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Native Ontario plant species for wetlands and adjacent habitats.

Do not remove plants from the wild. Mike Oldham of the Natural Heritage Information Centre writes that "planting rare native species for wildflower gardens can create problems such as pressure on native populations, introduction of foreign genetic material to Ontario, hybridization with native plants, introduced populations spreading to native habitats and the introduction of pathogens to native plants."

To help preserve native plant species, some nurseries will assist wetland restoration programmes by growing plants with seed collected from local genetic stocks.  

When planting vegetation in and around your pond, one should consider using plant species that are native to your area. These species will be best adapted to local climate, moisture, pH and soil conditions. Following is a brief list of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants native to Ontario. For more information consult "The Ontario Naturalized Garden" by Lorraine Johnson.

A. Floating Plants

1. Plants suitable for ponds and wet meadows.

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Water lily
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Vallisneria: Submergent plants provide cover and add oxygen to the water.

Duckweeds
          (Lemna minor)
          (Lemna trisula)
          (Spirodela polyrhiza)

B. Deep water species (50-150 cm deep)

Bladderwort
          (Utricularia vulgaris)

Bulrush
          (Scirpus validus)

Canada Waterweed
          (Anacharis canadensis)

Coontail
          (Ceratophyllum demersum)

False Loosestrife
          (Ludwigia palustris var. americana)

Pondweeds
          (Potamogeton spp.)

Yellow Spatterdock
          (Nuphar spp.)

Water buttercup
          (Ranunculus spp.)

Water-milfoil
          (Myriophyllum alterniflorum)

Water weed
          (Elodea canadensis)

White water lily
          (Nymphaea odorata)

Wild Celery or Tape grass
          (Vallisneria americana)

C. Shallow Water species (10-15 cm)
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Sagittaria
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Rushes grow in
wet meadows.

Arrowheads
          (Sagittaria latifolia
          (Sagittaria graminea)
          (Sagittaria rigida)
          13 other species

Broad-leaved cattail
          (Typha latifolia)

Buckbean
          (Menyanthes trifoliata)

Burreed
          (Sparganium)

Cranberry
          (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
          (acidic soils only)

Large Blue Flag
          (Iris versicolor)

Marsh Cinquefoil
          (Potentilla palustris)

Pickerel weed
          (Pontederia cordata)

Rush, Soft
          (Juncus effusus)

Spikerush
          (Eleocharis spp.)

Sweetflag
          (Acorus calamus)

Three Square
          (Scirpus americanus)

Water arum
          (Calla palustris)

Water plantain
          (Alisma triviale)

D. Herbaceous Plants for Wet Soil

Most of these are happy with a spring flood time. Many of them will live in or out of water as long as the soil does not dry out for any length of time.

American speedwell
          (Veronica scutellata)
          (Veronica anagallis-aquatica)
          (Veronica americana)

Arrow arum or tuckahoe
          (Peltandra virginica)

Beggar ticks
          (Bidens tripartita)

Boneset
          (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Bur marigolds
          (Bidens laevis)

Canada anemone
          (Anemone canadensis)

Canada holly or winterberry
          (Ilex verticillata)

Canada lily
          (Lilium canadense)

Cardinal flower
          (Lobelia cardinalis)

False dragon head
          (Physostegia virginiana)

Flat topped aster
          (Aster umbellatus)

Fern, Cinnamon
          (Osmunda cinnamonea)

Fern, Royal
          (Osmunda regalis)

Gentian, Bottled or Closed
          (Gentiana andrewsii)

Gentian, Fringed
          (Gentiana crinita)

Grass of Parnassus
          (Parnassia glauca)

Great blue lobelia
          (Lobelia siphilitia)

Green dragon
          (Arisaema dracontium)

Jack-in-the-pulpit
          (Arisaema triphyllum)

Joe Pyeweed
          (Eupatorium maculatum)

Marsh fern
          (Dryopteris thelypteris)

Marsh marigold/Cowslip
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Marsh Marigold

          (Caltha palustris)

Monkey flower
          (Mimulus ringens)
          (Mimulus alatus)

Narrow-leaved meadowsweet
          (Spiraea alba)

Northern bedstraw
          (Galium boreale)

Ostrich fern
          (Matteuccia strathiopteris)

Panicgrass
          (Panicum lanuginosum)

Primrose
          (Primula mistassinica)

Reed Canary grass
          (Phalaris arundinacea)

Sedges
          (Cyperaceae family)

Skunk cabbage
          (Symplocarpus foetidus)

Smartweed
          (Polygonum spp.)

Stargrass
          (Hypoxis hirsuta)

St. Johnswort
          (Hypericum virginicum)
          (Hypericum mutilum)

Swamp milkweed
          (Asclepias incarnata)

Swamp rose mallow
          (Hibiscus palustris)

Meadow-rue, Tall
          (Thalictrum polygamum)

Meadow-rue, Purple
          (Thalictrum dasycarpum)

Turtle head
          (Chelone glabra)

Violet (lance-leaved)
          (Viola lanceolata)

Water stargrass
          (Heteranthera dubia)

Wild calla
          (Calla palustris)

Yellow-eyed grasses
          (Xyris spp.)

Yellow loosestrife
          (Lysimachia terrestris)

Legend

Forest regions

G - Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Valley
D - Deciduous Forest (Carolinian Forest)
B - Boreal Forest

Moisture

A - All (wet, moist, dry)
M - Moist
D - Dry
W - Wet

Soil types

B - Broad range of Tolerance
P - Peat
C - Clay
S - Sand
L - Loam

Wildlife

Plants were only marked if they attracted butterflies, hummingbirds and/or seed eating birds. It should be remembered that all native species provide food/shelter for animals. Anyone of the plants in the list would provide wildlife habitat in your backyard.

B - Attracts butterflies
S - Attracts seed eating birds
H - Attracts hummingbirds

Note: The subsequent highlighted plants are found in or along the shorelines of wetlands.

2. Trees

A. Conifers Region Moisture Soil Wildlife
Balsam fir
          (Abies balsamea)
G WM SL -
Cedar, Eastern red
          (Juniperus virginiana)
GD MD CS -
Cedar, White
          (Thuja occidentalis)
GDB M CS -
Eastern Hemlock
          (Tsuga canadensis)
GD WM - -
Pine, Eastern White
          (Pinus strobus)
GDB A CS S
Pine, Red
          (Pinus resinosa)
G MD SL -
Spruce, Black
          (Picea mariana)
B A - -
Spruce, White
          (Picea glauca)
GDB MD CLS S
Tamarack
          (Larix laricina)
GDB A - -
 
B. Broadleaf Trees Region Moisture Soil Wildlife
Ash, American mountain
          (Sorbus americana)
GDB MD - -
Ash, Black
          (Fraxinus nigra)
GDB A - -
Ash, Red
          (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)
GDB - - -
Aspen, Bigtooth
          (Populus grandidentata)
- - - -
Aspen, Trembling
          (Populus tremuloides)
          (Populus balsamifera)
          (Populus deltoides)
GDB - - -
Butternut
          (Juglans cinerea)
GDB MD - -
Cherry, Black
          (Prunus serotina)
GD- MD - -
Cherry, Choke
          (Prunus virginiana)
- A - S
Cherry, Pin
          (Prunus pensylvanica)
D MD - B
Crabapples
          (Malus coronaria)
MD - L -
Elm, Rock
          (Ulmus thomasi)
DG W L -
Elm, Slippery
          (Ulmus rubra)
DG - - -
Elm, White
          (Ulmus americana)
DG W L -
Hackberry
          (Celtis occidentalis)
GD A B -
Honey-Locust
          (Gleditsia triacanthos)
G - - -
Hop-Hornbeam
          (Ostrya virginiana)
DG D - -
Maple, Manitoba
          (Acer negundo)
G - - -
Maple, Red
          (Acer rubrum)
GDB WM SL -
Maple, Silver
          (Acer saccharinum)
GD M B -
Oak, Bur
          (Quercus macrocarpa)
GDB MD B -
Oak, Swamp White
          (Quercus bicolor)
GD WM CS -
Oak, White
          (Quercus alba)
GD M SL -
Red mulberry
          (Morus rubra)
D WM L -
Serviceberry, Alleghany
          (Amelanchier laevis)
- MD - -
Serviceberry, Shadblow
          (Amelanchier canadensis)
GB WM - -
Serviceberry, Shadbush or Downy
          (Amelanchier arborea)
GB MD - -
Shagbark hickory
          (Carya ovata)
GD MD - -
White birch
          (Betula papyrifera)
- - - -
 

3. Small trees & shrubs

A. Conifers Region Moisture Soil Wildlife
Alder
          (Alnus rugosa)
GDB - - -
American yew
          (Taxus canadensis)
GDB MD - -
Black-fruited choke-berry
          (Aronia melanocarpa)
GB - -
Black Rasberry
          (Rubus occidentalis)
GD MD - S
Common blackberry
          (Rubus allegheniensis)
GDB - - B
Common Elder
          (Sambucus canadensis)
GDB A - S
Eastern Red Cedar
          (Juniperus virginiana)
DG D S -
Hawthorn
          (Crataegus spp.)
GDB A B -
Hazelnut, American
          (Corylus americana)
GD M - -
Hazelnut, Beaked
          (Corylus cornuta)
GDB M - -
Nannyberry
          (Viburnum lentago)
GDB MD B -
Ninebark
          (Physocarpus opulifolius)
GDB MD B -
Red Osier dogwood
          (Cornus stolonifera)
GDB WM B -
Rose, Pasture
          (Rosa carolina)
GD D - -
Rose, Prickly
          (Rosa acicularis)
GB - - -
Rose, Smooth
          (Rosa blanda)
GB - SB -
Rose, Swamp
          (Rosa palustris)
G W - -
Sandbar Willow
          (Salix exigua)
GDB WM - -
Southern arrow-wood
          (Viburnum dentatum)
D - - -
Staghorn sumac
          (Rhus typhina)
GD MD - B
Winterberry holly
          (Ilex verticillata)
- WM - -
 

4. Vines and ground cover

Plant Region Moisture Soil Wildlife
Bearberry
          (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
_ D S -
Bittersweet
          (Celastrus scandens)
- MD B -
Bristly catbrier
          (Smilax tamnoides)
G - - -
Button Bush
          (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
- WM - -
Bunchberry
          (Cornus canadensis)
- M - -
Partridgeberry
          (Mitchella repens)
- - - -
Riverbank Grape
          (Vitis riparia)
- - - -
Round-leaved greenbrier
          (Smilax rotundifolia)
D - - -
Trumpet creeper
          (Campsis radicans)
D WM CL H
Virginia creeper
          (Parthenocissus vitacea)
- MD B -
 

5. Herbaceous plants

Plant Region Moisture Soil Wildlife
Aster
          (Aster spp.)
GDB MD B SB
Bergamot, Wild
          (Monarda fistulosa)
- MD - B
Black-Eyed Susans
          (Rudbeckia hirta)
GDB MD - B
Blazing stars, Rough
          (Liatris aspera)
- MD B B
Columbine
          (Aquilegia canadensis)
- M B H
Common Thistle
          (Cirsium spp.)
GDB - - B
Coreopsis
          (Coreopsis spp.
- - - SB
Dogbane
          (Apocynum spp.)
- MD - B
Evening Primrose
          (Oenothera biennis)
- MD - S
Goldenrod
          (Solidago spp.)
GDB MD S/B B
Lupine
          (Lupinus perennis)
- MD S B
Phlox
          (Phlox spp.)
GDB M L B
Scarlet bee balm
          Monarda didyma)
- WM - H
Spotted jewelweed
          (Impatiens biflora)
- WM - H
Sunflower
          (Helianthus spp.)
- MD/M W/LS S
Verbena
          (Verbena spp.)
- MD S B
Yarrow
          (Achillea millefolium)
- MD - B


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