Native Plants in Bryan Park

There are many native plants to be found in Bryan Park, from tiny little bluets to towering oaks. These plants provide food and cover for all the wildlife found here, and form the basis of a rich ecosystem. Not only are native plants adapted to survive in our local climate and geography, but over the eons they have formed complex relationships with local wildlife.

Most songbirds need insects to feed their young, and most insects will only eat the plants they evolved to eat. One of the best foods for baby birds is caterpillars, but caterpillars won’t eat nonnative plants; they will only eat their host plants. Studies have shown it takes 6000 to 9000 caterpillars to raise just one clutch of tiny chickadees - that’s a lot of caterpillars!

As well as playing a vital role in providing food and shelter for our wildlife, native plants are better adapted to local environmental conditions, needing less watering and other maintenance. They have long, deep root systems that hold soil in place and mitigate damage from floods and drought, as well as helping to filter rainwater. There is no need for fertilizers or pesticides, as they are more resistant to insects and disease.

You can find many native plants in the three native plant gardens maintained by the Riverine Master Naturalists on the north edge of the park. Here is a partial list:

Golden-alexanders - Zizia aurea

Common Yarrow - Achillea millefolium

Wild Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis

Yellow Wild Indigo - Baptisia tinctoria

Milkweeds - Asclepias

Joe-pye-weed - Eutrochium

Sunflowers - Helianthus

Beebalms - Monarda

Woodland Phlox - Phlox divaricata

Mountain Mints - Pycnanthemum

Coneflowers - Rudbeckia

Wild Senna - Senna marilandica

Goldenrods - Solidago

Asters - Symphyotrichum

Spiderwort - Tradescantia virginiana

Splitbeard Bluestem - Andropogon ternarius

Red Chokeberry - Aronia arbutifolia

American Hazelnut - Corylus americana

There are also many naturally occurring native plants in Bryan Park. Most of our trees are native, including numerous large oaks, loblolly pines, hickories, tulip poplars and American holly, with an understory of dogwood and native shrubs. Near the pond edges you will find elderberry, box elders and bald cypress. Other wild grown natives include:

Arrow-wood - Viburnum dentatum

Spotted Wintergreen - Chimaphila maculata

Pussytoes - Antennaria plantaginifolia

Wild Azalea - Rhododendron periclymenoides

Maryland Golden-asters - Chrysopsis mariana

Black Raspberry - Rubus occidentalis

Poison Ivy - Toxicodendron radicans

Virginia Creeper - Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Trumpet Vine - Campsis radicans

Spring Beauties - Claytonia virginica

Wild Strawberry - Fragaria virginiana

Common Bluets - Houstonia caerulea

Evening Primrose - Oenothera biennis

Pickerelweed - Pontederia cordata

Solomon’s Seal - Polygonatum biflorum

Lizard’s Tail - Saururus cernuus

Strawberry Bush - Euonymus americanus

Deerberry - Vaccinium stamineum

Carolina Elephant’s Foot - Elephantopus carolinianus

Devil’s Walking Stick - Aralia spinosa

Passionflower - Passiflora incarnata