Wisconsin Native

Showing 9–16 of 113 results

  • Antennaria dioica Pussy toes Z 5-9

    Pale pink “pussy-toe”, resembling the pads of a kitten’s foot



    Pale pink “pussy-toe”, resembling the pads of a kitten’s foot, flowers in early summer, great silvery-gray foliage, good groundcover and rock garden plant.

    Size: 2” x 18”
    Care: full sun in well-drained soil, drought tolerant
    Native: Temperate areas worldwide

    Antennaria from the Latin antenna originally referring to the mast of a sailboat.  Part of the flower supposedly resembles a butterfly’s antennae.  Historically used for medicine as an astringent, a cough remedy and to break fever.  First described by German physician and botanical author Leonhard Fuchs (1501-1566).  Gertrude Jekyll (1848-1931), mother of the mixed perennial border, planted this in her own rock garden at Munstead Wood and in the Sundial Garden at Pednor House in Buckinghamshire. The pink version, A. dioica rosea, collected in the Rocky Mountains by C.C. Parry before 1860.

  • Aquilegia canadensis Canada Columbine Z 3-9

    May - June scarlet and yellow columbines



    May – June, scarlet and yellow columbines

    Size: 24-36”x 12”
    Care: part shade in moist well-drained soil
    Native: Eastern Canada to Florida, west to New Mexico, Wisconsin native.
    Wildlife Value: Rich, sugary nectar important food for ruby-throated hummingbirds. Buntings and finches eat the seeds. Sole food source for columbine duskywing caterpillar.

    Seeds are fragrant when crushed, used by Omaha, Ponca and Pawnee as perfume. Pawnee used the plant as a love charm by rubbing pulverized seeds in palm of hand and endeavoring to shake hand of desired person. Crushed seeds also used to cure fever and headaches. Cherokee made a tea for heart trouble. The Iroquois used the plant to cure poisoning and to detect people who were bewitched. Grown by Englishman Tradescant the Elder in 1632. He may have received it from France. Cultivated by Washington & Jefferson.

  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Bearberry, Bear’s grape, Kinnikinnick Z 2-6

    Dwarf ornamental shrub



    “Dwarf ornamental shrub, ornamental in foliage, flowers and berry.”  Rand 1866.    In spring fragrant, pinkish-white bell-shaped flowers, evergreen, glossy foliage and Marlboro red berries in fall.   Great for cascading over edge of wall or groundcover.

    Size: 4” x 20” forms dense groundcover over time. Stems root to spread.
    Care: sun to part shade in moist well-drained to dry, acidic soil. Needs watering until established. Best grown with protection from wind.
    Native: No. America, Wisconsin native
    Awards: Cary Award Distinctive Plants for New England Kinnikinnick is Algonquin meaning “mixture.” Used as an ingredient in Native American smoke mixtures. For centuries leaves used to make medicinal tea as a tonic and diuretic in many parts of the world. Cheyenne drank the tea to cure back sprains. Some Native Americans used it to cure venereal disease, others to cure pimples and itching, peeling skin. Both Indians and colonists mixed leaves with tobacco for smoking. Collected by Meriwether Lewis on the Expedition.

  • Arisaema triphyllum Jack-in-the-pulpit, Indian turnip Z 4-9

    May-June striped, hooded spathe, red berries in fall



    Arisaema triphyllum syn. Arisaema atrorubens  Jack-in-the-pulpit, Indian turnip    Z 4-9
    May-June striped, hooded spathe, red berries in fall – a favorite shade plant

    Size: 6-24”x 12”
    Care: Part shade - shade in moist soil
    Native: Eastern No. America, Wisconsin native.

    Pawnee medicine men pulverized the corm to treat headaches and rheumatism.  The Cherokee used it to cure headaches, the common cold, ringworm, boils and “for scald head (and) scrofulous sores.”  Iroquois remedied adolescent diarrhea and listless infants with Jack-in-the-pulpit.  Also “for nonconception caused by cold blood” and for “temporary sterility.”  Chopped root mixed with whiskey cured colds.  It induced pregnancy for female horses.   Menominee pulverized the root, placed in incised lip to counteract witchery on the face.  The seed predicted death or recovery for the Meskwaki who also used it as poison to kill enemies.  The Potawatomi discovered that cooking the root for 3 days eliminated the poison.   HoChunk spread a compound of the root on neuralgia or rheumatism. Native Americans boiled the berries and roasted the root, for food. Garden cultivation since 1664.


  • Artemisia frigida Prairie sagewort, Silky wormwood, Z 3-10

    Erect stems bear silvery-white, finely-divided foliage. Leaves smell like camphor. Small yellow flowers bloom in summer. 




    Erect stems bear silvery-white, finely-divided foliage. Leaves smell like camphor. Small yellow flowers bloom in summer. 

    Size: 6-18” x 12-18”
    Care: sun in well-drained soil
    Native: all North America except the SE, CA and OR, Wisconsin native
    Wildlife Value: deer resistant, source of nesting material for native bees, food for caterpillars of several butterflies & moths
    Awards: Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit
    Size: Native Americans used this Artemisia to preserve meat, feed horses, repel insects, to remedy toothache, headache, coughing, lung ailments, heartburn, and colds. Indians in Great Basin used it in ceremonies .Chippewa made a decoction of root for convulsions.

    Meriwether Lewis collected this in early September 1804  along the Missouri River in South Dakota on October 3 1804.

  • Asarum canadense syn. Hexastylis canadense Wild ginger Z 3-7

    brown bells with flared tips hide under this groundcover's lacquered, round leaves



    Asarum canadense syn. Hexastylis canadense Wild ginger    Z 3-7
    Concealed brown bells with flared tips hide under this groundcover’s crinkled, lacquered, round leaves.

    Size: 6" x 6" spreading
    Care: part shade to shade, moist well-drained soil
    Native: Canada to North Carolina, Wisconsin native

    Native Americans used Wild ginger for such diverse purposes as flavoring food, cure heart palpitations, induce menstrual cycles, cure “the bite of the serpent,” mend broken bones and lure catfish. Colonists used the plant to break fever and stimulate the appetite.

  • Asclepias incarnata Swamp milkweed Z 3-9

    pink umbels, like an upside down ballerina’s skirt



    Asclepias incarnata Swamp milkweed     Z 3-9
    Fragrant medium pink umbels, like an upside down ballerina’s skirt, July – September.

    Size: 3’-4’ x 2-3’
    Care: Sun in moist to moist well-drained soil, deer resistant
    Native: North America – all states (except along the Pacific coast) & eastern half of Canada, Wisconsin native
    Wildlife Value: host for Monarch caterpillars, flowers are source of nectar for several butterflies

    Named after Asclepias, a Greek god of medicine. Native American groups used Swamp milkweed – Chippewa to increase their strength & the stems made into twine; Iroquois to heal navels in babies, to increase or decrease urine and to make a person strong enough to punish witches; Meskwaki to drive out tapeworms; and Menominee used it as an ingredient in food – added to deer soup & cornmeal mush. Listed as growing in England in Miller’s Gardeners’ Dictionary, 1768. Pressed specimen in Emily Dickinson’s herbarium.

  • Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly weed, Pleurisy-root Z 4-9

    striking orange cymes in July-August



    Striking orange cymes in July-August on this American native.

    Size: 2-3' x 12"
    Care: Sun in moist well-drained to dry soil, Drought tolerant & deer resistant
    Native: East and south North America, Wisconsin native
    Wildlife Value: host for Monarch & Gray hairstreak butterfly caterpillars.

    Omaha Indian’s Shell Society took 4 days to dig, prepare and distribute the root to cure bronchial and pulmonary ailments. Most important medicine for the Menomonie. Iroquois smashed the root on runner’s legs to give them strength. Butterfly weed cured flu and remedied coyote bites for the Iroquios. 1st collected for gardens by Rev. John Banister in colonial Virginia in 1678 He died when he bent over to collect a plant and a gunman mistakenly shot him. Jefferson grew this at Monticello.