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

Native Plants that Provide Shelter

Abies grandis
Grand Fir
Abies grandis is a tall, straight tree with short, dense branches.
Provides shelter for birds. Provides shelter for many mammals such as squirrels, porcupines, and deer.
Acer circinatum
Vine Maple
Tall, erect, multi-trunked shrub or small tree with sprawling branches.
Height: 13-26 feet (4-8 meters)
Leaves deciduous
Acer macrophyllum
Big-leaf Maple
A tree with a large, often multi-stemmed trunk and a loose, broad crown of large leaves.
Fallen limbs of Acer macrophyllum provide habitat for cavity-nesting birds. Fallen limbs of Acer Macrophyllum are quick to rot thereby attracting numerous insects.
Armeria maritima
Round balls of pink flowers held on slender leafless stems above a cluster of grass-like leaves.
Height: Up to 18 inches (45 cm).
Leaves deciduous
Cornus stolonifera
Red-osier Dogwood
Spreading, thicket-forming shrub with bright red stems.
Beavers and muskrats use twigs to repair dams or build new dams.
Corylus cornuta
Beaked Hazelnut
Slender, multi-trunked deciduous shrub.
The dense, sprawling structure of the Hazelnut provide good habitat for low-nesting birds.
Deschampsia cespitosa
Tufted Hairgrass
Densely tufted perennial grass.
Dense hummocks provide nesting foliage. The stems and flower stalks tend to remain upright all winter providing perching spots for songbirds.
Gaultheria shallon
Creeping to erect shrub with hairy branching stems and dark leathery leaves.
Height: Up to 16 feet (5 meters) in exceptional cases but typically 3-7 feet (1-2 m) tall.
Leaves evergreen
Gymnocarpium dryopteris
Oak Fern
Delicate, deciduous fronds. Usually solitary, but often forms a mat of herbaceous cover in forests.
Forms dense herbaceous stands useful as a cover for forest wildlife.
Holodiscus discolor
Multi-stemmed upright shrub with ridged young stems and arching older stems with peeling bark. White flowers.
Dense branches provide songbirds with shelter and cover. Many species of insects live in the dense structure of oceanspray.
Malus fusca
Pacific Crabapple
Small tree, slender in form, appears thorny; bushy in the open.
Cavity nesting birds and other wildlife may nest and roost in tree cavities of large trees.
Oenanthe sarmentosa
Pacific Water Parsley
Semi-aquatic, often reclining or scrambling herb, with stem tips ascending or curled and small flat-topped clusters of white flowers.
Height: Up to 40 inches (1 meter).
Leaves deciduous
Prunus emarginata var. mollis
Bitter Cherry
Shrub or small tree with white flowers and small red cherries.
Height: Up to 50 feet (15 meters).
Leaves deciduous
Rhododendron macrophyllum
Pacific Rhododendron
Showy shrub that can grow very large, with clusters of large pink flowers.
Songbirds nest in large specimens.
Rosa nutkana
Nootka Rose
Spindly shrub with a pair of prickles at the base of each leaf and large pink rose flowers.
Rose thickets are an important shelter and habitat for birds such as pheasants and grouses. The Rose thickets provide important shelter and habitat for many mammal species.
Rubus spectabilis
Erect and branching shrub with early spring pink flowers and reddish-orange raspberry-like fruits.
Thickety structure great for birds.
Rubus ursinus
Trailing Blackberry
Trailing prickly vine producing small blackberries in late summer.
Height: 20 inches (50 cm).
Leaves deciduous
Symphoricarpos albus
Erect shrub with attractive white berries that persist through the winter.
Snowberry is often a nesting habitat for gadwall ducks. Snowberry provides low shelter and nesting cover for small animals.
Thuja plicata
Western Red Cedar
Large conifer with branches that droop and then turn back up (J-shaped), broad crowns.
The dense foliage provides important shelter and nest sites for birds such as juncos, jays, and warblers. Cavity-nesting birds roost in the cavities of the mature cedar trees. Trees squirrels and porcupines use the fibrous bark strips for nesting material.

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