Native Plant Recommendations

Trees
Shrubs

Vines and Ground Covers
Perennials: Flowering Plants
 
Perennials: Fern

List Alphabetized by Common Name
List Alphabetized by Scientific Name
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TREES                                Key to Light and Moisture Abbreviations

 NAME   

Light

Moisture 

Height   

Comments

Common  Scientific

Balsam fir   

Abies balsamea   

F,P   

 M   

 75'   

Open growth in hot, dry locations; evergreen

Red maple, Swamp maple   

Acer rubrum   

F,P   

 M   

 60'   

Excellent fall color; tolerates wet spring soils 

Sugar maple, Rock maple   

Acer saccharum   

F,P   

 M   

 75'   

Excellent orange-red fall color; beautiful large shade tree

Mountain maple   

Acer spicatum   

F,P   

 M   

 30'   

Useful in naturalizing

Yellow birch   

Betula alleghaniensis   

F,P   

 M   

 100'   

Does best in cool soils and cool summers; beautiful bark; long lived

Paper birch   

Betula papyrifera   

F   

 M   

 70'   

Beautiful white bark year-round; tolerates poor, dry soils

Gray birch   

Betula populifolia   

F   

 M   

 40'   

Does well in poor soils; good for naturalizing

American hornbeam, Blue-beech   

Carpinus caroliniana spp. virginiana   

F   

 M   

 30'   

Good for naturalizing; tolerates periodic flooding

Pagoda dogwood   

Cornus alternifolia   

F,P   

 M   

M 25'   

Moist soil is important; white flowers in early June

Cockspur thorn   

Crataegus crus-galli   

F   

 M   

 30'   

Glossy green leaves; 2" thorns; persistent dark red fruits

White ash   

Fraxinus americana   

F   

 M   

 80'   

Handsome large tree; good fall leaf color; tolerates alkaline soil

Green ash   

Fraxinus pennsylvanica   

F,P    

 M

 60'   

Faster-growing than white ash; tolerates salty, dry and alkaline soil

Larch, Hackmatack, Tamarack   

Larix laricina   

F   

 H,M   

 80''   

Good in well-drained and moist-to-wet naturalized sites

Black gum   

Nyssa sylvatica   

F,P   

 M   

 50'   

Excellent yellow-orange fall leaf color

American hophornbeam   

Ostrya virginiana   

F,P   

 M,S   

 40'   

Slow to establish after transplanting; good medium-sized tree

White spruce, Cat spruce   

Picea glauca   

F,P   

 M   

 60'   

Good specimen or windbreak; evergreen

Black spruce   

Picea mariana   

F,P   

 M   

 40'   

Tolerates wet sites; evergreen

Jack pine   

Pinus banksiana   

F   

 S,X   

 50'   

Useful for windbreaks or mass plantings in sandy soil; evergreen

Red pine, Norway pine   

Pinus resinosa   

F   

 S,X   

 80'   

Good windbreak; tolerates dry soils well; evergreen

White pine   

Pinus strobus   

F   

 M,S   

 80'   

Handsome specimen; not tolerant of salt; evergreen

Bigtooth aspen   

Populus grandidentata   

F   

 M,S   

 70'   

Fast growing, short lived; good yellow fall leaf color

Quaking aspen, Trembling aspen   

Populus tremuloides   

F   

 M   

 50'   

Fast growing, short lived; good yellow fall leaf color

Pin cherry, fire cherry, bird cherry   

Prunus pensylvanica   

F   

 M   

 35'   

Adaptable; fast growing; tolerates poor soil

Black cherry   

Prunus serotina   

F   

 M   

 60'   

Interesting black bark; white flowers in spring; wildlife food source

White oak   

Quercus alba   

F   

 M   

 80'   

Large tree; transplant when young

Northern red oak   

Quercus rubra   

F   

 M   

 75'   

Transplants readily; good fall red leaf color

Black willow   

Salix nigra   

F   

 H,M   

 35'   

Tolerates wet soils; twigs can cause lawn litter

American mountainash   

Sorbus americana   

F   

 M   

 30'   

Fruits good in wildlife landscape

Northern white-cedar, Arborvitae   

Thuja occidentalis   

F,P   

 M   

 60'   

Useful hedge or specimen plant; tolerates alkaline soil

Basswood, American linden   

Tilia americana   

F,P   

 M   

 80'   

Large tree; tolerates alkaline soil; good for urban landscape

Eastern hemlock   

Tsuga canadensis   

F,P,S   

M   

70'   

Graceful evergreen; does not tolerate drought or windy sites

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SHRUBS                                                                   Key to Light and Moisture Abbreviations

NAME     

Light

Moisture 

Height   

Comments

Common  Scientific

Downy serviceberry   

Amelanchier arborea   

F,P   

  M   

  25'   

Useful in edible and wildlife landscapes; excellent orange fall color

Eastern serviceberry   

Amelanchier canadensis   

F,P   

 M   

 20'   

Useful in edible and wildlife landscapes; yellow-gold fall color

Smooth serviceberry, Allegheny serviceberry   

Amelanchier laevis   

F,P   

 M   

 25'   

Useful in edible and wildlife landscapes; spring leaves are bronze

Bog rosemary   

Andromeda polifolia var. glaucophylla   

F,P   

 H   

 1'   

Leathery evergreen leaves; requires very moist acid soil

Buttonbush   

Cephalanthus occidentalis   

F   

 H   

 6'   

Good for wetland plantings

Sweetfern   

Comptonia peregrina   

F,P   

 S,X   

 3'   

Aromatic foliage; interesting texture; good in dry sandy soil

Gray dogwood   

Cornus racemosa   

F,P,S   

 M   

 15'   

Suckering; white fall fruits eaten by many birds 

Redosier dogwood   

Cornus sericea   

F   

 H,M   

 6’   

Red stems attractive in winter; suckering; tolerates wet soil

American hazelnut   

Corylus americana   

F,P   

 M   

 15'   

Good for naturalizing; fruit eaten by wildlife; tolerates alkaline soil

Bush-honeysuckle   

Diervilla lonicera   

S,P   

 M   

 5'   

Suckering plant, very hardy, adaptable

Leatherwood   

Dirca palustris   

S   

 M   

 4'   

Yellow fall color; thrives in moist, shady sites

Common witchhazel   

Hamamelis virginiana   

F,P   

 M   

 15'   

Avoid droughty sites; yellow flowers in October; yellow fall leaf color

Winterberry, Black-alder   

Ilex verticillata   

F,P   

 H,M   

 10'   

Bright red fruits persist into midwinter; excellent wetland plant

Common juniper   

Juniperus communis var. depressa   

F   

 M,S,X   

 3'   

Tolerates drought, wind, sterile or alkaline soils; evergreen

Sheep, Laurel, Lambkill   

Kalmia angustifolia   

F,P   

 M,S   

 3'   

Adaptable to many soils; best in very acid soil; good for naturalizing

Sweetgale   

Myrica gale   

F   

 S,X   

 4'   

Bushy plant; dark green foliage; aromatic foliage

Northern bayberry   

Myrica pensylvanica   

F,P   

 S,X   

 6'   

Good for massing; useful in poor soil sites; aromatic foliage

Bush cinquefoil   

Pentaphylloides floribunda (Potentilla fruticosa)   

F   

 M,S,X   

 4'   

Good summer-flowering shrub; tolerates alkaline soil

Black chokeberry   

Photinia (Aronia) melanocarpa   

F,P   

 H,M,S   

 6’   

Suckers; wine-red fall color; good wildlife plant in wet or dry soils

Beach plum   

Prunus maritima   

F   

 M,S   

 6'   

Good for edible landscape; salt-tolerant

Chokecherry   

Prunus virginiana   

F   

 M   

 30'   

Suckering shrub; white flowers in spring; wildlife food source

Rhodora   

Rhododendron canadense   

F,P   

 H,M   

 3'   

Magenta flowers in spring; best in very acid soil

Labrador tea   

Rhododendron (Ledum) groenlandicum   

F,P   

 H,M   

 3'   

Transplants well; good for moist-to-wet naturalized sites

Staghorn sumac   

Rhus hirta (R. typhina)   

P   

 M,S.X   

 25'   

Spreads by suckers; good mass plant for dry slopes

Meadow rose   

Rosa blanda   

F   

 M   

 5'   

Suckers; single light pink flowers; red hips in fall and winter

Pasture rose   

Rosa carolina   

F   

 M   

 5'   

Pink single flowers in midsummer; small red hips persist into winter

Virginia rose   

Rosa virginiana   

F   

 M,S   

 5'   

Suckers; good in dry and seaside sites; good barrier/hedge

Pussy willow   

Salix discolor   

S   

 H,M   

 15'   

Fuzzy flowers in early spring; good for naturalizing

American elder   

Sambucus canadensis   

F   

 M   

 12'   

Useful in edible landscape; tolerates alkaline soil

Scarlet elder   

Sambucus racemosa spp. pubens (S. pubens)   

F   

 M   

 20'   

Flowers in mid to late July; handsome red fruit in midsummer

Canadian yew   

Taxus canadensis   

P,S   

 M   

 6'   

Hardiest yew; good for naturalized shady landscape; evergreen

Highbush blueberry   

Vaccinium corymbosum   

F   

 M   

 8'   

Good for edible or wildlife landscapes; best in very acid soil

Mapleleaf viburnum   

Viburnum acerifolium   

P,S   

 M,S   

 6'   

Suckering; good for mass plantings in shady sites

Hobblebush   

Viburnum lantanoides (V. alnifolium)   

P,S   

 M   

 8'   

Open shrub; good for naturalized landscape

Arrowwood viburnum   

Viburnum dentatum var. lucidum   

F,P   

 M   

 15'   

Durable; good for hedges; tolerates alkaline soil

Nannyberry   

Viburnum lentago   

F,P   

 M,S   

 15'   

Good for wildlife and naturalized landscapes

Witherod, Wild-raisin   

Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides   

S,P   

 M   

 10'   

Excellent fall foliage and fruit color

Highbush cranberry   

V. opulus var. americanum (V. o. var. trilobum)   

F,P   

 M   

 12'   

Excellent for screening; good for wildlife landscapes

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VINES AND GROUND COVERS                          Key to Light and Moisture Abbreviations

 NAME   

Light

Moisture 

Height   

Comments

Common Scientific 

Running serviceberry   

Amelanchier stolonifera   

F,P   

  M   

  2’   

Stoloniferous groundcover; forms thickets

Bearberry   

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi   

F,P   

 S,X   

 6”   

Best in poor, sandy, very acid soils; salt-tolerant; groundcover

American bittersweet   

Celastrus scandens   

F,P   

 M,S   

 --   

Climbing vine; separate male and female plants; tolerates alkaline soil

Virgin’s bower   

Clematis virginiana   

F   

 M   

 --   

Climbing vine; white flowers in late summer; best in alkaline soil

Bunchberry   

Cornus canadensis   

P,S   

 M   

 6"   

Spreading groundcover; white flowers in spring; red fruit in fall

Checkerberry, Wintergreen   

Gaultheria procumbens   

P,S   

 M   

 6"   

Evergreen groundcover; leaves fragrant when crushed; reddish in fall

Creeping juniper   

Juniperus horizontalis   

F   

 M,S,X   

 1'   

Adaptable; tolerates hot, dry sites and alkaline soil; evergreen

Partridgeberry   

Mitchella repens   

S   

 M   

 2"   

Delicate plant; red fruits persist into winter

Woodbine, Virginia creeper   

Parthenocissus quinquefolia   

F,P,S   

 M,S,X   

 --   

Vigorous vine; tough; maroon fall color; tolerates alkaline soil

Lowbush blueberry   

Vaccinium angustifolium   

F   

 M   

 2'   

Slow; good for edible or wildlife landscapes; requires acid soil

Cranberry   

Vaccinium macrocarpon   

F   

 H,M   

 6"   

Slow; good for edible or wildlife landscapes; requires acid soil

Fox grape   

Vitis labrusca   

F   

 M   

 --   

Handsome foliage; good vine for arbors and fences

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PERENNIALS: FLOWERING PLANTS                Key to Light and Moisture Abbreviations

  NAME

Light

Moisture 

Height   

Comments

Common Scientific

White baneberry; Red baneberry   

Actaea pachypoda, A. rubra   

P,S   

  M   

  24"   

Attractive, but poisonous fruits

Columbine   

Aquilegia canadensis   

F,P,S   

 M,S   

 12"   

Early spring flowers

Spikenard   

Aralia racemosa   

P,S   

 M,S   

 36"   

Good for back of border

Silverweed   

Argentina anserina   

F   

 S,X   

 6"   

Yellow flowers, silvery leaves

Jack-in-the-pulpit   

Arisaema triphyllum   

P,S   

 H,M   

 12"   

Flower green and brown; bright red fruits

Milkweed   

Asclepias syriaca   

F   

 S,X   

 36"   

Attracts butterflies

Marsh marigold   

Caltha palustris   

F,P   

 H,M   

 12"   

Showy yellow flowers in early spring

Harebell   

Campanula rotundifolia   

F,P   

 M,S,X   

 12"   

Delicate blue-purple flowers

Blue cohosh   

Caulophyllum thalictroides   

P,S   

 M,S   

 36"   

Blue fruits; back of border

White turtlehead   

Chelone glabra   

P,S   

 H,M   

 24"   

Interesting white flowers in midsummer

Bluebead-lily   

Clintonia borealis   

P,S   

 M,S   

 12"   

Pale yellow ball-shaped flowers; fruits poisonous

Trout-lily, Dog’s-tooth-violet   

Erythronium americanum   

P,S   

 M   

 6"   

Flowers early spring

Joe-pye weed   

Eupatorium maculatum   

F   

 H,M   

 48"   

Purple flowers in fall; attracts butterflies; good for drying

Boneset   

Eupatorium perfoliatum   

F   

 H,M   

 24"   

Green flowers; good for drying

Blue flag   

Iris versicolor   

F,P   

 H,M   

 24"   

Elegant form; blue-purple flowers; easy to grow

Indian cucumber-root   

Medeola virginiana   

P,S   

 M   

 12"   

Interesting magenta floral bracts

Obedient plant   

Physostegia virginiana   

F,P,S   

 M,S,X   

 24"   

Flowers pink, leaves dark green; good cut flower

Solomon’s seal   

Polygonatum pubescens   

P,S   

 M   

 18"   

Arching stems; white flowers in early spring; tall groundcover for shade

Bloodroot   

Sanguinaria canadensis   

P,S   

 M   

 12"   

Showy white flowers in early spring

New England aster   

Symphyotrichum (Aster) novae-angliae   

F,P   

 M,S,X   

 24"   

Fall flowering; deep purple

New York aster   

Symphyotrichum (Aster) novi-belgii   

F,P   

 M,S,X   

 24"   

Fall flowering; purple

Foam flower   

Tiarella cordifolia   

P   

 M   

 6"   

Delicate white flowers in early spring

Wild-oats   

Uvularia sessilifolia   

P,S   

 M   

 6"   

Creamy, bell-shaped flowers in early spring

Violet   

Viola species   

P   

 M   

 2-6"   

Various species and colors; most self-sow to form groundcovers

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PERENNIALS: FERNS                                            Key to Light and Moisture Abbreviations

 NAME    

Light

Moisture 

Height   

Comments

Common Scientific

Maidenhair fern   

Adiantum pedatum   

P,S   

  M   

  18"   

Graceful black stem; nearly circular fronds; tolerates alkaline soil

Lady fern   

Athyrium filix-femina var. angustum   

P,S   

 H,M   

 18"   

Lacey fronds; reddish in spring

Hay-scented fern   

Dennstaedtia punctilobula   

F,P   

 S,X   

 12"   

Fragrant lacey fronds; tolerates hot, dry sites; spreading

Spinulose wood fern   

Dryopteris carthusiana   

P,S   

 M,S   

 24"   

Lacey fronds; reddish in spring

Marginal wood fern   

Dryopteris marginalis   

F,P   

 S,X   

 24"   

Easy to grow; fronds blue-green; tolerates rocky sites

Ostrich fern   

Matteuccia struthiopteris var. pensylvanica   

P,S   

 M 

 36"   

Edible fiddleheads; beautiful green fronds; plume-like fertile fronds

Sensitive fern   

Onoclea sensibilis   

F,P   

 H,M   

 12"   

Easy to grow; spreads; persistent bead-like fertile fronds in winter

Cinnamon fern   

Osmunda cinnamomea   

P,S   

 H,M   

 36"   

Easy to grow; attractive cinnamon-colored fertile frond in spring

Interrupted fern   

Osmunda claytoniana   

F,P,S   

 H,M,S,X   

 36"   

Easy to grow; spreads well; luxuriant spring growth 

Royal fern   

Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis   

F,P,S   

 H,M,S   

 36"   

Vase-shaped; interesting fertile fronds; sterile fronds finely dissected

Long beech fern   

Phegopteris connectilis   

P,S   

 M   

 6"   

Smaller size fern, low growing; spreads well

Christmas fern   

Polystichum acrostichoides   

P,S   

 M   

 12"   

Leathery, evergreen fronds

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The botanical names in this plant list are consistent with those found in:
Haines, A. and T.F. Vining. 1998. Flora of Maine: a Manual for Identification of Native and Naturalized Vascular Plants of Maine. Bar Harbor, ME: V.F. Thomas Co.

Back to Gardening to Conserve Maine's Native Landscape


By Lois Berg Stack, Extension ornamental horticulture specialist

For more information, contact your University of Maine Cooperative Extension county office.

Published and distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914, by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Land Grant University of the state of Maine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Cooperative Extension and other agencies of the U.S.D.A. provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.


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