Scientific name: Persicaria virginiana
Benefits: Seeds eaten by ducks, other birds and small animals
My parents had this plant in their back yard when I was a kid. I had no idea what it was back then, but when it went to seed, I would go back there, and pull on its long tails, stripping it of flowers (or seeds – I’m still not sure what I was stripping – probably the flowers). It was a relaxing fun thing to do in childhood. It spread pretty well, so I (hopefully), didn’t end up eradicating it.
Fast forward 30 years, and I’m staring down at the same plant. I rediscovered it in full bloom, growing in the shadiest, deepest section of the rain-garden in our back yard. This time, I didn’t strip it, I scoured the internet, and pestered the plant-ID Facebook groups to find its name, and to my joy, discovered it was the native!
I’m looking forward to watching it spread because it’s such an underrated native plant. As it matures, it produces rich green, and bushy leaves, and grows under the cover of trees. So, if you’re struggling to find a good shade-loving plant in a moderately wet location, this is for you!