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Antennaria dioica Pussy toes Z 5-9
Pale pink “pussy-toe”, resembling the pads of a kitten’s foot
Antennaria dioica Pussy toes Z 5-9
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
Aquilegia canadensis Canada Columbine Z 3-9
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.
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