VNPS Home

Heading layer

Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

Register for Our Annual Meeting September 27–29 in Front Royal

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

SCBI Racetrack Hill Native Meadow by Charlotte Lorick

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
Heading layer

Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Check out upcoming Native Plant Sales!

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Downy Rattlensnake Plantain (Goodyera pubescens)

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax

;kl;lk;lk;lk

Heading layer

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

2019 Wildflower of the Year: New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)

Photo by Betty Truax

Photo by Betty Truax

Photo by Betty Truax

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
Heading layer

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Ceanothus americanus - VNPS 2019 Wildflower of the Year - Photo by Betty Truax
Heading layer

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider

News & Updates

Register now for the 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference in Front Royal on the weekend September 27-29. new

Chris Ludwig was driven by the "Spirit of Inquiry".

Don't miss all the news and information in the Spring, 2019 Sempervirens newsletter.

VNPS Member Catherine Ledec was named the Fairfax County 2018 Citizen of the Year.

Latest Facebook Posts

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Rose-pinks, Sabatia angularis, a member of the Gentian family, are found in nearly all counties of Virginia. According to the Digital Atlas of Virginia Flora, its habitat is "dry, open forests, woodlands, and barrens; more numerous in old fields, clearings, dry to wet meadows, and other disturbed habitats. Tolerates a wide range of soil chemistries but often most abundant in base-rich soils. Frequent throughout." This specimen was found blooming near the side of a road in Western Prince William County.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Have you been seeing this on your walks lately? Found In diverse wetland habitats, including floodplain forests, as well as low mesic forests and various disturbed sites, it is common throughout Virginia. It is a native plant; known as False Nettle, (Boehmeria cylindrica). It’s called False because it lacks the stinging hairs of most members of the Nettle (Urticaceae) family. Generally from 2-3 feet high, with some branching. Flowers are wind pollinated, but leaves are fed on by a variety of butterfly caterpillars, including the Comma,(Polygonia comma), Question Mark, (Polygonia interrogationis ), Red Admiral, (Vanessa atalanta). You may see spindle-shaped galls from the fly larvae on the stems.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

And just what kind of orchids may be blooming now, you ask? Well, Southern Slender Ladies'-tresses, (Spiranthes lacera var. gracilis), is a native orchid that has a wide distribution throughout Virginia. Commonly found in moist to dry fields, clearings, roadsides, and occasionally in mown lawns. It produces 2-4 basal leaves which usually wither before or at the time of flowering in summer or fall. It bears an inflorescence of up to 40 small white flowers arranged in a tight spiral. Distinguish it from other species of Spiranthes by the distinctive green spot on its labellum - the central petal at the base of an orchid flower.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Have you registered for our annual meeting yet? Some field trips are beginning to fill up. September 27-29 in Front Royal!

Our field trip to Jeremy's Run still has space and is described as follows: Enjoy the special beauty of Shenandoah National park with an active woodland hike. The trail starts at Skyline Drive and crisscrosses Jeremy’s Run, a tributary of the Shenandoah River, multiple times. The trail provides a particularly lovely setting and a nice selection of forest flora. This is an easy hike with only moderate elevation change, but hiking poles are advised for fording the creek on stepping stones. (Photo by Karen Hendershot)

For more information, and to register, see https://vnps.org/annual-meeting-2019-welcome/ .

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

"What are those beautiful berries?" some people ask. It may exhibit some lovely colored berries, but this vine is evil in our environment! Porcelain-berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) is an Asian species that was brought to North America in 1870 for use as an ornamental vine. It rapidly escaped cultivation into natural areas. According to the Blue Ridge Partnership for Invasive Species Management (PRISM), "[T]his escape artist operates by growing faster than almost anything else around it, except for kudzu, and perhaps Japanese honeysuckle, with which it likes to pal around. Porcelain-berry may grow 15 to 20 feet in a single growing season. It runs right over and shades out most desirable plants while competing with them for moisture and nutrients. It has a deep taproot and also sends out shallow roots far and wide. These spreading roots sprout suckers that then create a massive thicket."

Porcelain-berry prefers full to part sun in moist soil and can be found primarily in edge habitats and disturbed areas. For more information about this invasive vine and ways to combat it, check out this fact sheet from the Blue Ridge PRISM: http://blueridgeprism.org/wpcontent/uploads/2017/06/Porcelain-berry-Factsheet-5-27-17-VDOF-w-Box-FINAL.pdf.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Often maligned for its DISobedience, lovely Obedient Plant, Physostegia virginiana, attracts many pollinators, including the state insect tiger swallowtail shown here. Called obedient because its individual flowers remain in place when bent, it can be disobedient in its tendency to spread rapidly in rich, moist garden soil. If you garden, keep this flower in check with benign neglect.

This member of the mint family is also known as False Dragonhead because of its snapdragon-like flowers. According to the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora, "two varieties [of Physostegia virginiana] are present in Virginia: var. praemorsa (Shinners) Cantino, clump-forming with short rhizomes and bracts usually present below the lowest flowers; and var. virginiana, colonial from long rhizomes and without floral bracts. Virginia herbarium specimens have generally not been sorted out as to variety, and individual distribution maps will not be available until a systematic study of herbarium material is completed. Some naturally occurring plants in Virginia may be intermediate between the vars., and escaped cultivars may represent inter-varietal hybrids.

Var. virginiana inhabits stream banks, seeps, riverside prairies and outcrops, disturbed alluvial soils, damp clearings, and ditches. It is Infrequent throughout but most frequent in the western part of the state. Var. praemorsa is known from dry, rocky woodlands and barrens over limestone and dolomite in the sw. mountains (Ridge and Valley province), where it is infrequent and local; its status is poorly known and it could occur elsewhere. In addition, this species is frequently cultivated, and a few of the records from weedier habitats (especially in the eastern part of the state) may represent escapes."

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

At our March workshop in Charlottesville, Rebecca Wilson, Regional Supervisor/Longleaf Pine Restoration Specialist/Eastern Fire Manager for the Natural Heritage Division of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, regaled us with information about restoration efforts for longleaf pines. She even introduced us to Pipa (short for Pinus palustris), a tall costumed mascot for the program. Read more about these important trees in this news article.

Virginia Native Plant Society

Virginia Native Plant Society

Former VNPS president Nicky Staunton reports that her chinquapin tree (Castanea pumila) is enjoying a good harvest right now. It is also known as the Allegheny chinquapin or dwarf chestnut.

According to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a chinquapin is a "Tree or large, thicket-forming shrub to 30 ft. Single- or multi-trunked with horizontal lower branches, ascending in upper crown. Glossy, dark green, toothed leaves turn yellowish or purple in fall. Flower is a long, pencil-like, pale yellow spike and the fruit is a nut enclosed in a prickly, bur-like husk.

Captain John Smith published the first record of this nut in 1612: They [Native Americans] have a small fruit growing on little trees, husked like a Chestnut, but the fruit most like a very small acorne. This they call Checkinquamins, which they esteem a great daintie."

Join

Become a Member:
Support Our Mission.

Donate

Support VNPS with
your donation today.

Upcoming Events

Find Field Trips, Meetings, Programs and Plant Sales.

Find a Chapter

Get involved in your
local VNPS chapter.

New Book: Climate-Wise Landscaping, Practical Actions for a Sustainable Future

By VNPS Communications | April 15, 2018

Perfect! A book on climate-wise landscaping written by two authors who understand the vital role native plants must play in any future we can both envision and want to live in. What could be more important right now? We don’t want to sit around wringing our hands, say the authors; we want to DO something… [Read More]

A Path Into Natives

By VNPS Communications | April 8, 2018

My interest in native plants probably arose like it did for many of the VNPS readers. I fell in love with what I found out in the wild places; state parks and national forests and the scraps of nature on the edges of farms and developments. I was fascinated by the presence of those native… [Read More]

There Really is a Pyxie-moss!

By VNPS Communications | March 25, 2018

Pyxie-moss (Pyxidanthera barbulata) is a diminutive coastal plain endemic found only in the eastern portions of the Carolinas, southeastern Virginia, and the pine barrens of New Jersey and adjacent Long Island. It is adapted to frequent fire and minimizes heat damage by forming dense mats that hug the relatively cool ground. It prefers open, sandy… [Read More]

When the “Good Guys” Go Bad: The Role of Native Fauna in the Spread of Invasive Plants

By Caitlin Cyrus | March 4, 2018

Humans play a leading role in the spread of invasive species. From accidental introductions, like Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum), to intentional planting, like tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and mimosa (Albizia julibrissin), we have done an exceptional job of transporting invaders all over the world. Our cars carry seeds and propagules along highways, our boats… [Read More]

The Root of the Problem: Garlic Mustard

By VNPS Communications | February 25, 2018

It’s a classic tale of being careful what you wish for. As a high school student in Germany I went hiking with my classmates in the early spring woods. As I unpacked lunch, friends gathered knoblauchskraut at the forest edge, and we then added the native herb to our sandwiches.  “Ah,” I thought. “If only… [Read More]

Return of the Natives

By VNPS Communications | February 11, 2018

  My daughter, Chrissy, and I had been watching the 200-acre woodlands for months. First the “Land For Sale” sign went up; later the sign was marked “Sold,” then, most ominously, fluorescent orange flagging-tape marked the trees. The lovely wooded site was about to become a shopping center. The year was 2005, and a year… [Read More]

The Awkward Relationship Between Homo sapiens And Planet Earth

By VNPS Communications | January 28, 2018

I, as do so many of you, present lectures and workshops to a wide range of people in which we are encouraging them to become familiar with the local flora, to plant native plants that require less water, to plant and conserve those species that are important to insects, birds and other animal species, a… [Read More]

Kates Mountain Clover: Trifolium virginicum

By VNPS Communications | January 14, 2018

Kates Mountain Clover, (Trifolium virginicum) is one of only three clovers that are native to Virginia. First discovered on Kate’s Mountain in West Virginia in 1892 by botanist, John Kukel Small, this plant is known to exist only in four states and in a very specific habitat. In all four states it is listed as… [Read More]

Looking Back: VNPS in 2017

By VNPS Communications | December 31, 2017

Small but mighty, the VNPS rose up with spirit to meet the challenges of 2017.  The members of our Society did not sit around eating bonbons and gnashing teeth over discouraging events last year. Well, maybe there was some gnashing of teeth . . . but in the end, dedicated people got out and got… [Read More]

Finding Fulfillment as a Wildlife Way Station Volunteer

By VNPS Communications | November 30, 2017

My excitement rose when I first glimpsed the Wildlife Way Station being maintained at the car rest area along I-95 in Dale City. A good-sized plot of land was being cultivated with native plants that were attracting and feeding many of the area’s wild birds and insects — pollinators. Those small flyers have been losing… [Read More]