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Durango Botanic Gardens

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  • Indigenous Literary Garden Plants

Sweetgrass, Hierochloe odorata

  • Produces a vanilla-like scent when leaves are dried and burned

  • Commonly used by numerous tribes for prayer, smudging and purification ceremonies. Used by such tribes as Mohawk and Chippewa in basket making for decorative trim.

  • Found in meadows and along streams (our specimens are located along the upper 

  • end of the “stream bed”
  • Called “the hair of our mother” in indigenous cultures - referenced in Robin 

  • Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass

Silver Buffalo Berry, Shepherdia argentea

  • Tall shrub up to 7ft or more with grayish leaves and red berries on the female plant

  • Tolerant of high pH soils like ours and drought and cold tolerant

  • For indigenous peoples it provided fruit for nutrition and medicinal use

  • The Navajo used the ashes to make a lotion to soothe headaches, toothaches and sore throats.

  • (Our specimen planted in Fall, 2021)

Showy Milkweed, Asclepius speciosa

  • Pink flowers are especially attractive to beneficial insects, critical to the survival of Monarch butterflies.

  • Seed pods burst open to show long, silvery white hairs    

  • Indigenous people ate the flowers of this 2-4ft plant raw and cooked the shoots like asparagus

Great Plains or Soapweed Yucca, Yucca glauca 

  • A very hardy native with gray green leaves, and pendulous greenish white flowers which form a woody seed pod. It can reach heights up to 4ft.

  • Indigenous people used the roots for making soap and the fibrous leaves for making baskets

  • For the Durango gardener, they can provide seasonal interest with their spectacular flower, and gray leaves which hold color all Winter.

James’s Buckwheat, Eriogonum jamesii

  • Characterized by cream colored flowers this native plant grows to around 1’ in height. It is also distinguished by basal hairy or fuzzy leaves which turn red in the Fall.  A good plant for seasonal interest in Durango. A somewhat showier variety, Kannah Creek, is often available locally.

  • Among the Ute, and Zuni people as well, a tea was made from the roots, and used as an eyewash and also to treat headaches.

Stay Connected

Durango Botanic Gardens

Our Location:

The Durango Botanic Gardens are physically located at the Durango Public Library, to the north and east of the library.  The library is located at 1900 E. 3rd Ave., Durango.

There is no admission charge.  Stroll the gardens yourself (there is ample signage in most gardens) or call us at 970-880-4841 to arrange a group tour. See our Information Tab for more.

Contact Us:

10 Town Plaza, #460
Durango, CO  81301    

Phone:  970-880-4841

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