Arrow Arum - Peltandra virginica
- Native perennial plant
- Large, arrowhead shaped leaves
- Leaves can be up to 18 inches long and 6 inches wide
- A white flower spike in a green sheath blooms in May to July
- The plant can grow up to 3 feet tall
- Grows in shallow and slow-moving fresh waters
- Marshes and swamps, on tidal flats, and along the edges of streams and rivers
- Large, dense colonies
- Rats, muskrats, wood ducks, and black ducks
- Arrow arum gets its name from its arrowhead-shaped leaves. It is also known as tuckahoe or duck corn.
- Some Native American tribes used dried, pulverized arrow arum roots as flour for making bread. The plant’s fruits were sometimes cooked and eaten like peas.
Eelgrass - Zostera marina
- Long, ribbon-like leaves
- Each leaf can grow to be 4 feet long
- Wide, tube-shaped sheath at the base of each leaf
- Grows in salty tidal waters of medium to high salinity
- Usuallu found in shallow, sandy areas
- Migratory waterfowl, food and habitat for blue crabs
- Part of its scientific name, Zostera, means “belt” in Greek. This refers to the plant's ribbon-like appearance.
Horned Pondweed - Zannichellia palustris
- Long, thread-like leaves that taper to a point at the tip
- Leaves can be up to 3 feet long
- Can grow upright or horizontal
- Grows in low to medium salinity tidal waters
- Usually found in shallow waters, but can be found in depths up to 16 feet deep
- Dies in early summer when temperatures rise
- Horned pondweed is usually the first bay grass species to appear each spring.
Hydrilla - Hydrilla verticillata
- Long, freely branching stems with tiny, straight or lace-shapped leaves
- Leaves grow in whorls of 4 or 5 along each stem
- Tiny, white flowers appear in late summer
- Grows in fresh water, but has been found in brakish water
- Does not need as much light as other bay grasses
- It is considered by some to be a nuisance because it can block boating channels and limit water sports
- Hydrilla has become an excellent habitat for fishes, particularly largemouth bass
Phragmites - Phragmites australis
- Non-native, invasive perennial plant that grows in wetlands, along roadsides and shorelines
- Feathery seed plumes at the top of tall, stiff stems
- Young plants have purpleish-brown seed plumes that turn tan or whitish as the plant matures
- Sheath-like leaves that grow 2 feet long and taper to a point at the tip
- Coloring is gray-green during the growing season
- Can grow to 15 feet tall
- Grows in fresh and brackish wetlands and along river banks and shorelines
- Common in disturbed areas such as dtches and dredged areas
- Not native; nothing eats me
- Phragmites comes from the Greek word Phragma meaning “fence." They are also known as common reed or reed grass.
- They were introduced to the United States in the 19th century when ships from Eurasia inadvertently carried phragmites seeds in their ballast. Although there is a type of phragmites that is native to the U.S., it is very rare.
Shoal Grass - Holodule wrightii
- Resembles land grass with stiff, green, strap-shaped blades
- Can grow up to 13 inches long
- Produces egg-shaped fruits taht are about 2 millimeters in size
- Usually found in water up to 40 feet deep
- Able to withstand long exposure to low-tide conditions
- Nothing, but habitat desruction is killing me
- Shoal grass is known as a pioneer species, colonizing areas that are too shallow for other species to thrive in or on banks that have been damaged.
- Because shoal grass sequesters carbon, it plays a major role in counteracting ocean acidification.
Water Chestnut - Trapa natans
- Triangular or diamond shaped leaves form roettes that flot on the water's surface
- A shiny upper side and fine hairs underneath
- Tiny, white flowers bloom in June or July
- Hard, greenish-brown fruits with four sharp spikes are attached to the plant's underside in spring and early summer
- Grows in muddy, fine-grained sediments in slow-moving fresh and brackish rivers
- Not native, so I am not tasty to anyone
- It is believed that water chestnut was introduced in the mid-1800s for ornamental use in ponds.
- Water chestnut is considered to be invasive because it blocks sunlight from reaching bay grasses and can impede boat navigation. The plant’s sharp, spiky fruits are dangerous to humans swimming or walking on beaches.
Atlantic White Cedar - Chamaecyparis thyoides
- Fan-like sprays of scaly, flattened, green or bluish-green leaves
- Young trees have needle-like leaves
- The tree tapers to a point giving it a cone-like shape
- It has small, rounded, light blue cones and tiny, green or reddish-yellow flowers that appear in March-April
- Reddish-brown bark
- Can grow to 75 feet
- Forms dense stands in low, wet areas including freshwater marshes, swamps, river banks, and wet woods
- Songbirds and white-tailed deer
- Although it is called a cedar, the Atlantic white cedar is actually a cypress.
- White cedar charcoal was used to make gunpowder during the Revolutionary War.
Loblolly Pine - Pinus taeda
- Long, thin, dark green or greenish-yellow needles that grow in bundles
- Brwn, oval cones grow from 3 to 6 inches
- Dark Brown or brownish-red bark that looks scaly in mature trees
- Will grow to 70 to 90 feet tall
- Grows in a variety of soils, from dry uplands areas, to poorly drained lowlands
- Common along the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal and wetland areas
- One of the first trees taht will colonize marshes and abandoned fields
- I might not be eaten, but I provide an important habitat for wildlife such as bald eagles!
- Early colonists boiled loblolly pine resin into pitch or tar to preserve wooden boats and ship riggings.
- Loblolly pines are considered the most commercially valuable type of wood in the southern United States. They are used for pulp, mulch and timber.
Paw Paw - Asimina triloba
- Long, pear-shaped leaves with pointed tops and fine, white hairs on top
- Rusty-colored hairs on the bottom
- Leaves turn yellow in autumn
- Small, maroon flowers with velvety petals bloom in April to May
- Yellowish-green, mango-like fruits grow from September to October
- Paw Paw trees grow to 35 feet tall
- Grows in small colonies in rich, moise areas such as river valleys and the understory of hardwood forests
- Raccoons, squirrels, and opossums
- Many Native American tribes ate paw paw fruits, mashing them to make small cakes or drying them in the sun to store for winter. They valued the tree so much that they spread it throughout much of the eastern U.S.
- The paw paw fruit is the largest edible fruit native to the United States. Fruits are sometimes referred to as Indian bananas or custard bananas.
Red Maple - Acer rubrum
- Medium to large deciduous tree named for its leaves, fruits, flowers, and twigs
- Smooth, gray bark that becomes scaly and dark gray as it ages
- Leaves are 2.5 to 4 inches in legth
- Leaves are grren in spring and summer; turning red and brown in fall
- Flowers are pinkish-red and drop in clusters
- Red maples reach na average height of 60 to 90 feet
- Grows well in poorly drained lowlands and in drier upland woodlands
- Tolerant to sunlight, but will also grow well in sunlight
- The quick-growing, hardy red maple is popular in landscaping and for timber production.
Sassafras - Sassafras albidum
- Bright grren, mitten-like leaves with 2 to 3 lobes
- Young leaves are reddish-pink and turn green as they grow
- Change to yellow, orange, or red in autumn
- Reddish-brown, deeply ridged bark
- Fragrant, greenish-yellow flowers bloom from April to June
- Sassafras can grow to 50 feet tall
- Grows in moist, open woods, often colonizing roadsides and abandoned fields
- Songbirds and small mammals such as squirrels
- Native Americans valued sassafras for its medicinal purposes, using parts of the tree to treat fever, diarrhea, measles, coughs, indigestion, nausea and colds.
- Sassafras heartwood is often used in boat construction because it is light and durable.
Black-eyed Susan - Rudbeckia hirta
- The flower of the black-eyed Susan has bright yellow petals and a brownish-black, dome-shaped center
- The flowers grow on stems with rough hairs
- Bloom in June to October
- The leaves can grow up to 6 inches
- Black-eyed susans grow up to 4 feet tall
- Grows in fields, meadows, and roadsides
- One of the first platns to appear in newly disturbed fields
- Prefers full sun
- The black-eyed Susan gets its name from its black center, or “eye.”
- State flower of Maryland
Purple Coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
- Large, lavendar flowers with a spiny, dome-shaped, orange or brown center
- The stems have small, rough hairs
- Flowers bloom in early summer; June to July
- Purple coneflower grows 1 to 3 feet tall
- Found in fields, rocky prairies, and open, wooded areas
- Grows in full or partial sun
- Bees, butterflies, and other insects
- The purple coneflower's scientific name comes from the Greek word echinos meaning hedgehog. This refers to the flower’s spiky, cone-shaped center.
- Echinacea, drawn from the coneflower plant, is used as a popular herbal tea. Studies have shown that echinacea may help boost the immune system and fend off infections.