USC Citizens for Land Stewardship
Conservation and stewardship of land and natural resources in Upper St. Clair

McLaughlin Run Project

McLaughlin Run Watershed Restoration Plants

This table presents the native plants being used for the riparian buffer restoration and stream bank stabilization as part of the McLaughlin Run project. These plants are adapted to moist soil conditions along streams and in wetlands.

red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)
silky dogwood (Cornus ammomum)
gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa)
Cousins of the familiar flowering dogwood - a small tree of the eastern deciduous forest - these dogwoods are bushy shrubs that grow naturally in moist soils along streams and in wetlands. They will form dense thickets, providing good nesting, cover and food for wildlife and stability to streambanks. They are easily grown from cuttings.

arrowood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)
southern wild raison (Viburnum cassinoides)
Members of the honeysuckle family, viburnum varieties are widely used in landscaping. However, as with many of our native plants, the species used here are not usually among those available in nurseries. These shrubs form thickets, sometimes dense, and their fruit (a blue or black berry) are food for wildlife.

sandbar willow (Salix exigua)
heart-leaved willow (Salix eriocephala)
black willow (Salix nigra)
Many members of this family are shrubs. In fact, the black willow is our only native tree-size willow. The flexible branches, deep roots, and ability to sprout from twigs make these plants well adapted to flooding. Willows are among the best woody plants for streambank stabilization and there are many species to choose from. Thickets of willow provide good cover and the twigs and buds are valuable browse for a number of animals.

red maple (Acer rubrum)
box elder (Acer negundo)
This is a family of mostly deciduous trees. The two species listed here are often found near water - box elder along streams and rivers and red maple in swamps and other wetlands. They tolerate flooding and supply shade to the stream as well as habitat and food for birds and wildlife.

green ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica) Members of the olive family found throughout much of the eastern deciduous forest, ashes are commercial trees used for lumber and furniture. Green ash is often found in lower valleys where soils are moist. The small winged fruit are eaten by birds, especially grosbeaks and other finches.

American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) This member of the birch family grows often along streams and on floodplains where soils are moist. It grows as a small, spreading tree and may form colonies. It is tolerant of flooding and provides valuable shade to streams and adjacent habitats.

cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)
oxeye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)

blue vervain (Verbena hastate)
fox sedge (Carex vulpinoidea)
fringed sedge (Carex crinita)
All of these non-woody or herbaceous plants are found in moist areas, often along streams or in wet meadows. With many other species, these herbs form the natural “lawn” that grows beneath the trees and shrubs on floodplains. They help to hold the soil together and absorb water along with the roots of the woody plants. They add enormously to the diversity of an area and supply food and shelter to insects and other small animals.