|Arrow-wood with a Silver-spotted Skipper nectaring|
They are blooming right about now, with their blooms attracting a fair amount of insects, despite the flowers frankly not smelling very good. More importantly, the plants themselves are host plants for over a 100 species of caterpillars, which in turn feed so many other birds and bats. The berries are also eaten by a fair number of birds. A great wildlife plant all around.
The plant derives its name from the fact that some Native American Indian tribes, particularly those without access to reeds, used the stalks for arrow shafts. The stems, especially those young ones suckering from the center of the clump, tend to grow fairly straight. That is an unusual trait among shrubs which native peoples were keen to utilize.
|The straight stems used for arrow shafts by some tribes|
While these days we do not concern ourselves with the ethnobotanical properties of this plant, we can be confident that it is a beautiful, adaptable shrub with many benefits for wildlife. That's enough reason to plant it' I'd say.