Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra)
A native woodland perennial plant that enjoys growing in the shade of tall trees. The plant reaches a mature height of 1 1/2 feet and produces tiny white blooms in the spring and summer, then bright red fall berries. Plant seeds are inside the berries and can be harvested and planted, however, the seeds will not germinate for two years. The seeds must undergo two winters before they will germinate. Hardy in most USDA growing zones.
Note** All parts of the plant are poisonous, including the berries.
Solomons Seal (polygonatum biblorum)
This native shade lover is a close relative of Lily of the Valley. Solomon’s Seal produces hanging white blooms in early spring on long, arching stems that can reach lengths of up to 3-5 feet. The plant is a perennial that is most comfortable in natural woodland location or a shady rock garden. Once prized for use as a home remedy for minor skin abrasions and muscles aches, the plant is now primarily used to beautify shady landscape areas. Hardy is USDA growing zones 3-8.
Leatherwood (Dirca palustris)
A native shrub that grows in heavily wooded areas. Leatherwood is a deciduous shrub, has flexible branches and very tough bark. This native shade lover produces tiny yellow, fragrant flowers in spring before the leaves come out. Native shrub of Canada, but will thrive in any cool climate.
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triohyllum)
The bloom looks like a minister standing behind a pulpit ready to deliver a Sunday morning sermon.This shade lover’s native habitat is wetland marshes where the soil is constantly moist and cool. Unusual native wildflower can easily be grown in a shady, moist landscape area. Hardy in USDA growing zones 4 to 9.
Pennsylvania Sedge (Carex pensylvanica)
Native to Canada and the United States, Pennsylvania sedge is a ground covering grass that thrives in shaded areas that have dry soil. Blooms in May, followed by tiny colorful fruits. Plant is self-seeding and spreads rapidly. Hardy in USDA growing zone 3-8.