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Western Kentucky University

Plants, Trees and Grasses of the Durbin Estate Project

Plants

Native flowering plants were planted to enhance the beauty and contrast of the newly developed vernal pond. The plants will also help provide food and habitat for amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. The plants will need to tolerant long periods of having wet roots, and be able to tolerant dry soil for when the pond goes dry.

Hibiscus  coccinea            (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Scarlet hibiscus
Scarlet rose mallow
Swamp hibiscus

Crimson star-shaped,
red flower 4"-8"
4' to 7" tall
Fruits are 1", tan, dry,
hard capsules, with hairy seeds.

 June - September

Nectar for hummingbirds
Blooms attract butterflies,
and Mallow Bee
Leaves, flower buds, and seeds
are food source for caterpillars
Foliage is food for the
Pearly Wood Nymph moth
Deer will browse the foliage

 
Solidago patula           (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Roundleaf goldenrods

golden yellow flower head

 late summer

Indigo Bunting bird (seeds)
Eastern Goldfinch bird (seeds)
Swamp Sparrow bird (seeds)
Ruffed Grouse (leaves)
Greater Prairie Chicken (leaves)
White-Tailed Deer
Cottontail Rabbits (young foliage)
Insects: including small bees, wasps, flies,
small butterflies, skippers, and beetles.
Insectivorous birds benefit indirectly from goldenrods because of the numerous insects that they attract.
Meadow Voles eat both the seeds and foliage.

 
Caltha palustris                               (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Yellow marsh marigold
Kingcup
Cowslip
water dragon

Buttercup-like
yellow flowers 1"-2"
1'-2' tall
thick stems

April - July

shelter for frogs
nectar for insects,
flies, honey bees
attract hummingbirds
attract butterflies

 
Helianthus angustifolius                 (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Swamp sunflower
Narrowleaf sunflower

Golden, daisy-like 3"
flowerhead with dark brown cone

early autumn - first freeze

Nectar for butterflies and
native bees
Seeds for song birds
and game birds such as
doves, quail, cardinals, and goldfinches

 
Cephalanthus occidentalis                 (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Common Buttonbush

5' - 12' up to 20' tall
Spreads 4' - 8'
Showy fragrant flowers
Ball-like inflorescence
containing tiny, tubular, 5-lobed,
white flowers
Flowers turn into a hard spherical ball-like fruit
Glossy green leaves

June to
early autumn

Seeds for waterfowl and birds
Nest protection for Wood Ducks
Foliage for deer
Nectar for insects, hummingbirds
insects and birds
Attracts bees and butterflies

 
Iris fulva                  
(to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Copper Iris

2' - 3" tall
1' - 2' spread
Terr-cotta colored
flowers
Long dark green,
sword-like leaves
Quick growing
Beardless
Crestless

Mid spring to
early summer

Nectar for hummingbirds
Blooms attract butterflies,
and Mallow Bee
Leaves, flower buds, and seeds are
food source for caterpillars
Foliage is food for the Pearly Wood Nymph moth
Deer will browse the foliage

 
Iris versicolor L.              (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Blue flag iris
Harlequin Blueflag
Northern Blue Flag

Flowers are light blue to deep violet
on a stem up to 2'  tall
Blue-green sword-like
leaves that iris fulvacan be 2' -3' tall
and burgundy at base

 Late May -
early June

Nectar for hummingbirds
Blooms attract mason bees
and flies

 
Lobelia cardinalis         (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Cardinal flower

Scarlet-red blooms
Long blooming period
Dark green foliage
Stems are up to 4' tall
Spread 1' - 2'
Flowers are vibrant red,
deeply five-lobed,
up to 2" long

 July - September

Nectar for hummingbirds
Attracts butterflies
Foliage feed deer and rabbits

 
Ludwigia alternifolia L.                (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Bushy seedbox
Rattlebox
False loosestrife

2' - 3' tall
1' - 1.5" spread
Yellow blooms
Box-like fruit
Reddish stems
Leaves are  2"- 4", deep green,
short, pointed and lance-shaped

 June - September

Seed heads add texture
to winter landscape
Foliage feed deer
Stems feed muskrats
Leaves provide food for
caterpillars

 

 

 


Trees

Forty Bald cypress trees were planted in the bio-retention basin to help adsorb the storm-water run-off and to help prevent standing water.

Taxodium distichum         (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Bald cypress
Swamp cypress

Grow in wetlands
Develop pneumatophores
known as knees
Develop buttressing, a swelling
at the base to help stabilize
themselves
Absorbs a tremendous amount
of water each day
Act as a filter for runoff
Absorbs harmful chemicals
Bark is thin and fibrous

Buds appear in late December 
early January and bloom
in March and April
Pollen is release when
the flowers bloom
A fertilized female conlet
turns from green to
brownish-purple as it matures
from October to December

Seeds for squirrels,
wild turkey, wood ducks,
evening grosbeak,
waterfowl, wading birds
and migrating geese
Cypress domes provide
breeding sites for frogs,
toads, salamanders
and other reptiles.

 Fifty white pine trees were planted along the walking trail to separate property boundry's and to be used for the natural walking-trail fence.

Pinus strobus                 (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Eastern white pine
Soft pine

Evergreen tree
Large, straight-stemmed
with pyramidal crown
Leaves are clustered, soft blue-green needles that
stay on the tree year round
Produces cones
Luxuriant appearance
Longevity 150-200 yrs. or longer

Male cones bloom in
late winter and release
a yellow pollen in the spring to fertilize the female cone

Decomposed needles enrich soil
Provides food and shelter
Seeds from the cones are
nutritional for squirrels, birds, rabbitsand racoons
Provides shelter and nesting
area for birds in the winter

 

 

 

Grasses

Seven thousand grass plugs were planted along the slope of the banks and in the drainage channel to slow the velocity and help prevent soil erosion in rain events.

Chasmanthium latifolium            (to view image click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

River Oats

Spangle Grass

Wildoats

Uniola

Grows in clumps 2-5 feet tall. Low-maintenance.

Preferred habitat is wetlands, flood zones stream banks and low meadows.

The stem and leaf is upright, narrow and arching, alternate on the stem, lance-like, smooth (hairless) with rough margins.

 From June to October the seed-heads are in attractive panicles on gracefully drooping pedicels and change color throughout the season from an early translucent green to a rich brown later in the summer and fall.

The seeds are eaten by granivorous birds and small mammals.
Leaves provide graze for mammals. Stems and leaves used as nesting material by birds.
Larva host for Pepper & salt skipper butterfly, Bells road side skipper butterfly, Bronzed roadside skipper butterfly


Elymus hystrix          (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Bottlebrush grass

Used for erosion control and cut flowers.
Greenish-brown, bristly spikelets in several to many clusters along a terminal spike atop an erect smooth stem.
Adapts to wide range of soil conditions including heavy clay.

 June - Aug

Attracts butterflies
Larval host and/or nectar source for Northern Pearly Eye moths

 
Panicum virgatum L.          (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

switchgrass
tall panic grass
Wobsqua grass
blackbent
tall prairiegrass
wild retop
thatchgrass
Virginia switchgrass

Can grow up to 7ft. tall
Clum-forming, warm-season grass with open, lacy sprays with small seeds. Purple stigmas at flowering time. Bright green leaves occur up and down the stem, turnig bright yellow in fall. Used primarily for soil conservation, forage production, game cover, ornamenttal grass, biomass crop, fiber, electricity, heat production and biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Hardy, deep-rooted, perennial rhizomatous grass.
Drought-resistant ornamental grass in average to wet soils.

 

 Aug - Nov

Attracts birds and butterflies. Seeds eaten by ground-feeding songbirds and game birds.
Provedes cover and nesting material
Larval host for banded skippers and most of the satyrs.

 
Elymus virginicus L.                            (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Virginia wildrye
Bald Rye grass
Wheat grass
Terrell grass

Drought tolerant
Found along river banks, woods, thickets, woodland but rare in open ground.
Very short rootstock, grows in dense tufts
Stems grows 2-4 ft. tall, tinged with purple.
Leaves are long and broad, bright green
Flowers are in a spikelike inflorescence

yellow blooms
Mar - May

seed and forage for birds and small mammals
used for denning and nesting material
attracts butterflies
essential larval host for most branded skippers and most of the satyrs

 
Andropogon gerardii                            (to view image, click here)

Common Name

Features

Blooming Season

Benefit to Wildlife

Big Bluestem grass
Turkey foot
Prairie tallgrass
Tallgrass

Drought tolerent
Blue-green stems 4-8 ft. tall, fine to medium blade width
Display a variety of colors from steel gray to wine red
rhizomatous, sod-forming grass
It occupies ravines, lower portions of gentle slopes, and well-watered lowlands where the soil moisture content is high

Aug. - Nov

Red, Blue, Brown

Russet in winter

seed and forage for birds and small mammals
larval host for Delaware Skippers and Dusted Skipper
Provides cover for at least 24 species of songbirds and nesting sites or seeds for Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, and other sparrows, as well as nesting sites for Sedge Wrens and Western Meadowlarks.
Attracts Birds and butterflies

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 Last Modified 9/24/14