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Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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Many of our beautiful songbirds are decreasing in numbers because of human impact on their habitat. Each of us can do something about this by providing wildlife habitat with year-round food, shelter and water on our property. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Wildscapes Program is one excellent source of information about how to do this in the Texas Hill Country. Texas Parks and Wildlife Wildscapes Program has now joined forces with a similar program of National Wildlife Federation to jointly certify backyard wildlife habitats.

Those who have purchased the book Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife by Damude and Bender can obtain a searchable index for the tables by sending an e-mail to nature@tpwd.state.tx.us.

The tables below list the bird-friendly native trees, shrubs and wildflowers planted by WBS in The Refuge. All of these plants do well in the Wimberley area.

Special thanks go to Dell and Gerin Hood for their expertise and leadership in this aspect of The Refuge project. Because of their efforts, in October 2008, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center established an online Special Collections database with all of the native plants we have identified on The Patsy Glenn Refuge. This valuable resource makes available the common and scientific names, complete information, and color photographs of each plant.

Native Trees and Shrubs planted in The Refuge
Common Name Habitat For Birds Comments
Arbutus xalapensis Madrone Afternoon shade until established, excellent drainage, moderate to low water The persistent 1/2" red sweetish berries are important winter food source for a number of species of birds and small animals. 20-30' & 1' diameter, evergreen, usually multi-trunked, deep water occasionally during dry periods, beautiful exfoliating bark turning from cream to peach to coral to Indian red to chocolate
Cercis canadensis var. texensis Texas redbud Full to half-day sun or filtered shade, good drainage, moderate to low water Bees come to the flowers and a number of species of birds eat the seeds which come from 3" beans. 10-20', single or multi-trunked, broad crown
Cornus drummondii Roughleaf dogwood Full sun to heavy shade, good to poor drainage At least 40 species feed on this tree. The clusters of white, sweet berries are a favorite food for song birds and are eaten quickly. Bushy and may form a thicket (by suckers) but can be pruned into an attractive small tree to about 20' or can be left to form a thicket; more fruit(if female) in 4 hours of direct sun; roots provide good erosion control
Eysenhardtia texana Kidneywood Part shade or full sun, well drained Butterflies love the flowers in fall. Bushy to 8', spires of white flowers very sweetly scented
Frangula caroliniana aka Rhamnus caroliniana Carolina buckthorn Full sun to dappled shade, good to moderately poor drainage Several species of birds love the 1/2" red to black berries. 12-20 feet, almost evergreen
Helianthus maximilianii Maximilian sunflower Part shade to full sun, well drained, taller if watered The seeds are loved by finches. The flowers are 3" across. 4-6', dormant in winter; in tall grasses is its natural habitat; blooms all at once in summer or fall up a stout stem
Ilex vomitoria Yaupon Shade to full sun, poor drainage okay The 1/4" red berries eaten by at least seven species of birds relatively late in winter when the fruits have fermented. 12-15', shrubby from base or prune to a tree
Lonicera sempervirens Coral honeysuckle Dappled shade, part shade, full sun; well drained The orange-red, plump, juicy fruits in large clusters attract a number of migrating birds in the fall. Vine to 10' or open shrub (if protected from the deer), drape over a wall or large shrub for support
Pistacia texana Texas pistache Full sun, good drainage, drought tolerant once established The small red to blue-black berries in 4-6" clusters loved by birds, if tree is female. Train to single trunk tree to 20', avoid mower damage, avoid overwatering, new leaves in spring are reddish, can be cut back by _ in mid-February to thicken it
Prunus mexicana Mexican plum Full, to half day, to dappled shade all day, good drainage The edible 3/4" purple plums are enjoyed by both many species of birds and mammals. To more than 15', fragrant clouds of white flowers in spring often buzzing with bees
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus Coral-berry Dappled shade, part shade, well drained, along streams and in canyons Bright purple-pink 1/8" berries persist throught the winter and the plant is almost evergreen. 1 1/2' usually, can get to 6', thicket (from stolons) forming under trees; cut it back by half in the winter once every 5 to 10 years if needed to keep it low
Viburnum rufidulum Rusty blackhaw viburnum Full sun to dappled shade, good drainage, moderate water Birds eat dark purple drupes (blackhaws) and the intensely white flowers attract many pollinators. 12-30', slow growing, often a woodland understory tree; with south or west sun and no pruning the branches will arch gracefully down to the ground

Wildflowers Planted in the Pocket Prairie at The Refuge
(A = annual; P = perennial; Bi = biannual)
Botanical Name Common Name Life Cycle
Coreopis tinctoria Plains coreopsis A
Coreopsis lanceolata* Lanceleaf coreopsis P
Echinacea angustifolia? Prairie coneflower ?
Rudbeckia amplexicaulis* Clasping coneflower ?
Engelmannia pinnatifida* Engelmann daisy P
Gaillardia pulchella* Indian blanket A
Gaura lindheimeri* White gaura P
Ipomopsis rubra* Standing cypress Bi
Liatris mucronata* Gayfeather P
Lupinus texensis* Texas bluebonnet A
Monarda citriodora* Lemon mint, Horsemint A
Oenothera macrocarpa* Missouri primrose P
Oenothera speciosa* Pink evening primrose P
Petalostemum purpurea* Purple prairie clover P
Ratibida columnaris* Mexican hat P
Rudbeckia hirta* Black-eyed susan P
Salvia farinacea* Mealy blue sage P
Salvia coccinea* Scarlet sage P
Thelesperma filifolium* Greenthread A

Wildflowers Planted in the Butterfly Garden at The Refuge
(A = annual; P = perennial; Bi = biannual)
Botanical Name Common Name Life Cycle
Agalinis edwardsiana Plateau agalinis A
Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly weed P
Bouteloua curtipendula Side oats grama P
Cassia fasciculata Partridge pea A
Castilleja indivisa Indian paintbrush A
Centaurea americana American basketflower A
Engelmannia pinnatifida Engelmann daisy P
Gaillardia pulchella Indian blanket A
Ipomopsis rubra Standing cypress Bi
Liatris mucronata Gayfeather P
Monarda citriodora Lemon mint, Horsemint A
Petalostemum purpurea Purple prairie clover P
Ratibida columnaris Mexican hat P
Rudbeckia hirta Black-eyed susan P
Verbena bipinnatifida Prairie verbena P

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