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Mt. Cuba Collection™

As a botanical garden, Mt. Cuba Center holds living collections of plants, much like a museum houses collections of art or historical artifacts. Mt. Cuba Center’s collections are focused on plants native to the Eastern Temperate Forests of the United States with a particular emphasis on the Appalachian Piedmont, an area that spans nine states from New York to Alabama.

Aster laevis 'Bluebird'

smooth aster

'Bluebird' is a superlative selection of the native smooth aster introduced by Dr. Richard Lighty of the Mt.Cuba Center. This tall, vase-shaped wildflower has large 1" diameter blue flowers held in cloud-like clusters at the tips of the arching branches. You can pinch back the young shoots in June for denser habit and more flowers, but it is not essential. Staking is helpful by late summer if you forget to pinch. Perfectly clean foliage makes for easy maintenance in production and in the landscape. Aster laevis is a great source of nectar for migrating monarchs and other late season butterflies. Ranked #1 in Mt. Cuba Center's aster evaluations.

Aster laevis 'Bluebird' smooth aster from North Creek Nurseries

Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome'

New England aster

A naturally compact form with deep purple flowers in August and September. Eye-popping with Solidago 'Golden Fleece'. One of the most garden-worthy native selections out there. A fine introduction from the Mt. Cuba Center.

Aster novae-angliae 'Purple Dome' New England aster from North Creek Nurseries

Coreopsis tripteris 'Gold Standard'

tall tickseed

This accession of C. tripteris was collected by Mt. Cuba Center in the wild and shows better garden performance than the straight species. This plant is approximately 1’ shorter and blooms for an additional six weeks. The flowers were also born on shorter, secondary growth. This characteristic distributed the floral display throughout the entire plant rather than solely at the top.

The cultivar name of 'Gold Standard' was assigned at the completion of the trial due to this selections superior performance compared to the straight species.  Mt. Cuba Center Coreopsis Trial 2015 

Coreopsis tripteris 'Gold Standard' tall tickseed from North Creek Nurseries

Iris versicolor 'Purple Flame'


Plainly stated, it’s a show stopper. Beyond other Iris selections on the market, ‘Purple Flame’ has a richer, more intense cast to stems and flowers, yes. However, the true beauty lies in the irresistible foliage. Emerging in March, the purple flame-like foliage provides an unparalleled performance of vivid and intense eggplant purple foliage followed by an encore of rich and abundant flowers. 

Iris versicolor 'Purple Flame' blueflag from North Creek Nurseries

Porteranthus trifoliatus 'Pink Profusion'

Bowman's root

We've been enjoying this great native for many years in our garden, since it was given to us by the Mt. Cuba Center in 2001. 'Pink Profusion' has clear pink flowers that are held daintily above reddish leaves on deep red stems. The best part is the way the flowers shimmer in a light breeze, as though they will take flight at any moment.

Porteranthus trifoliatus 'Pink Profusion' Bowman's root from North Creek Nurseries

Solidago sphacelata 'Golden Fleece'


Another fantastic Mt. Cuba introduction. A stunning show of sprays of golden yellow flowers from mid-August through September. Semievergreen heart-shaped leaves. Truly an excellent groundcover and bee and butterfly charmer! Hairstreaks, sulphurs and skippers are particularly attracted to goldenrod. Monarchs visit it during their autumn migration.

Solidago sphacelata 'Golden Fleece' goldenrod from North Creek Nurseries