Focus on Natives

All around us are beautiful specimens of plants, both in the natural and in urban landscape. Many of the greatest treasures are plants that are growing naturally right outside your door. Here in Montana the autumn hills are spotted with the golden foliage of Larix occidentalis (Western Larch) and Populus tremuloides (Quaking Aspen) among the towering Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir), the riparian strips are filled with redleafed Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon Serviceberry) and Cornus sericea (Red Osier Dogwood), while in the summer months you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Montana’s native orchid, Cypripedium montanum. These spectacular plants are a few of the many Native species that have value to both the natural and urban landscapes.

What exactly are native plants? Native or indigenous species are those that originate from a certain geographical location and have evolved to specifically grow there. In North America, native species were the plants present before the arrival of European settlers. Through natural selection, these species had become highly adapted to the specific regional environmental and climatic conditions.Since these plants are naturally suited for growth in specific regions around the continent, there are many benefits to planting natives that are not obtained by planting introduced or exotic species.

Once established, native plants require little to no supplementary applications of pesticides, fertilizers, and water. Native plants are able to survive without supplementing staples needed by introduced species because they have adapted to grow in the regional conditions. Native plants may have modified organs that aid in nutrient and water uptake and storage.

So how do you go about finding native plant species to plant? This may not be as easy as finding a conventional landscape plant, but there are many resources. One way to find good species to use in your landscape is to take notice of plant species that are naturally occurring around you. Next time you are out for a hike or a walk in the woods look at the type of plants that are growing in your area, especially an area that is similar to your landscape. Though many species may survive in the same vicinity, some may be secluded to certain areas.

Different aspects of mountains have different micro-environments. The north and east exposures are generally cooler and damper than the south and west exposures on mountains in the northern hemisphere. The same is also true with elevation, different species occur at different elevations. This is especially apparent with native species of the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountains may seem like a relatively homogenous landscape feature in the middle of the country, but there are many different ecosystems and microclimates that are present throughout its vast expanse covering eleven U.S. states and Canadian provinces from New Mexico to Alaska.

The mountains are comprised of different zones with a corresponding variety of flora. The oldest and simplest method to distinguish separate floral zones is by elevation. For instance, the foothills of the Rocky Mountains are lower elevation shrublands bridging the prairies and the treed montane zones. This zone, though relatively similar in dominant species, has some variations from the southern U.S. foothills to those of the Canadian Rockies. Even within the elevation zones, there are different areas of exposure and moisture. A sample of native Rocky Mountain plants (see table front page) indicates the different flora of the different elevation zones, and how there are latitude differences among these zones as well.

Another way to classify plant distributions is by geographic areas, primarily latitudinal. Starting from the Boreal region in northern Canada, continuing south to the Central region, the Southern Region, and the Madrean Region in the southern U.S. Both ways of classifying the Rocky Mountains will group plants together according to similar environmental characteristics.

Besides your own observations of the surrounding environment, another useful tool to find native plants is your local extension office and your states’ native plant society. Most states, if not all, have native plant societies. These organizations provide valuable information about local native plant species. They also provide many organized outings, educational and volunteer opportunities, and additional resources to learn more about local native plants and the value they provide.

Native plants are an ideal solution for new plantings or landscape renovations, but remember that the trees in place still play a valuable role in enriching our lives. Be observant and cautious about what you plant.

Small sample of native tree and shrub species of the Rocky Mountains

Foothills (2,250-5,500 ft.)*
Southern US

  • Pinus edulis
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • Quercus gambelii
  • Cercocarpus montanus
  • Pinus ponderosa

Northern US

  • Acer grandidentatum
  • Amelanchier alnifolia
  • Cercocarpus sp.
  • Juniperus sp.
  • Prunus virginiana (shrubs)
  • Quercus sp. (driver slopes)
Mountain (5,500-9,000 ft.)*
Southern US

  • Arctostaphylos uva-urs
  • Cercocarpus montanus
  • Juniperus communis
  • Pinus flexilis
  • Sambucus racemosa
  • Purshia tridentata

Northern US

  • Abies concolor
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Cornus sericea
  • Juniperus communis
Subalpine (9,000-11,000 ft.)*

  • Juniperus communis
  • Picea engelmannii
  • Pinus albicaulis
  • Pinus flexilis
  • Shepherdia canadensis

*elevation ranges listed are generalities subject to change upon latitude

Natives by Region

Scientific Name Common Name Native Range Category Form Zone Wildlife Drought Wet Alkaline Sweating Salt
ARCOTOSTAPHYLUS UVA-URSI Kinnikinnick or Bearberry North America Broadleaf Shrub
2
x
x
CORNUS CANADENSIS Bunchberry North America broadeaf shrub
2
x
CORNUS SERICEA Red Osier Dogwood North America broadeaf shrub
2
x
x
x
x
x
LONICERA INVOLUCRATA Twinberry North America broadeaf shrub
4
x
x
POPULUS TREMULOIDES Quaking Aspen North America broadeaf tree
2
x
x
ROBINIA PSUEDOACCACIA Black Locust North America broadeaf tree
3
x
x
x
x
ROSA ACICULARIS Prickly Rose North America broadeaf shrub
2
x
x
SALIX ERIOCEPHALA

Diamond Willow North America broadeaf large shrub small tree
3
x
x
x
SYMPHORICARPOS ALBUS Snowberry North America broadeaf shrub
3
x
x
x
x
VIBURNUM TRILOBUM American Cranberry Bush North America broadeaf shrub
2
x
x
JUNIPERUS COMMUNIS Common Juniper North America conifer large shrub small tree
4
x
xx
x
x
x
LARIX LARICINA American Larch North America conifer tree
4
xx
PICEA GLAUCA White Spruce North America conifer tree
3
x
xx
x
PINUS BANKSIANA Jack Pine North America conifer tree
2
x
xx
ACER CIRCINATUM Vine Maple Pacific Northwest broadeaf large shrub small tree
5
x
ACER MACROPHYLLUM Bigleaf Maple Pacific Northwest broadeaf tree
5
x
ALNUS RUBRA Red Alder Pacific Northwest broadeaf tree
4
x
BETULA NEOALASKA Yukon White Birch Pacific Northwest broadeaf tree
1
x
BETULA OCCIDENTALIS Water Birch Pacific Northwest broadeaf tree
4
x
 
CORNUS NUTTALLII Pacific Dogwood Pacific Northwest broadeaf tree
6
x
CRATAEGUS COLUMBIANA Columbia Hawthorn Pacific Northwest broadeaf large shrub small tree
3
x
x
x
x
FRAXINUS LATIFOLIA

Oregon Ash Pacific Northwest broadeaf tree
6
x
GAULTHERIA SHALLON

Salal

Pacific

Pacific Northwest broadeaf shrub
5
MAHONIA AQUIFOLIUM

Oregon Holly Grape Pacific Northwest broadeaf shrub
4
x
x
MAHONIA NERVOSA

Cascades Mahonia Pacific Northwest broadeaf shrub
6
x
MALUS FUSCA

Pacific or Oregon Crabapple Pacific Northwest broadeaf large shrub small tree
6
x
x
x
OEMIERIA CERASIFORMIS

Indian Plum, Osoberry Pacific Northwest broadeaf large shrub small tree
6
x
x
x
PHYSOCARPUS CAPITATUS

Pacific Ninebark Pacific Northwest broadeaf large shrub small tree
5
x
SAMBUCUS MELANOCARPA

Blackbead Elderberry Pacific Northwest broadeaf tree
6
x
SYMPHORICARPOS OCCIDENTALIS Wolfberry, Western Snowberry Pacific Northwest broadeaf shrub
6
x
x
 
XEROPHYLLUM TENAX Bear Grass

Pacific

Pacific Northwest broadeaf shrub
5
x
x
ABIES GRANDIS

Grand Fir

Pacific

Pacific Northwest connifer tree
4
x
x
ABIES MAGNIFICA ‘SHASTENS’

Shasta Red Fir Pacific Northwest connifer tree
6
x
x
ABIES PROCERA

Noble Fir Pacific Northwest connifer tree
5
x
x
CALOCEDRUS DECURRENS

Incense Cedar Pacific Northwest connifer tree
5
CHAMAECYPARIS LAWSONIANA

Port Orford Cedar Pacific Northwest connifer tree
5
x
PSEUDOTSUGA MENZIESII

West Coast Douglas Fir Pacific Northwest connifer tree
6
SEQUOIADENDRON GIGANTEUM

Giant Sequoia Pacific Northwest connifer tree
6
THUJA PLICATA

Western Red Cedar Pacific Northwest connifer tree
6
x
x
TSUGA HETEROPHYLLA

Western Hemlock Pacific Northwest connifer tree
4
TSUGA MERTENSIANA

Mountain Hemlock Pacific Northwest connifer tree
5
ACER GLABRUM

Rocky Mountain Maple Pacific Northwest broadeaf large shrub small tree
4
x
ACER GRANDIDENTATUM Big Tooth Maple Rocky Mountains broadeaf tree
3
x
x
AMELANCHIER ALNIFOLIA

Saskatoon Serviceberry Rocky Mountains broadeaf shrub
3
x
x
x
x
x
ARTEMISIA TRIDENTATA WYOMINGENSIS

Wyoming Big Sagebrush Rocky Mountains broadeaf shrub
4
x
x
x
CEANOTHUS SANGUINEUS

Red Stem Ceanothus or Wild Lilac Rocky Mountains broadeaf shrub
5
x
x
CERCOPARPUS LEDIFOLIUS Curlleaf Mountain Mahogany Rocky Mountains broadeaf shrub
3
x
x
x
CLEMATIS LIGUSTICIFOLIA

Western Virgin’s Bower Rocky Mountains

broadleaf vine
4
CRATAEGUS DOUGLASII M

Douglas Hawthorn

Rocky Mountains broadeaf large shrub small tree
4
x
x
x
x
MAHONIA REPENS Creeping Mahonia Rocky Mountains broadeaf shrub
4
x
x
PHILADELPHUS LEWISII Wild Mock Orange Rocky Mountains broadeaf shrub
4
x
x
PURSHIA TRIDENTATA

Antelope Bitterbrush Rocky Mountains broadeaf shrub
4
x
x
x
RIBES AUREUM

Golden Currant Rocky Mountains broadeaf shrub
2
x
ROSA NUTKANA

Nootka Rose Rocky Mountains broadeaf shrub
4
x
x
x
ROSA WOODSII

Woods Rose Rocky Mountains broadeaf shrub
3
x
x
SALIX SCOULERIANA

Scouler Willow Rocky Mountains broadeaf large shrub small tree
5
x
x
SYMPHORICARPOS OREOPHILUS

Mountain Snowberry Rocky Mountains

broadleaf shrub
6
x
x
x
ABIES CONCOLOR

White Fir Rocky Mountains connifer tree
4
x
x
ABIES LASIOCARPA Sub Alpine Fir Rocky Mountains connifer tree
3
x
x
ABIES LASIOCARPA ARIZONICA

Corkbark Fir Rocky Mountains connifer tree
5
x
x
JUNIPERUS OSTEOSPERMA

Utah Juniper Rocky Mountains connifer tree
5
x
xx
JUNIPERUS SCOPULORUM

Rocky Mountain Juniper Rocky Mountains connifer tree
4
x
xx
PICEA ENGELMANNII

Engelman Spruce Rocky Mountains connifer tree
2
x
PICEA GLAUCA DENSATA

Black Hills Spruce Rocky Mountains connifer tree
2
x
x
PICEA PUNGENS GLAUCA

Colorado Blue Spruce Rocky Mountains connifer tree
2
x
x
x
PINUS ARISTATA Bristlecone Pine Rocky Mountains connifer tree
5
x
x
PINUS CONTORTA LATIFOLIA Rocky Mtn. Lodgepole Pine Rocky Mountains connifer tree
4
x
xx
PINUS EDULIS Pinyon Nut Pine Rocky Mountains connifer tree
5
x
x
PINUS FLEXILIS

Limber Pine Rocky Mountains connifer tree
2
x
x
PINUS MONTICOLA Western White Pine Rocky Mountains connifer tree
5
x
PINUS PONDEROSA Western Yellow Pine Rocky Mountains connifer tree
4
x
xx
PINUS STROBIFORMIS

Southwestern White Pine Rocky Mountains connifer tree
4
x
x
PSEUDOTSUGA MENZIESII GLAUCA Blue Douglas Fir Rocky Mountains connifer tree
4
x
CELTIS OCCIDENTALIS Common Hackberry Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf tree
2
x
x
x
xx
CRATAEGUS COCCINOIDES Kansas Hawthorn Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf large shrub small tree
5
x
x
x
x
ELEAGNUS COMUTATA

Silverberry or Wolf Willow Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf tree
2
x
PRUNUS ANGUSTIFOLIA Chickasaw Plum Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf large shrub small tree
6
x
x
x
PRUNUS BESSEYI

Sand Cherry, Hansen’s Bush Cherry Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf large shrub small tree
3
x
x
x
PRUNUS NIGRA ‘BOUNTY’

Bounty Plum Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf large shrub small tree
3
x
x
x
PRUNUS VIRGINIANA

Chokecherry Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf large shrub small tree
2
x
x
x
x
RHUS TRILOBATA Skunk Bush Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf shrub
2
x
x
SALIX EXIGUA Coyote Willow Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf large shrub small tree
2
x
x
x
SALIX INTERIOR

Sandbar Willow Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf shrub
2
x
x
x
SHEPHERDIA ARGENTEA

Silver Buffaloberry Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf shrub
2
x
x
YUCCA GLAUCA Great Plains Yucca Great Plains/ Prairies broadleaf large shrub small tree
3
xx

Natives by Region

Scientific Name Common Name Native Range Category Form Zone Wildlife Drought Wet Alkaline Sweating Salt
ACER NEGUNDO Box Elder or Manitoba Maple Eastern Forests Broadleaf tree
2
x
x
xx
ACER RUBRUM Red Maple Eastern Forests Broadleaf tree
3
x
xx
ACER SACCHARINUM Silver Maple Eastern Forests Broadleaf tree
3
x
x
ACER SACCHARUM Sugar Maple Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
3
x
AECULUS HIPPOCASTANUM Horsechestnut Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
3
x
AESCULUS PAVIA Red Buckeye Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
AMELANCHIER ARBOREA Downy Serviceberry Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
4
x
x
AMELANCHIER CANADENSIS Shadblow Serviceberry Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
3
x
xx
AMELANCHIER LAEVIS Alleghany Serviceberry Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
4
x
x
AMELANCHIER LAMARKI Lamarck Serviceberry Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
4
x
x
AMELANCHIER X GRANDIFLORA Apple Serviceberry Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
4
x
x
ARONIA MELANOCARPA Black Chokeberry Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
3
x
BETULA ALLEGHANIENSIS Yellow Birch Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
3
x
x
BETULA LENTA Sweet Birch Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
3
x
BETULA NIGRA River Birch Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
BETULA PAPYRIFERA Paper Birch Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
2
x
x
BETULA POPULIFOLIA Gray Birch Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
4
x
x
CALYCANTHUS FLORIDUS Spicebush Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
5
CASTANEA DENTATA Classic American Chestnut Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
5
x
x
 
CELASTRUS SCANDENS American Bittersweet Eastern Forests broadeaf vine
4
x
CERCIS CANADENSIS Redbud Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
x
CORNUS AMOMUM Silky Dogwood Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
4
x
x
x
CORNUS FLORIDA Flowering Dogwood Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
CORNUS RACEMOSA Gray Dogwood Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
4
x
CORYLUS AMERICANA

American Filbert Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
4
x
x
CORYLUS CORNUTA Beaked Hazelnut Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
4
x
x
CRATAEGUS ARNOLIDIANA Arnold Hawthorn Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
5
x
x
x
xx
CRATAEGUS CRUS-GALLI

Cockspur Hawthorn Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
4
x
x
x
xx
CRATAEGUS PHAENOPYRUM Washington Hawthorn Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
4
x
x
x
xx
DIERVILLA LONICERA Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
3
 
DIOSPYROS VIRGINIANA American Persimmon Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
5
x
x
x
FRAXINUS AMERICANA White Ash Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
3
x
x
xx
FRAXINUS NIGRA Black Ash Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
2
x
x
FRAXINUS PENNSYLVANICA Green Ash Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
2
x
x
x
CGLEDITSIA TRIACANTHOS ‘INERMIS’ Thornless Honey Locust Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
x
GYMNOCLADUS DIOICA

Kentucky Coffee Tree Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
x
x
HALESIA TETRAPTERA Carolina Silverbell Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
5
HAMAMELIS VERNALIS Vernal Witch Hazel Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
4
HAMAMELIS VIRGINIANA Common Witch Hazel Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
3
x
ILEX VERTICILLATA Witnerberry Holly Eastern Forests connifer shrub
3
x
x
JUGLANS CINEREA Butternut Eastern Forests connifer tree
3
x
JGLANS NIGRA Black Walnut Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
x
LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA Tulip Tree Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
MAMACLURA POMIFERA

Osage Orange Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
xx
x
MAMALUS CORONARIA American Crabapple Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
5
x
x
xx
PARTHENOCISSUS QUINQUEFOLIA Virginia Creeperc Eastern Forests broadeaf vine
3
x
x
PLATANUS OCCIDENTALIS American Sycamore Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
PRUNUS AMERICANA Native American Plum Eastern Forests broadleaf tree
3
x
x
x
PRUNUS PENSYLVANICA Pin Cherry Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
2
x
x
x
PRUNUS SEROTINA Black or Rum Cherry Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
3
x
x
x
x
x
QUERCUS ALBA White Oak Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
3
x
x
xx
QUERCUS BICOLOR Swamp White Oak Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
x
x
QUERCUS COCCINEA Scarlet Oak Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
x
QUERCUS ELLIPSOIDALIS Northern Pin Oak Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
x
QUERCUS MACROCARPA Burr Oak Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
3
x
xx
x
x
xx
QUERCUS PALUSTRIS Pin or Swamp Oak Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
x
QUERCUS PRINUS Chestnut Oak Eastern Forests broadleaf tree
5
x
x
x
QUERCUS RUBRA Northern Red Oak Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
4
x
x
xx
QUERCUS SHUMARDII Shumard Oak Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
5
x
x
x
x
RHUS GLABRA Smooth Sumac Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
2
x
x
RHUS TYPHINA Staghorn Sumac Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
3
x
x
x
x
ROSA CAROLINA Carolina Rose Eastern Forests broadleaf shrub
3
x
x
x
x
ROSA VIRGINIANA Virginia Rose Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
3
x
x
xx
RUBUS ODORATUS Fragrant Thimbleberry Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
4
x
SAMBUCUS CANADENSIS

American Elderberry Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
3
x
x
x
SYMPHORICARPOS ORBICULATUS Coral Berry or Indian Currant Eastern Forests broadeaf shrub
2
x
x
TILIA AMERICANA American Linden Eastern Forests broadleaf tree
3
x
x
ULMUS AMERICANA American Elm Eastern Forests broadeaf tree
2
x
x
VIBURNUM DENTATUM Arrowwood Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
2
x
x
x
VIBURNUM LENTAGO Nannyberry Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
2
x
x
x
VIBURNUM PRUNIFOLIUM Black Haw Eastern Forests broadeaf large shrub small tree
3
x
x
x
YUCCA FILAMENTOSA Adams Needle Yucca Eastern Forests broadleaf shrub
4
x
ABIES BALSAMEA Balsam Fir Eastern Forests connifer tree
3
x
x
ABIES BALSAMEA PHANEROLEPIS Caanan Fir Eastern Forests connifer tree
3
x
x
x
ABIES FRASERI Fraser Fir Eastern Forests connifer tree
5
x
x
JUNIPERUS VIRGINIANA Eastern Red Cedar Eastern Forests connifer tree
3
x
xx
x
PICEA RUBENS American Red Spruce Eastern Forests connifer tree
3
x
PINUS STROBUS Eastern White Pine Eastern Forests connifer tree
4
x
THUJA OCCIDENTALIS American Arborvitae Eastern Forests connifer tree
3
x
xx
x
TSUGA CANADENSIS Eastern Hemlock Eastern Forests connifer tree
5
x

Role of Region and Site in Native Plant Selection

The selection of suitable native plants for specific applications requires knowledge of a species ability to adapt to the site and excepted size and form. The native range provides the first indication of site adaptation. For example, even plants with extreme cold tolerance for Zone 2 may not survive in a warmer Zone 4 in the Great Plains climate. The continental climate of the Great Plains and Prairies is harsh with hot summers and cold winters where temperatures often drop suddenly with a blast of Arctic air. Many plants that can survive extremely cold temperatures are not adapted to these rapid changes.


Celtis occidentalis (Common Hackberry) is one of our best native trees this area and other harsh climates. It is suitable use as a street tree, is a source of food for songbirds and has low water demands. Similar in its drought tolerance and wildlife use is the Great Plains native shrub Punus besseyi (Sand Cherry). The glossy blue-green foliage, white blooms and sweet edible fruit make this native a useful ornamental for harsh sites. For ornamental value and drought resistance, Yucca glauca (Great Plains Yucca) is another extremely hardy native. These and other natives of the prairie landscapes provide some of the hardiest, cold and drought, selections for the landscape. No pampering required.

In addition to the full native range, regional variation in a species should be considered. Some species exhibit significant variation in hardiness between regional populations. or low elevation are killed by low winter temperatures or damaged by starting growth too early in the spring. Acer rubrum (Red Maple) and Psuedotsuga menziesii (Douglas Fir) are examples of a native plant with an extensive native range but great variation in cold tolerance between populations. Knowing the seed provenance, the location of the native population where the plant seed originated, is vital with these species.

At Lawyer Nursery we strive to provide our customers with hardy stock and are continually working to select the best seed provenance for our products. Notations of seed provenance can be found in the availability list for many species. Other native plants with a very limited native range still show wide adaptability. They can provide drought tolerance and pest resistance that makes them suitable for many locations. Three such natives of the west coast that have very small native ranges, but are widely adaptable are Calocedrus decurrens (Incense Cedar) , Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (Port Orford Cedar), and Sequioadendron giganteum (Giant Sequoia). All three are densely pyramidal trees with attractive fan-like foliage.


Although large trees in their native ranges, outside of their native range the mature size of these species is considerable smaller thus extending their usefulness in the landscape. alocedrus decurrens handles hot, dry conditions and poor soils with elegance. Pseudotsuga menziesii ‘Glauca’ cone.Chamaecyparis lawsoniana requires well drained soils.Grown in its natural form or sheared as a hedge, the blue-green foliage is outstanding. Sequoias bring to mind forest giants, but outside the native range they are uniformly pyramidal trees that can be used in relatively small spaces including residential landscape as well as park settings. Their naturally dense form can provide a formal look without any shearing. The species grows well in a wide range of soils and is pest free. Site specifics are important for selection of native species within their native range or beyond.

Two widely distributed native North American ground covers that can be found in the same geographical area provide an example. Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry) grows as a ground cover in cool moist sites with acid soils and partial sun. Nearby, a sunny site with infertile, sandy soil has a round cover of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick). Many native plants can provide cold and drought tolerance and wide soil adaptability while others are xtremely specific in the requirements. As with all plantings, the correct location will produce that healthiest plants and the fewest pest problems. See the tables above for additional selection information.

Urban Tolerance in Plants

Scientific Name Common Name
Zones
Compaction
Heat
Salt Tolerance
Drought Resistance
Pollution Tolerance
Fall Color
Comments
Abies Concolor
White Fir

3-7
Good
Good
Some
Some
Some
Evergreen
Most urban tolerant fir
Acer Campestre
Hedge Maple

4-8
Good
Some
No
Good
Good
Yellow
A good street tree.
Acer ginnala
Amur Maple

2-7
Some
Some
Some
Good
Good
Blaze orange
Species noted for cold tolerance.
Acer platanoides
Norway Maple

3-7
Good
No
Some
Good
Good
Yellow
pH adaptable and hardy
Acer rubrum
Red Maple

4-8
Some
Good
No
No
Excellent
Red
Suffers in high pH soils.
Acer saccharinum
Silver Maple

3-9
Some
Some
Some
Some
Good
Yellow
Very tolerant of poor/degraded soils if pH below 7.2
Celtis occidentalis
Common Hackberry

3-9
Good
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Yellow
Grows well in narrow parking strips without heaving concrete.
Crataegus crus-galli
Cockspur Hawthorn

3-7
Some
Good
Some
Good
Excellent
Bronze-red
Tolerates dirt and grime of cities.
Diospyros viginiana
Common Persimmon

4-9
Some
Good
Some
Excellent
Good
Reddish-purple
Excellent for naturalizing on degraded sites, mine spoils etc.
Elaeagnus angustifo
Russian Olive

2-7
Good
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
None
Good-silver green foliage effect. Attracts birds.
Fraxinus americana

White Ash

3-9
Good
Good
Some
Some
Good
Yellow
A good tree for parks and large rec areas.
Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo

3-9
Some
Excellent
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Brilliant Yellow
Excellent city tree. Pest and disease free! A living fossil.
Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Inermis’

Thornless Honeylocust

3-9
Good
Excellent
Excellent
Good
Fair
Yellow-green
Filtered shade allows for underplanting. No fall leaf raking
Gymnocladis diocus
Kentucky Coffee Tree

3-8
Some
Fair
Good
Fair
Good
Poor
Fascinating Foliage effect. Fast growing
Juglans nigra

Black Walnut

4-9
Some
Fair
Good
Fair
Fair
Yellow
Wood highly prized in lumber industy.
Keolreutaria paniculata

Golden Raintree

4b-9
Some
Good
Fair
Fair
Excellent
Yellow
Spectacular flowering tree for city conditions.
Phellodendron amurence

Amure Corktree

3-8
Some
Fair
Fair
Fair
Excellent
Bronze-yellow
A great city tree. A pest free speci
Pinus nigra

Austrian Pine

4-7
Good
Fair
Good
Fair
Good
Evergreen
A good tree for parks and large rec areas.
Pinus ponderosa

Ponderosa Pine

3-7
Some
Fair
Good
Good
Good
Evergreen
Very useful for reclamtion and shelterbelts. Grows well in poor soils
Pinus strobus

Eastern White Pine

3-8
Some
Fair
Good
Good
Good
Evergreen
Suitable for hedging. Suffers in high pH soils.
Platanus x acerifolia

London Planetree

4-8
Some
Fair
Some
Good
Excellent
Dark Yellow
Very Tolerant of smoke and grime
Populus x canadensis ‘imperial’

Carolina Poplar

4-8
Good
Good
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Yellow
Excellent for shelter belts,reclamation, wet sites. Very Fast Growth
Populus deltoides ‘Siouxland’

Siouxland Poplar

3-9
Good
Excellent
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Yellow
Great for bank containment, reclamation, wind breaks, large properties.
Pyrus calleryana ‘Aristocrat’

Aristocrat Flowering Pear

4b-9
Some
Good
Some
Fair
Excellent
Orange to scarlet
Makes a wonderful street-side planting.
Quercus macrocarpa

Burr Oak

2-8
No
Good
Good
Good
Good
Yellow-brown
Tolerates city conditions better than most other oaks.
Quercus palustris

Pin Oak

4-8
Some
Fair
No
Fair
Good
Bronze to red
High resistence to SO2. Good for wet sites. Not for alkaline soils.
Quercus rubra

Red Oak

4-8
Some
Good
Some
Fair
Good
Brilliant red
Makes a good street tree. Not for Alkaline soils.
Rhus typhina

Staghorn Sumac

2-9
Fair
Excellent
Some
Good
Good
Blaze-orange
Plant in front of tall evergreens for best effect. Supurb fall color!
Robinia pseudoacacia

Black Locust

3-8
Fair
Excellent
Excellent
Good
Good
Yellow-green
Wonderful for degraded sites! Mine reclamation, restoration. Fragrant flowers.
Rosa rugosa

Saltspray Rose

1-8
Some
Excellent
Excellent
Good
Good
Orange to red
Tolerates extreme cold. Thrives in beach conditions. Naturalizes easily.
Thuja occidentalis

American Arborvitae

2-8
Good
Good
Fair
Good
Excellent
Evergreen
Flood tolerant. Good background for fall color plants.
Tilia cordata

Little Leaf Linden

3-7
Fair
Excellent
Fair
Good
Good
Reddish-purple
Good street tree. Flowers not showy but fragrant. pH tolerant.
Ulmus parviflora

Chinese Elm

4-9
Fair
Good
Fair
Good
Good
Reddish-purple
Beautiful mottled bark. Tolerates extremes of pH and soil.
Zelkova serrata

Japanese Zelkova

5-8
Good
Excellent
Fair
Good
Good
Yellow-orange
Good for lawns, residential streets and parks