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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects

Native Plants with Green or Brown Flowers

Alnus rubra
Red Alder
A fast-growing deciduous tree well suited to disturbed sites.
Height: Up to 80 feet (25 meters).
Male flowers appear as hanging, cylindrical spikes (catkins) and emerge before leaves while female flowers are borne in small stubby cones. the catkins are reddish-orange with yellow highlights, 5-12 cm (2-4.5 in) long. The femal cones are green when young, then turning brown, 2 cm long.
Asarum caudatum
Wild Ginger
Low-growing evergreen perennial that smells strongly of lemon-ginger when crushed.
Height: Can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall.
The solitary purplish-brown to greenish-yellow flowers occur on 1-3 cm long stalks near ground level and have 3 flaring sepal-like lobes that taper to long points and are fused at the base. Note: flowers are often concealed by leaves. Size: up to 5 cm across; shape: bell-shaped.
Betula glandulosa
Bog Birch
Spreading, small-branched perennial shrub of bogs and wet areas.
Height: Up to 10 feet (3 meters) tall; usually shorter.
Female catkins are drooping and much large than male catkins; size: female catkins are 1-2.5 cm long by 3-5 mm thick; male catkins are smaller and inconspicuous, with a narrow cylindrical shape.
Betula papyrifera
Paper Birch
A small to medium sized deciduous tree with attractive white, peeling papery bark.
Height: Up to 100 feet (30 meters).
Male and female flowers on separate catkins that flower at the same time, catkins emerge at the same time or before the leaves emerge; size: 2-4 cm long.
Carex amplifolia
Bigleaf Sedge
Flower color: green.
Carex canescens
Grey Sedge
Flower color: green.
Carex cusickii
Cusick's Sedge
A woodland sedge with grass-like leaves and small clusters of tiny greenish flowers.
Has more than 10 spikes in an uninterrupted head that tend to occur at irregular intervals; size: 3-8 cm.
Carex obnupta
Slough Sedge
Large grass-like plant creating thick patches in coastal wetlands.
Height: 1-5 feet (30-150 cm).
Spikes elongate. Upper 1-3 spikes are male, often drooping; lower 2-4 spikes are female or with male flowers at top, cylindrical, drooping, stalkless or on short erect stalks.
Carex pachystachya
Thick-head Sedge
Flower color: brown.
Carex stipata
Sawbeak Sedge
Flower color: green.
Carex vulpinoidea
Fox Sedge
Flower color: green.
Corylus cornuta
Beaked Hazelnut
Slender, multi-trunked deciduous shrub.
Height: 3 feet - 13 feet (1 meter - 4 meters).
Monoecious shrub, male catkins emerge before leaves in the spring, female catkins are much smaller with protruding red stigmas, male catkins hang freely while female are attached directly to branches; size: male catkins 4-7cm (1.5-2.75 in) long, female; shape: cylindrical.
Deschampsia cespitosa
Tufted Hairgrass
Densely tufted perennial grass.
Height: Up to 4 feet (120 cm) tall.
Many minute flowers in an open, loose panicle 8-35 cm long, often nodding, silky. Spikelets bronze and glistening, usually darkening at maturity, 2-3 flowered. Lemmas thin (4mm long), hairy at base, awned from near base.
Eleocharis palustris
Creeping Spikerush
A wetland plant with leafless, grass-like stems topped by small brownish spikes of flowers.
Height: Up to 3 feet (100 cm).
A solitary, terminal spikelet with 2-3 empty scales at the base; fertile scales several, spirally arranged; 2 stigmas; 40-100 flowers per spike; primary color: brown; size: 5-25 mm long; shape: lance to egg-shaped.
Elymus glaucus
Blue Wild-rye
Tufted perennial grass usually forming small clumps, 0.5 to 1.5 m tall.
Height: 20-40 inches (0.5-1 meter).
Flower color: green.
Eriophorum chamissonis
Chamisso's Cotton-grass
Extensive beds growing from spreading rhizomes or stolons with tufts of cotton-like seed heads.
Height: 8-28 inches (20-70 cm).
Solitary spikelet at tip of stem; no leafy involucral bracts. Spike subtended by 4-6 large, sterile, dark-brown scales. Obscured by cotton ball.
Festuca rubra
Red Fescue
Perennial grass with thread-like leaves forming small patches.
Height: Can grow up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall.
Violet-colored panicles on purple stems; each spikelet 3/8-1/2" long.
Fraxinus latifolia
Oregon Ash
Tough-wooded tree with gray bark and compound leaflets arranged oppositely around twigs.
Height: Up to 82 feet (25 meters).
Flowers inconspicuous, appear before the leaves in bunched clusters on the twigs; primary color: yellowish (male), greenish (female); size: 3 mm across.
Fritillaria lanceolata
Chocolate Lily, Rice Root
Rare herb to 80 cm tall from bulb with numerous rice-like bulblets; flowers are mottled maroon and yellow.
Height: Up to 32 inches (80 cm).
Flowers dark purple or maroon with greenish-yellow mottled spots giving a brown appearance overall, nodding, single or in clusters of 2-5, terminal; size: 4 cm (1.5 in) long; shape: bell shaped.
Glyceria elata
Tall Mannagrass, Fowl Mannagrass
Tall wetland grass.
Height: Up to 5 feet (1.5 meters).
In a loose, open panicle with spreading branches 15-30 cm long; spikelets flattened, egg shaped outline, 6-8 flowered; glumes small, 1mm long or less; lemmas about 2 mm long, firm, prominently 7 veined.
Glyceria grandis
Reed Mannagrass
very similar to G. elata
Height: up to 5 feet (1.5 meters)
inflorescence is 20-40 cm long, loose, open, with numerous spreading branches, stames occasionally number 2 but usually 3; lemmas has obvious veins, spikelets 4-7 flowered; primary color: purplish; size: lemmas 2-3 mm long.
Hordeum brachyantherum
Meadow Barley
Grass with erect stems that are bent at the base and sometimes hairy on the leaf sheaths.
Height: Up to 3 feet (90 cm).
In a usually erect, soft, spike-like cluster that isbrittle and easily shattering when ripe; spikelets three per node; central spiklet stakless, lateral spikelets usually sterile, on short curved stalks; glumes slender and awn-like; size: 4-10 cm (1.5-4 in) long.
Hydrophyllum tenuipes
Pacific Waterleaf
Single leafy, hairy stem grows from rhizomes and fleshy fibrous roots; with small clusters of greenish-white flowers.
Height: Up to 32 inches (80 cm).
Numerous in terminal compact clusters on stalks from upper leaf axils; primary color: greenish-white to lavender; size: 5-7 mm long; stamens and pistils are sticking out; sepals are bristly on margins; shape: bell-shaped.
Juncus acuminatus
Tapertip Rush
Tufted perennial grass-like plant.
Height: Up to 32 inches (80 cm).
Terminal inflorescence with erect to spreading branches that are longer than involucral bracts, usually with 5 to many small, compact, 5-flowered to 20-flowered heads. Each flower has 3 or 6 stamens; primary color: straw colored to greenish-brown; size: 3-3.5 mm long.
Juncus ensifolius
Daggerleaf Rush
Height: Can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall.
Terminal inflorescences with 1-10 ball-like flower clusters, each with several to many flowers; lowermost bract 1-10 cm long, flower scales greenish-brown to brown-purple; 3-6 stamens; size: 3-4 mm long.
Juncus tenuis
Slender Rush
Flower color: green,brown.
Myrica californica
Pacific Wax Myrtle
Tall shrub with small evergreen leaves.
Height: Up to 15 feet (5 meters) tall.
Flower color: green.
Myrica gale
Sweet Gale
Flower color: green,brown.
Populus balsamifera
Black Cottonwood
Flower color: green.
Populus tremuloides
Quaking Aspen
Deciduous thicket-forming tree with smooth white bark and leaves that "quake" in the wind.
Flower color: green.
Quercus garryana
Garry Oak
Beautiful, deciduous, heavy limbed oak tree.
Height: Up to 82 feet (25 meters).
Male and female flowers tiny, inconspicuous; borne in separate inflorescences on the same tree, male flowers in hanging catkins, female flowers single or in small clusters; flowers as the leaves appear.
Rhamnus purshiana
Erect, tall shrub or small tree with alternate leaves and inconspicuous flower clusters.
Height: Up to 33 feet (10 meters).
Small, with 5 sepals, 5 petals, and 5 stamens; 8-50 in stalked, umbrella-shaped clusters in the axils of leaves; primary color: greenish yellow; size: 3-4 mm long.
Salix piperi
Piper's Willow
Flower color: green.
Salix sitchensis
Sitka Willow
Flower color: green.
Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani
Softstem Bulrush
Flower color: brown.
Scirpus maritimus
Seacoast Bulrush
Flower color: brown.
Scirpus microcarpus
Small-flowered Bulrush
Flower color: green.
Sparganium angustifolium
Narrowleaf Bur-reed
Flower color: green.
Sparganium eurycarpum
Broadfruit Bur-reed
Flower color: green.
Tolmiea menziesii
Piggy-back Plant
A woodland herb whose leaves give rise to small plantlets.
Flower color: brown.
Typha latifolia
Broad-leaved Cattail
A tall wetland plant with long, erect sword-like leaves and dense brown flower spikes.
Flower color: green,brown.
Urtica dioica
Stinging Nettle
Tall perennial herb with deciduous leaves covered in stinging hairs.
Flower color: green.
Vaccinium parvifolium
Red Huckleberry
Delicately branched shrub with small red huckleberries, suitable for shady areas on decaying wood.
Height: 4-10 feet (1.5-3 meters).
Small bell-shaped greenish-pink flowers about 4 mm long hanging individually along lower sides of stems; length:

The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.