Trillium

In the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate to be home to a wide variety of plant species, rich in color, texture and local history.

 

Many of the northwest native plants we stock originate from the Willamette Valley, and often specifically from the Portland area. We also have some from east of the Cascades or southern Oregon that are prime candidates for a container or rock garden, bringing their own distinct personality to your yard or patio.

We have compiled a List of Northwest Natives that you are likely to find at the nursery at some time during the year. Note: it's a good idea to call for availability, for it can vary from year to year and even within a single season.


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When you see a northwest native plant with a name in single quotes attached, like Acer circinatum 'Pacific Fire', you know it is a cultivar. This means it was originally found occurring naturally in the wild, selected and propagated to maintain the distinct or desirable individual quality.

Cultivars are random or sporadically-found variations; they must be propagated vegetatively from divisions, cuttings, etc. in order to maintain their individual characteristics. A seed collected and grown from a cultivar will not necessarily produce the unique feature. A variety, by contrast, is a consistent variation of the original species, and is able to be propagated by seed.

Native plant variations that are selected to be propagated as named cultivars are done so for a variety of reasons potentially attractive to the home gardener: Garrya eliptica 'James Roof' has particularly long and showy catkins.

Acer circinatum 'Monroe' is shorter in stature and has more finely cut leaf structure, making it more suitable for containers and small gardens; the native Kinnickinnick cultivar 'Vancouver Jade' was found to be more tolerant of our wetter soils and demonstrates more vigorous growth in the west Cascades lowlands than the original species.

Since cultivars must be propagated by divisions or cuttings and don't "come true" from seed, the subsequent plants are clones, rather than offspring. Therefore, there is debate over whether or not cultivars can truly be considered "native."

Each gardener interested in using native plants has to decide for themselves where to draw these lines. There are solid arguments on both sides of the debate.