Photo by Catherine Flanagan

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

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News & Updates

Please Note:  All John Clayton Chapter walks have been cancelled until further notice.

The John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society was chartered in June of 1984 and was named in honor of the colonial botanist, John Clayton. Our membership includes beginners as well as professional botanists, novice and experienced gardeners, and folks who just like to walk and see some wildflowers and trees.

We present educational programs at our meetings, as well as to schools and civic organizations, conduct fieldtrips and workshops, participate in plant rescue and relocation, work on conservation projects, publish a bi-monthly newsletter, and have displays for libraries, schools, and events. We hold a native plant sale in April every year.

The John Clayton Chapter includes Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex, James City and York Counties, as well as the Cities of Williamsburg, Hampton, Newport News and Poquoson.

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Common Yucca – May 2015 Wildflower of the Month

By VNPS Communications | April 19, 2015

Distinctive with leathery, evergreen leaves in a dense rosette, this plant looks like its desert relatives. On edges of the stiff, sharply pointed leaves are fraying, twisted whitish threads, which are not usually found on other species of Yucca. During the growing season each plant will produce a spreading cluster of drooping cream-colored flowers on a 6-foot…

Dwarf Dandelion – April 2015 Wildflower of the Month

By VNPS Communications | March 20, 2015

Looking like a miniature dandelion, but growing only one foot tall, this annual plant appears in lawns and roadsides in spring. The stems are leafless, or leafy only near the base, and contain a milky sap. Most of the leaves are clustered around the base, long and narrow, often wider near the tip, somewhat hairy…

Shadbush – March 2015 Wildflower of the Month

By VNPS Communications | March 11, 2015

The lacy white flowers of Shadbush are the first to break winter dormancy, signaling the arrival of spring. Early colonists noticed the tree blooming when the shad are running, hence one of its common names. The plant is also known as “serviceberry” since the local ministers could visit winter-bound homes as the roads became passable,…

River Birch – February 2015 Wildflower of the Month

By VNPS Communications | January 25, 2015

There is a lot to like about River Birch, especially in the winter when its cream to peach-colored inner shredding bark is so visible without the summer leaves.  This medium-sized tree tolerates compacted clay (within reason), summer heat and drought, but grows best in average to humus-rich acidic soil in full sun or partial shade.…

Black Locust – January 2015 Wildflower of the Month

By VNPS Communications | January 12, 2015

Two trees with similar leaves can be easily distinguished in the winter condition. Black Locust is a medium-sized tree with compound leaves, each leaf divided into 6-20 egg-shaped leaflets. The bark on old trunks is dark and deeply ridged; paired thorns are found on stout twigs. The flowers are fragrant, white and clustered, and fruits…

Spotted Spurge – December 2014 Wildflower of the Month

By VNPS Communications | January 12, 2015

Spotted Spurge is a familiar creeping annual with more or less prostrate stems, often forming circular mats. The reddish stems are filled with sticky, milky latex. Leaves are opposite, oblong, mostly under 1/2 inch long, with toothed edges. Dark green in color, each leaf often has a central purple spot. From the leaf axils, what…

Nature Camp 5015

By PHILLIP MERRITT | December 7, 2014

The John Clayton Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society is now considering candidates for scholarships for the Summer 2015 sessions of Nature Camp at Vesuvius, Virginia in the George Washington National Forest. Nature Camp is a coeducational, academic camp that emphasizes education in natural history and environmental studies. It is intended for those seeking…

Three-seeded Mercury – November Wildflower of the Month

By VNPS Communications | November 12, 2014

This modest annual is also known as Shortstalk Copperleaf since the leaves are on very short petioles and the alternate leaves often turn reddish in the fall. Stems are simple or branching from base, to 2 feet tall, pubescent. Blooming from June through November, tiny flowers are clustered in the leaf axils, surrounded by bracts…

Fireweed – October 2014 Wildflower of the Month

By VNPS Communications | October 25, 2014

Unlike many members of the Aster Family, the heads of Fireweed lack the distinctive ray petals. They have a cylinder shape with a swollen base, topped with white disk flowers. They are most conspicuous the fall as they fill with copious masses of fine, soft hairs attached to the young fruits. The oblong leaves are…

Annual Plant Sale

By PHILLIP MERRITT | March 26, 2014

Saturday April 26th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. This year’s plant sale will again be held at Jamestown Beach Park at the end of Jamestown Road. Payment will be by cash or check only. Funds raised from the sale of these plants will help send students to Nature Camp, fund scholarships, and conduct educational programs and…