Perennials & Biennials

Showing 533–536 of 538 results

  • Veronicastrum virginianum, Culver’s root Z 4-9

    Tall, graceful ivory spires



    Tall, graceful ivory spires bloom from mid to late summer

    Size: 4' x 18"
    Care: full sun to part shade in moist to moist well-drained soil
    Native: From Canada to Texas incl. Wisconsin native
    Wildlife Value: attracts butterflies

    Used by American Indians as a laxative and to induce vomiting and clean blood.  Cherokee cured typhus and inactive livers with Culver’s root. Remember Culver’s Little Liver pills? Seneca Indians used the root in their ceremonies. 1st collected by Rev. John Banister who moved to colonial Virginia in 1678.  A gunman mistakenly shot and killed him while he collected plants.   Colonial Puritan Cotton Mather unsuccessfully attempted to use this plant to cure his daughter’s tuberculosis in 1716.

  • Viola corsica Corsican violet Z 4-8

    Rare species violet. Clouds of blue violets with veined heart leading to tiny yellow centers



    Rare species violet. Clouds of blue violets with veined heart leading to tiny yellow centers from late spring thru fall-blooms its head off. Reliably perennial. More heat tolerant than pansies.

    Size: 5-7” x 8-10”
    Care: sun to part shade in moist well-drained soil.
    Native: Corsica

    1st described by Swedish botanist Carl Fredrik Nyman before 1893.

  • Viola tricolor Johnny jump up, Heartease Z 2-9 RESEEDING short-lived perennial

    Cheery purple, yellow and white small pansies from spring to late fall



    Cheery purple, yellow and white small pansies from spring to late fall

    Size: 3-5” x 4-6”
    Care: Sun to part shade in moist well-drained soil
    Native: Europe and Asia
    Wildlife Value: Violas are the sole food source for the caterpillar of Fritillary butterflies.

    Viola was named after a mythical young woman who Zeus loved and who Zeus’ wife harassed.  Athens adopted the V. tricolor as its symbol.  Pliny prescribed it for headaches in ancient Rome.  Mentioned repeatedly by Shakespeare.  In the 1500’s the plant was used to make a medicinal tea to cure chest and lung inflammations, (Gerard) and later to cure impetigo and ulcers.  When Napoleon Bonaparte died Viola tricolor found in his locket with a snip of Josephine’s hair.  Thomas Jefferson imported Viola tricolor from France in 1767.  Pressed specimen in Emily Dickinson’s herbarium.

  • Yucca filamentosa Adam’s Needle, Silk grass Z 5-9

    tall stalks bearing alabaster bells



    Six foot tall stalks bearing alabaster bells tower over clumps of swordlike leaves with margins of curly threads in July and August.

    Size: 30" leaves - 5' flower x 5'
    Care: full sun, moist well-drained to well-drained soil. Drought tolerant
    Native: New Jersey to Florida
    Wildlife Value: It’s only pollinator is the Yucca moth and the Yucca is the only food source for the Yucca moth in a mutually beneficial relationship.
    Awards: England's Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit; Cary Award Distinctive Plants for New England and Elisabeth Carey Miller Botanical Garden Great Plant Pick.

    In 1596 Gerard named the genus Yucca from the incorrectly identified plant, the Iucca.  Filimentosa is from the Latin filum meaning “thread” because of the threads on the leaf margins.  Colonists cut the leaves of Y. filamentosa to make thread.  Indians used the root as an ingredient in bread, to make suds for cleaning and the leaf fibers to make clothes.  For the Cherokee it cured diabetes and skin sores, induced sleep in people and drugged fish for an easier catch.  Tradescant the Younger collected this in Virginia before 1640. Both Gerard and Parkinson grew Yucca filamentosa in their personal gardens.  Jefferson planted it  in 1794 and called it “beargrass.”