Native Plants for Birds

To help you create bird friendly habitat in your landscape, we are spotlighting a native plant every month that is beneficial to birds and pollinators.

This month's plant is:

Snow Squarestem (Melanthera nivea)

Snow Squarestem by Jody WillisThis plant is a long-lived perennial which grows 2-5 ft high, 2 -4 feet wide and can get rangy without pruning. It is deciduous in the winter and very adaptable to a range of soils. It is drought tolerant, salt spray tolerant, and very easy to grow from seed or cuttings.

It has beautiful button-shaped white flowers with black accents, hence another name for it is the salt and pepper plant. My plants are starting to burst with blossoms right now and they will continue to bloom throughout the spring and summer.

It is native to the southeastern United States, Kentucky, and Ohio. It is also found in the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Central and South America.

It is commonly found in disturbed, open habitats and is a terrific background plant for your pollinator garden as it is beloved by butterflies, wasps, bees, skippers for nectar. It is also visited by hummingbirds

For additional information on native plants for birds, check out Audubon's excellent Plants for Birds website:

For local sources of native plants, check with the Ixia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant SocietyThey often have native plants as well as cuttings available at their monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of each month. Check out their Events Calendar for all of their upcoming activities.

--Jody Willis, President, Duval Audubon Society