ABOUT THIS BOOK
Shrubs and vines, often literally overshadowed by trees, also receive much less attention than their taller neighbors, and yet they are very important elements of the region’s natural landscape. A guide to these interesting and useful plants, this book identifies all 150 shrubs and vines native to Iowa, along with frequently seen naturalized ones. Here you’ll find the widely distributed buttonbush, the distinctive pagoda dogwoods, sumacs with their striking fall foliage, the adaptable ninebark, the attractive grape honeysuckle, the many species of Rubus and wild grapes that provide food for birds and animals, willows with their graceful promise of spring, and the diverse viburnums.
Like trees, shrubs and vines are woody plants that are easy to observe year round. The first part of this book will help you identify them. Illustrated keys take you through the identification process one step at time; these are followed by images and descriptions of all but the rarest species. Noted naturalists Peter van der Linden and Donald Farrar also provide information about each species’ distribution, ecology, and uses. Summer and winter features are covered separately to facilitate identification at these two very different times of year.
Chapters about the culture and natural history of shrubs and vines explain why the plants grow where they do in nature and show how to use them effectively in outdoor spaces. Plants native to Iowa have much to offer to the landscaper: winter hardiness, resistance to drought and climatic extremes, and food and shelter for native wildlife and pollinators. Many natives are ornamental as well, providing attractive flowers, bright autumn displays, and colorful stems or fruits in winter. The authors offer tips for selecting, planting, and caring for these plants effectively. With native plants, you can create a landscape that is sustainable, authentic to place, and satisfying to you.
Iowa and midwestern arborists, conservationists, horticulturists, landscape architects, gardeners, and all those who appreciate the beauty and value of native plants will find Shrubs and Vines of Iowa immensely useful.