2018 Plant of the Year
Profiles 

The following five plants are being considered for the Native Plant Society of NJ's Plant of the Year for 2018. Below are the five candidates. Voting will take place at our Annual Meeting on March 3, 2018 at Medford Leas. Attendees will be asked to vote for their favorite and a prize will be awarded to one lucky voter who supported the winning plant. The photographs are generously shared by the fine folks at  Toadshade Wildflower Farm.

 

First Plant:

Monarda fistulosa 

Monarda fistulosa

AKA: wild bergamot  

A showy perennial with lavender, pink or white flowers on 2 to 5 foot tall stems. It's a member of the mint family and is used to flavor teas. Native throughout NJ and thrives in a wide range of soils growing in acid or lime; sand or clay. Doesn't like flooding but survives our winters. Prefers a sunny location but tolerates some shade. Nectar is used by a wide variety of pollinators; hummingbirds and butterflies find the nectar particularly tasty. Deer do not seem to bother with the plant. Easily obtained from seeds or stock. Forms rhizomes that can be divided.

For more information see:  
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
USDA Plants Database



Second Plant:

Viola sororia  

Viola sororia

AKA: The common blue violet, hooded violet, wood violet and many other local names.  

The state flower of NJ and three other states, this low growing annual or short-lived perennial prefers sunny or partly shaded rich, moist, well-drained soil. Does not spread by runners, but freely seeds itself and can spread rapidly to the point of being aggressive under the right conditions. Petal color is typically a deep blue-violet, fading to white then pale yellow at the base, but this is a variable species that may have white or white and blue petals, all typically fading to pale yellowish at the base. The lower petal is heavily veined dark blue-violet, and forms a short rounded spur at the back that barely projects past the sepals. A larval food plant of many Fritillary butterflies. 

For more information see:  
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
USDA Plants Database
Flora of North America