If you’re planning your landscape for color, beauty and food for the birds, try making native or adapted plants part of the picture. Here are some interesting plant options.
- Staghorn Sumac – from the Cashew family of plants, it turns bright scarlet in autumn and has small clusters of small red, one-seeded fruits. These make beautiful additions to dried flower arrangements. The dried leaves and roots have also been powdered and used in tanning and dying.
- Common Myrtle – an evergreen shrub with shiny leaves, small fragrant white flowers and aromatic black berries. The Myrtle was considered sacred to Venus and was used as a symbol of love.
- Huckleberry bush – found wild in areas of East Texas, this bush makes small blue-black edible berries that are good for cobblers and jelly. And birds love them.
- Bear-grass – from the yucca or agava family, it has grass-like foliage with white flowers.
- American Beauty Berry – sometimes called French Mulberry, it makes a row of bright purplish berries in the fall that birds love.
Doris Waits, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service