favorite of the birds, making this plant a winner!
 
  Aronia arbutifolia
Chokeberry – Tall, slender shrub forms colonies. White flowers in spring become red berries in fall; good food for the birds. Grow in full to partial sun in average to moist soils.
 
Callicarpa americana
American Beautyberry – The beautiful, fall clusters of purple (and rarely white) berries are the primary attraction of this plant. The pink flowers in spring are barely noticed. This deciduous shrub performs best in moist soil in partial shade. It is worth having for the birds it attracts.
  Calycanthus floridus
Sweet Shrub – Also called Carolina Allspice, this 6 – 10 foot shrub produces attractive maroon flowers in spring and summer that are variably fragrant. Easy to grow in sun or light shade.
Clethra alnifolia
Sweet Pepperbush – This spreading shrub, growing to about 8 feet tall, is usually found in fairly moist habitats, where its’ fragrant, creamy white spikes of flowers attract an abundance of pollinators in summer. The fall fruits are consumed by a variety of birds and mammals. This salt-tolerant native is easy to grow with sufficient moisture and sun.
 
Cephalanthus occidentalis
Buttonbush – This course shrub has ball-shaped clusters of fragrant, creamy white flowers in early summer. Grows best in moist to wet conditions in sun. Flowers attract lots of pollinators, especially butterflies. Grows to 8 feet tall. Old stems can be pruned back to rejuvenate the plant.
Cyrilla racemiflora
Titi – This semi-evergreen shrub is common in swamps and other wetlands where it grows to about 15 feet in height. In late spring through July, they are covered with 5” spikes of white flowers, which attract lots of pollinating insects. Titi is adaptable to ordinary garden conditions.
Euonymus americanus
Hearts-a-bustin’ – Insignificant creamy white flowers in spring. In fall, beautiful scarlet seed capsules open to reveal bright orange-red berries. Also known as Stawberry Bush, this normally deciduous shrub grows to 6 feet in partial shade and average soil. Warning – deer love it!
Fothergilla gardenia
Fothergilla – Deciduous understory shrub has showy, fragrant, white flower clusters in spring. Good fall color. Best grown in full sun or partial shade in acidic, organically rich, well-drained soil.
Ilex glabra
Inkberry – This evergreen, rhizomatous holly is commonly found in acidic, moist habitats in full sun or part shade.  It is adaptable to the backyard garden. The black drupes produced by the female plants are attractive to birds. The flowers are attractive to bees.
Ilex vomitoria
Yaupon Holly – This versatile evergreen holly can be grown as a shrub, a small tree or even sheared into a hedge. The tiny white spring flowers are enjoyed by bees and other pollinators. The female plants produce red berries (sometimes orange or yellow) in fall that are eaten by birds. Yaupon Holly is tolerant of salt, wind and sand.
Itea virginica
Virginia Sweetspire – Virginia Sweetspire is a deciduous shrub that reaches about 6 feet in height. In spring it produces beautiful drooping spires of white flowers that attract pollinators. The foliage turns a bright red in fall. Preferring moist conditions and partial shade, it is a worthwhile addition to the backyard.
Morella cerifera
Wax Myrtle – This versatile shrub is at home in wet or dry soils and is salt tolerant, too. Mostly evergreen, wax myrtles make a good, fast-growing screen. The waxy, blue fruits are enjoyed by several species of birds during the winter months. This plant is the southern version of the Northern bayberry from which bayberry candles are made.
Osmanthus americanus
Devilwood – This small evergreen tree is found naturally in moist areas and in woods. The tiny white spring flowers are fragrant. Drupes are produced in fall and are consumed by birds.
 
  Persea palustris
Swamp Bay – Swamp Bay are small, evergreen trees common in moist soils. They can be easily identified by the fragrance of a crushed leaf and by the presence of gall damage on the leaves. Bay trees produce dark blue fruits eaten by wildlife.
Rhododendron atlanticum
Coastal Azalea – These beautiful rhododendrons are short, stoloniferous and so fragrant that they are sometimes mistaken for a honeysuckle. Usually seen growing along the edge of a forest in the coastal plain, they prefer full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. The April and May blooms attract a variety of bees and butterflies, as well as our native Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
  Sabal minor
Dwarf Palmetto – Our only native palmetto palm, these handsome plants are common in the southern end of Dare County. They prefer an understory and moist soil, although they are very tough plants. Growing to about four feet tall, they bloom on tall 7 – 8 foot stalks in summer and produce bountiful dark drupes.
Sambucus canadensis
Elderberry – This deciduous shrub prefers moist to wet habitats and full to partial sun. It grows to 10 feet in height and produces clusters of fragrant white flowers in June and July, followed by clusters of dark purple drupes in late summer and fall. Pollinators enjoy the flowers and birds eat the fruits. Elderberry plants spread by root suckers.
 
Sumac copallina
Winged Sumac – A very common shrub or small tree, sumac will grow in just about any habitat, from dry sandy flats to the edge of brackish marshes. Although not a very attractive plant, they produce an abundance of berries for the birds.
Vaccinium stamineum

Gooseberry – One of several “blueberry-type” shrubs found in our area, all of them great plants for wildlife, Gooseberry has pretty, white, dangling flowers in spring.

Viburnum nudum
Possumhaw – A deciduous shrub or small tree, Possumhaw is one of several valuable native Viburnums, all of which produce fruit for wildlife. Possumhaw also has attractive flower clusters in April and May. They prefer moist soils and sun or part shade.
Yucca filamentosa
Yucca or Adam’s Needle – Yuccas are very tough plants of hot, sunny, dry, usually sandy habitats. They are wind and salt resistant and require very little care. They produce tall spikes of creamy white flowers in summer.