It's Marsh Madness!
Which Marsh Plant will Make it to the Top?
This year we are doing a March Madness-style competition among the common native plants we use to restore our marsh-like ecosystems. These native plants are our favorites and we want to know which one will come out on top as yours! They do the heavy lifting of our shoreline restorations, sending their deep roots into the soils to stabilize the shoreline and reduce erosion. They also provide an abundance of habitat and food for our wildlife. As an added bonus, they are beautiful! Visit us on Facebook or Instagram each week as we have them battle it out for top-dog native marsh plant! We'll include beautiful pictures and interesting information about each plant contender. Comment on your favorite or answer the polls in our social media "stories" to cast your vote. Each week we'll tally the votes and announce the marsh plant winner. At the end of all the show-downs if you picked the final favorite, you win! Several winners will receive NST shirts and pint glasses!

The Contenders!
Host Plant Highlight
90% of plant-eating insects use native plants to grow and survive. Without their native host plants, many butterflies and other insects cannot survive. Birds and other wildlife use caterpillars and other insects to feed their young. Over the last few years, we have seen major declines in both insect and bird populations due to a variety of factors, especially habitat loss and fragmentation. Rebuilding habitat with native plants is crucial in providing food for caterpillars, which in turn provide food for baby birds; making native plants the foundation of our food webs.
Cornus spp. (Dogwood)
# of Larval species- 95

Dogwoods (Cornus spp.) serve as host plants for 95 species of larval insects! Polyphemus moth caterpillars eat the foliage of dogwood as well as several native deciduous tree species. This moth is one of Minnesota’s largest moths, with a wingspan measuring 4-5 inches wide! Dogwoods boast showy white flowers in the spring and early summer, which later produce berries that attract birds. These shrubs are fast-growing and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions.
Red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea) with its white berries
Autumn foliage of red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea)
A polyphemus moth. Many giant moths use dogwood as a host plant in their larval stages.
Dogwood sawfly larva (Macremphytus tarsatus) on dogwood. These larva only do cosmetic damage to the shrub and provide food for birds and parasitic wasps.
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) is also in the dogwood family!
Round-leaved dogwood (Cornus rugosa)
Retail Nursery:
Spring is coming!

Our retail nursery and online ordering are currently closed but will reopen this spring on the following dates:

May 14-15
May 21-22
June 4-5
June 25-26
July 16-17
Aug 13-14

For more information visit:

Non-native Species of the Month-Plumeless thistle (Carduus acanthoides)

Plumeless Thistle is the spiniest of all thistles in Minnesota, with long spines covering the stem and leaf edges. It can be found in all sorts of habitats, ranging from disturbed soil and waste areas to invading high quality natural areas. Plumeless Thistle is a biennial, but produces massive amounts of seed that can form a monoculture where it is allowed to spread. Flowers form in mid-late summer in clusters or individually and are purple and small in size, about 1 inch wide. Plants obtain heights of 3-6 feet. It appears very similar to Bull Thistle and Nodding Thistle, but both of these have larger flowers. Management includes preventing seed formation by cutting flowers, pulling (with hefty gloves), and mowing or cutting plants close to the ground.

(above photo by Peter Dziuk of

Native Plant of the Month-
Prairie Onion (Allium stellatum)

Prairie Onion consists of grass-like leaves and bulb with a strong onion scent. Flower stalks with erect showy clusters of pink star-like flowers appearing in mid-late summer are attractive to small bees, flower flies, and butterflies. This plant grows naturally in prairies and dry, sandy or gravelly soil. Propagation is largely by the attractive, striking black seeds. The roots grow deep into the soil, allowing it to be a drought tolerant plant. Because of it's strong onion scent, deer and rabbits will avoid eating it. Other common names are cliff onion and prairie wild onion. The Latin species name 'stellatum' refer to the star-shaped flowers.

We love to read books about our natural world, and want to share our favorites with you! On the last Wednesday of each month we will feature a book discussion and review on our Facebook Page.
Here are next three!
Forager Fix

Orange daylily or ditch daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) is a common sight in many ditches and backyards in the summer, but small shoots start emerging in the spring. It has escaped cultivation and forms dense stands of plants with long leaves and bright orange flowers that bloom from June-August.

This is a weedy pest that can also be a delicious addition to many dishes, visit our link below for tips on harvesting and preparing this ornamental escapee.

Natives Coming Soon
Natural Shore Technologies, Inc. |