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One of our most beautiful native species, Amsonia makes a delicate display from the mountains to the coast. The light blue flowers are followed by elongated, pod-like fruits containing hard, black seeds that can be used for propagation. This plant is resistant to damage by deer and other herbivores due to the foliage containing a toxic white latex.
There are several species of Amsonia, all herbaceous perennials in the dogbane family (Apocynaceae), grown as garden ornamentals with the common name of called bluestar (including A. hubrectii). A. tabernamontana – with various common names including willowleaf bluestar, willow amsonia, blue dogbane, blue star-willow, eastern bluestar, and woodland bluestar – is native to the southeastern US, from Texas to Florida and up to southern Missouri and Illinois to southern New York. Found naturally in open woods, borders of streams, limestone glades, and moist sandy meadows, this long-lived plant is hardy in zones 3 to 9. It was chosen by the American Horticultural Society as one of the 75 Great Plants for American Gardens.Amsonia tabernaemontana, Eastern Bluestar is an herbaceous perennial that is native to the American South and up to Illinois. It grows to about 3’ feet in height and displays clusters of blue star shaped flowers that bloom in the spring. It is a member of the Dogbane family which means your dog won’t like this plant, however, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and various bees, moths, and butterflies will thank you for adding this Bluestar to your plantings.
Common Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana) blooms in mid-spring. Growing up to 3 feet tall, it prefers a medium to moist soil, but will tolerate a range of soils in light shade, including clay. Long-lived and adaptable, this native of open woodlands and plains ranges from Illinois to New Jersey and south to Texas and Florida. The flowers of Common Bluestar attracts various long-tongued insects, including the Large Carpenter Bee and hummingbird moths. Other common names include Blue Dogbane, Eastern Bluestar and Willowleaf.TRIVIA: Richard T. Hawke of the Chicago Botanic Garden conducted a comparative study of 11 taxa of hardy amsonias. Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia was one of the two with the highest rankings. According to the study, this species “…received excellent ratings because of high flower production, superior habit, good health and winter hardiness.” (Source: www.linkedin.com)