Two Wonderful Shade-Tolerant Native Specimens
Two of my favorite plants that are large shrub/small tree sized to showcase as specimens are Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) also
Pagoda Dogwoods have a great horizontal branching habit in whorls, creating layers or levels. White, four parted flowers emerge in late May and cover the tree. A favorite of emerging insects, the flowers will be sought out by small native bees and wasps.
Pagoda Dogwoods grow locally here in central Minnesota in oak woodland understories, tolerating a lot of shade. They can also be found in more open sites at the edges of woodlands.
American Bladdernut is more upright in form, with leaves divided into 3 leaflets - an arrangement similar to Poison Ivy with the center leaf having a longer petiole. Young Bladdernut seedlings can be mistaken for Poison Ivy.
It grows locally along parts of the Minnehaha Creek watershed, and I have been told also near the Minnehaha falls.
American Bladdernut is also an understory shrub of moister lowland sites and also found in drier upland sites, often near water. It can tolerate a lot of shade under mature hardwood trees but also does well in sunnier sites with adequate moisture.
It is fairly fast growing too, in loamy soils it will double in size in 2 to 3 years.
© Heather Holm, 2015. Heather Holm