Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 03, 2012

From: Castleton, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Water Gardens, Wildlife Gardens
Title: Plants for swan food
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I have a farm in VA with a large pond or lake fenced in. I am rescuing a pair of swan and want to grow plants around the fence and pond that they can eat. Could you suggest anything. What about Gogi Berry Plants? Please help.

ANSWER:

Since our focus and expertise are with plants native to North America, we would not recommend Goji berry (Lycium barbarum or Lycium chinense) since both or native to Asia.  Swans will eat a variety of aquatic plants and algae according to TheSwanSanctuary.org and AvianWeb.com.  They prefer eating in the water so submerged and emergent plants are what you are looking for.   They will also eat grasses and plants that grow on the damp shoreline.  You can do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database to find aquatic plants native to Virginia by selecting "Virginia" from the Select State or Province option, "Herb" from Habit (general appearance) and "Wet - soil is saturated with water" from Soil moisture.  To find appropriate grasses, substitute "Grass/grass-like" for "Herb" in the search.  Here are some recommendations from that search, but you can also do the search yourself for other possibilities.

Nymphoides aquatica (Big floatingheart)

Lemna minor (Common duckweed)

Justicia americana (American water-willow)

Eriocaulon aquaticum (Common pipewort)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (Manyflower marshpennywort)

Najas guadalupensis (Common water nymph)

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

Potamogeton nodosus (Knotty pondweed)

Sagittaria latifolia (Broadleaf arrowhead)

Utricularia gibba (Bladderwort)

Vallisneria americana (American eelgrass)

Juncus effusus (Common rush)

Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem)

Carex stipata (Owlfruit sedge)

Rhynchospora colorata (Starrush whitetop)

Spartina alterniflora (Saltmarsh cordgrass)

You can check on the AvianNet page for plants toxic to birds that you will want to avoid.

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Native plants for butterflies and birds in a park in Lampasas, Texas
May 19, 2009 - There is an area along a creek in Lampasas, Texas that I want to establish as a butterfly and bird park. There are various native plants there now, but I want to add plants that are hosts for butterf...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a mixed hedgerow for privacy and for the birds
May 07, 2010 - What are the best native plants for a mixed hedgerow in a small backyard? I want privacy (heights 5'-10') and bird friendly. Thank you for your information.
view the full question and answer

Native plants beneficial to wildlife in Cincinnati, OH
April 25, 2008 - I live in Cincinnati, Ohio and I am looking for native plants to plant in a small area of trees behind my house. I would like the plants to be beneficial for wildlife, like maybe some wildflowers. T...
view the full question and answer

Is Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay) a major nectar source for honeybees?
January 31, 2015 - Is the Sweetbay Magnolia a major nectar source for honeybees?
view the full question and answer

Forage plants for deer in Central Texas
December 06, 2014 - Looking for best forage plants and seed for deer forage, Canyon Lake-New Braunfels, Tx. Have searched listings, but areas are NE or other and not relevant to my location. Your time much appreciated. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.