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Shady Native Garden

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The Shady Native Garden brings a sample of the North Carolina woodlands into our Botanical Garden.

Plants in this garden are being allowed to spread at will. Shady Native not only includes a large number of North Carolina native plants but the landscape arrangement allows to look and function like how they evolved in nature.

The plants spread in several ways. Some plants, such as the Ajuga are stoloniferous. They grow horizontal stems that grow roots when nodes on the stolon touch the ground. New plants grow from these roots. Put your finger between two ajuga plants and move it back and forth. You will probably find the stolon connecting them.

Plants such as the Mountain Mint put out horizontal runners. Gently pull up on a plant and see how it is connected to the other plants by its roots. (Please pat the soil back over the roots.) These are both vegetative means of reproduction with the new plants being genetically identical to the original plant.

Mosses may propagate when a piece breaks off and grows into a new clump.

A fern may send out underground runners, but they also reproduce sexually through spores. Look at the underside of a fern frond and notice the round, dark spots—these are spore capsules or sori. Spores are released and a tiny plant grows that looks completely different from the fern it came from.

Some of the plants in this garden produce flowers and reproduce by seed production as well as vegetatively. In addition to bees, butterflies, and birds some plants in this garden are pollinated by beetles (Calycanthus), ants (Asarum), and even the wind.