Herbaceous plants in the Caribbean

Groundcovers are important elements in the designed garden. They fill the blank spaces of our beds and borders, knit together trees and shrubs, provide a "picture frame" for sculpture and other structures, and unify our plantings. We all know the big three—Japanese pachysandra, English ivy, and periwinkle. These are the most commonly used groundcovers in the American garden, and they fit the bill well: They are easy to grow, rapidly spreading, inexpensive, and readily available, and they create dense, low carpets of attractive foliage that persist throughout the year and keep out most weeds.

However, there's a problem: Two of these plants are major invasive species. English ivy (Hedera helix) rapidly invades forests in the East and Northwest, creating "ivy deserts" that smother and displace native understory flora. Periwinkle (Vinca minor) is also a common and harmful invader of U.S. forests. Scott Arboretum in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, where I work, we have "blacklisted" both these plants and no longer recommend them to our visitors. What we do recommend is that gardeners replace their invasive exotic groundcovers with one or more of our very fine native groundcovers. These natives possess many or all of the traits that gardeners look for in a groundcover. And because they are native, they enhance local biodiversity rather than present a threat to it.

I should say that by "native" I mean indigenous to specific geographical regions. The plants discussed here are native to the eastern U.S. and generally hardy from USDA Zones 4 to 8. But they shouldn't be considered native plants in the South or West. What's more, just because they are eastern natives doesn't mean they will perform well in all situations there. Soil, moisture, and light all play key parts in determining a plant's success in the garden, whether it's a native or not.

Following is a selection of my favorite native herbaceous groundcovers, organized according to light requirements. There are many others I would profile if space allowed, including Carex plantaginea and native Asarum species (wild gingers). And of course there are excellent native woody groundcovers worth consideration, such as the petite Paxistima species. But the point is to highlight the fact that many wonderful native groundcovers are out there, waiting for you to discover them.


ICON Group International, Inc. The 2013 Import and Export Market for Seeds of Herbaceous Plant Cultivated Principally for Their Flowers in North America & the Caribbean
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Info on Talinum

2003-07-03 13:22:27 by pro

Information I gleaned from the USDA plant database: plants.usda.gov/index.html Enter Scientific Name as Talinum
Talinum Adans. - gives you all varieties and maps of where they are present - click on a map to get information for that variety
- Talinum calycinum or parviflorum - most common varieties present in the central states from Texas to Minnesota/Nebraska.
- all varieties native to U.S.
Some common names:
Fameflower
Sunbright
Jewels of Opar (not common but a cool name, no?)
- Herbaceous Perennial, Shrub or Subshrub
- Native to the United States
- Talinum calycinum had a botanical illustration which showed a rhizhome (like an iris)
- Purslane family like Lewisia and Portulaca
- I doubt it is invasive. As a...


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DALY: Use care when planting around septic drainfields  — Gwinnettdailypost.com
Shallow rooted annual and perennial herbaceous plants can be planted closer to the drain fields since they do not have invasive roots. Turfgrass can be grown over the drain field and is beneficial since it helps hold the soil in place.

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