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In praise of Pigeonberry

Posted by mrs.wiggley 8 Hill Country (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 15:19

I live on a property that is under wildlife management. I read about Pigeonberry in one of Sally Wasowski's books on native Texas gardening some time ago. It likes part shade and I had the perfect spot beneath a group of large live oaks. The only other thing that had grown under there (that was welcome) was some turkscap. So I purchased and spread some seed. After a few weeks I began to see that the seeds grew easily with steady but not particularly thorough watering and now it's abundant and requires no care at all.. It has a small pink flower head and super bright red berries, growing to be as tall as two feet but mostly staying staying under a foot high.. It is currently bursting with berries and the birds LOVE them! A perfect food for mid summer.
I'm highly recommending it to those who have wildscapes as it spreads pretty quickly and can't be contained. I just mow down any that pops up in the 'yard' or in unwanted places, and it's easy to control that way, but is not well behaved bedding plant by any means. It's not particularly showy either (kind of like turkscap) so is more for the critters. But in that regard it's a winner.

Here is a link that might be useful: Description & photos of Pigeonberry


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

I went to the link and Pigeonberry is definitely something that I need. I Googled for seeds and found several sources but I'm not familiar with any of them. I thought I would ask who you got your seeds from and if you were happy with them. Thank you


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Hi Ladena!
I honestly can't recall where I got the seed but assume it was from Native American Seeds since that's my main seed source. They have great prairie blends and a mix of shade loving grasses too!
Here's a link, but if that doesn't work just google them and do a search for Pigeonberry in their catalog.

Here is a link that might be useful: Native American Seeds - pigeonberry

This post was edited by mrs.wiggley on Fri, Aug 1, 14 at 10:25


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

LaDena, where are you?

I'm in Ellis County (just south of Dallas County), & I'd be happy to share or swap as you wish.

I have quite a bit of pigeonberry that needs to be moved;
it's in a bit too much sun since 3 brittle old trees had to be removed after a lot of wind damage.

I'll likely have some at the Ft Worth Autumn Swap, too.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

I'm happy to offer some plants too if you're nearby.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

This is what I thought pigeon berry was! Thank you for this post. I wondered why no birds ate the berries and now I know they are poisonous.

Here is a link that might be useful: Duranta pigeonberry


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Thank you, Sylvia and Mrs. Wiggley, I'm in Lufkin. That's a little far to drive to pick up plants but what about seeds or mail? I would pay for postage but I don't know what the roots sytem is like, whether they would do okay shipping bare root with some moist newspaper around the roots.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

They are easy to grow from collected seed. My land is too dry for them. They do not thrive here. Mybe around some rocks.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Ladena, I've never collected seeds so I'm a little sketchy on that process, but if someone will instruct me and you provide your mailing address (email me) I'd love to share some. I'll also remember to bring some to swaps in the future, so we can keep in touch when swaps are announced to see if we can meet at one. That said, it really might be easiest in this case just to order some seed in whatever quantity you need.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

After the berries get nice and red, even withered, collect them before the birds do. by running your hands up the stalk. I then put them on a paper towel and squish the seeds out, and let them dry a few days. If one want to go further , I guess one could wash them. I didn't and my seeds germinated.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Rivina humilis is one of our favorite natives, too. Ours survives and flowers in heavy shade, but needs a bit more light to thrive. Glad to learn they start easily from seed. We never see volunteers because the berries are always totally stripped by the birds within a day or two of turning red - they love them. Would like more plants, so looks like we'll be competing with the birds on the next round of flowers.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Thanks mara. Sounds pretty simple.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

I've decided I will want some pigeonberry when my tree grows to provide more shade. I asked at Archie's Garden & they never heard of it. Is the primary way to get it by seed on the internet? Also I am wondering what is the best way to deal with white flies on that oh so fragile salvia greggii. Is there someplace specific I should post that question.?


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Redenta's (Arlington/Dallas) carries it in 3 or 4 inch pots, but usually sell out pretty fast. They're good about confirming stock or their next delivery date by phone. It's certain to be offered by other north Texas nurseries with good native plant selections, but may be very seasonal as the annual stock seems to be quickly bought up for groundcover.

Here is a link that might be useful: Redenta's Garden


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Post the whitefly/salvia greggii as its own thread.

I have found pigeon berry as small plants at nurseries that deal in natives. Austin has 3 that carry a lot of natives. But I usually see them at Barton Springs Nursery. Native American Seed has the seed.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

I spray plants with neem oil when there is an occastional outbreak of white flies.

I just took a photo of one of several pigeonberry plants that grow in the easement behind my fence. It's been there for years in total shade and never gets any supplemental water. They have fleshy roots which enable them to store water so they can persist dry conditions.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Here's pigeonberry growing in pretty much full sun at the front curb. It gets VERY little supplemental water. It would look much better if it did, but it lives!

By the way, there are some photos on the gallery of what pigeonberry plants look like if they are watered ... :-)

This post was edited by roselee on Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 13:12


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

I think the best place to get pigeonberry is from a garden!

Put a 'wanted' ad on the Exchanges page, or on craigslist or facebook, & if you don't get pigeonberry that way, post a request on one of the autumn swap threads.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Good advice. They are making seed right now and into the fall. They are easy pickings, not in my yard but wherever they are. Keep your eyes peeled in the woods in that rangy shady area and I bet you will see them on your walks.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Great pictures! Thanks. I'm happy to collect some seed and bring them and some plants to a swap, but as I said, it might be just as easy to just order some seeds. I recommend Native American Seeds.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Great pictures! Thanks. I'm happy to collect some seed and bring them and some plants to a swap, but as I said, it might be just as easy to order some seeds. I recommend Native American Seeds.


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RE: In praise of Pigeonberry

Thanks, everyone, I'm going to order some seed from Native American Seeds. :)


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