Hawthorn (Crataegus keepii)
Hawthorn

This document is intended to be a comprehensive list of shrubs and some small trees native to Massachusetts that may be planted for wildlife, primarily for food but also for cover and nesting.  A relatively small number are not included because their fruits are apparently low in nutritive value (Mountain Laurel, Kalmia latifolia; Maleberry, Lyonia ligustrina) or are poisonous to humans (Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron radicans and T. rydbergii; Poison Sumac, T. vernix).

Our native wildlife and plants evolved over thousands of years into a deeply integrated system of food producers and food consumers, each species affecting and affected by the other.  Planting alien species of shrubs and trees to enhance wildlife populations is a widespread practice, but unsupported by sufficient valid data to conclude that such non-native plants are superior to native species in nutritive value, etc.  Furthermore, many alien species are proving to detrimental to natural ecosystems by outcompeting native species and replacing them, thus reducing the overall species diversity and altering natural patterns of ecological succession.  Examples are the buckthorns (Rhamnus frangula and R. cathartica), Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora), Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus), and Morrow Honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii).  Additionally, the value of alien species with respect to nesting cover they provide, the nutrients they take and give to the soils, and many other details of their ecology remains to be evaluated.

For convenience, we have divided the list into four sections, reflecting basic ecological affinities of each species:

Some species may align with more than one of these groupings--they may grow well in broad tolerance of pH and shade, for example--so these species are listed more than once.  We have also attempted to indicate in a general fashion the tolerance of each species for canopy cover by indicating each species' preference for sun, shade, or light shade.  The term "mesic" refers to a soil condition of moderate moisture and is required by some species whos root systems cannot tolerate drying out or being inundated.  State listed rare species are not listed here because extensive planting will obscure their natural ranges and, if non-native source material were used, may disrupt their genetic integrity.

Dry Acid Soils

Common Name

Scientific Name

Synonym

Light Preference

Tall Shadbush

Amelanchier arborea

 

Light shade

Smooth Shadbush

Amelanchier laevis

 

Light shade

Running Shadbush

Amelanchier spicata

Amelanchier stolonifera

Sun

BearberryArctostaphylos uva-ursi Sun
Black ChokeberryAronia melanocarpa Sun to light shade
Red or Purple ChokeberryAronia arbutifolia Sun to light shade
Flowering DogwoodBenthamidia floridaCornus floridaLight to moderate shade
White DogwoodSwida racemosaCornus foemina or racemosaSun
American HazelnutCorylus americana Shade to sun
Beaked HazelnutCorylus cornuta Shade to sun
Hawthorns (native)Crataegus spp. Light shade to sun
Black HuckleberryGaylussacia baccata Sun to shade
DangleberryGaylussacia frondosa Light to moderate shade
InkberryIlex glabra Sun to light shade
American HollyIlex opaca Light to moderate shade
Fly HoneysuckleLonicera canadensis Shade
Limber HoneysuckleLonicera dioica Light shade
BayberryMyrica pensylvanica Sun
Beach PlumPrunus maritima Sun
Horse PlumPrunus nigra Sun, light shade
Fire or Pin CherryPrunus pensylvanica Sun
Choke CherryPrunus virginiana var. virginiana Sun, light shade
Scrub OakQuercus ilicifolia Sun
Dwarf Chinkapin OakQuercus prinoides Sun
Winged SumacRhus copallinum var. latifolia Sun
Smooth SumacRhus glabra Sun
Prickly GooseberryRibes cynosbati Shade, mesic
Common GooseberryRibes hirtellum Sun, light shade
Pasture RoseRosa carolina Sun
Virginia RoseRosa virginiana Sun
Allegheny BlackberryRubus allegheniensis Sun
Wild RaspberryRubus idaeus var. strigosus Sun
Black RaspberryRubus occidentalis Sun, light shade
SawbrierSmilax glauca var. leurophylla Sun, light shade
CatbrierSmilax rotundifolia Sun, light shade
American Mountain-ashSorbus americana Sun, light shade
Eastern YewTaxus canadensis Shade
Low Sweet BlueberryVaccinium angustifolium Sun
Velvetleaf BlueberryVaccinium myrtilloides Light to moderate shade
DeerberryVaccinium stamineum Light shade
Woodland Sweet BlueberryVaccinium pallidumVaccinium vacillansLight to moderate shade
Maple-leaf ViburnumViburnum acerifolium Shade
Wild RaisinViburnum nudum var. cassinoides Light shade
Southern ArrowwoodViburnum dentatum var. venosum Sun to light shade
Summer GrapeVitis aestivalis Sun, light shade
Fox GrapeVitis labrusca Sun

 

Dry Alkaline Soils

Common Name

Scientific Name

Synonym

Light Preference

Tall ShadbushAmelanchier arborea Light shade
Alternate-leaved or Pagoda DogwoodCornus alternifolia Light shade
Gray DogwoodSwida racemosaCornus foemina or racemosaSun
Roundleaf DogwoodSwida rugosaCornus rugosaLight shade, talus slopes
Beaked HazelnutCorylus cornuta Shade to sun
Hawthorns (native)Crataegus spp. Light shade to sun
Fly HoneysuckleLonicera canadensis Shade
Limber HoneysuckleLonicera dioica Light shade
Virginia CreeperParthenocissus vitacea Shade to sun
Shrubby CinquefoilDasiphora floribundaPotentilla fruitcosa or Pentaphylloides floribundaSun
Choke CherryPrunus virginiana Light shade

 

Wet Acid Soils

Common NameScientific NameSynonymLight Preference

Speckled Alder

Alnus rugosa or incana ssp. rugosa

 

Sun

Common Alder

Alnus serrulata

 

Sun

Thicket Shadbush

Amelanchier canadensis

 

Sun, light shade

Black Chokeberry

Aronia melanocarpa

 

Sun

Red or Purple ChokeberryAronia arbutifolia Sun
Silky DogwoodSvida amomumCornus amomumSun
DangleberryGaylussacia frondosa Shade
Smooth WinterberryIlex laevigata Shade
Common WinterberryIlex verticillata Sun to light shade
SpicebushLindera benzoin Shade
Mountain Fly-HoneysuckleLonicera villosa Sun, light shade
Sweet GaleMyrica gale Shade
American Black CurrantRibes americanum Light shade, floodplain forests
Common GooseberryRibes hirtellum Sun to light shade
Swamp RoseRosa palustris Sun to light shade
Virginia RoseRosa virginiana Sun
DewberryRubus hispidus Sun to light shade
Dwarf or Running RaspberryRubus pubescens Shade
Common ElderberrySambucus nigra ssp. canadensis Sun to light shade
Red-berried ElderSambucus racemosaS. racemosa ssp. pubensLight to moderate shade, talus slopes
SawbrierSmilax glauca Sun to light shade
CatbrierSmilax rotundifolia Sun to light shade
Eastern YewTaxus canadensis var. canadensis Shade
Black Highbush BlueberryVaccinium atrococcumVaccinium fascatumSun to shade
Smooth Highbush BlueberryVaccinium corymbosum Sun to shade
CranberryVaccinium macrocarpon Sun
Velvetleaf BlueberryVaccinium myrtilloides Shade
Maple-leaf ViburnumViburnum acerifolium Shade
HobblebushViburnum lantanoidesV. alnifoliumShade, mesic slopes
Wild RaisinViburnum cassinoidesViburnum nudum var. cassinoidesLight shade
Sweet ViburnumViburnum lentago Light shade
Smooth or Northern ArrowwoodViburnum recognitumViburnum dentatum var. lucidumSun to shade
Summer GrapeVitis aestivalis Sin to light shade
Riverbank GrapeVitis riparia Sun to light shade

 

Wet Alkaline Soils

Common Name

Scientific Name

Synonym

Light Preference

Red Osier DogwoodSwida sericeaCornus stolonifera or sericeaSun, light shade
Silky DogwoodSwida amomumCornus amomumSun, light shade
Common WinterberryIlex verticillata Sun to light shade
SpicebushLindera benzoin Shade
Mountain Fly-honeysuckleLonicera villosa Sun to light shade
American Black CurrantRibes americanum Light shade, floodplain forests
Swamp RoseRosa palustris Sun to light shade
Dwarf or Running RaspberryRubus pubescens Shade
Red-berried ElderSambucus racemosaSambucus pubensLight to moderate shade, talus slopes
Highbush BlueberryVaccinium corymbosumVaccinium atrococcumSun to shade
Sweet ViburnumViburnum lentago Light shade
Smooth or Northern ArrowwoodViburnum dentatum var. lucidumViburnum recognitumSun to shade
Highbush CranberryViburnum opulus var. trilobum (NOT V. opulus var. opulus)Viburnum trilobumLight shade, sun
Riverbank GrapeVitis riparia Sun to light shade