Local garden club promotes 2013 wildflower of the year
Each year, the Calla Lily Garden Club joins in with other garden clubs throughout North Carolina to promote gardening and horticulture; environmental improvements within urban areas; and the protection of natural resources.
Along with these efforts, gardeners state-wide choose a native perennial and promote its cultivation in home gardens and landscapes. This year, the New Jersey-Tea was chosen.
Coincidentally, the plant is actually a small deciduous shrub: Calla Lily members made an exception this year.
The plant can grow up to 3 ft. in the garden but is usually found in dry rock sites growing much smaller. Despite occasionally being mistaken for a wildflower when in bloom, it is of interest to a gardener for other reasons. First it produces an abundance of white flowers during spring that grow in clusters similar to lilacs. Also, their nectar attracts a variety of pollinators during the spring and summer months.
Native Americans used various parts of the plant for medicinal applications and as a portable fuel source (specifically the roots); American colonists substituted it for tea (despite the lack of caffeine).
With just a little patience, the plant can be grown fairly easily from seed. Specimens will flower in their second year.