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For Your Garden - August 2010

Listen to the podcast of this information.

Native wildflowers abundantly adorn the landscape with their colorful blossoms! Are you using native wildflowers in your garden? Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. They also provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.

 
leadplant (Amorpha canescens)
Photo © 2010, River Valley Photographic Resources, Ltd., rvprltd.com
 
Leadplant is a species that is commonly found in prairies in the northern two-thirds of the state. It does grow throughout Illinois, however. Its leaves are arranged alternately along the stem, and each contains from 21 to 51 leaflets. It blooms from May through August. The flowers are dark purple and are produced in a spike at the stem tip. They attract many pollinators. The fruit is a pod. Leadplant grows from one to three feet in height. The name “leadplant” was given to it due to the gray-green color of its leaves.
 
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.

Native Plant Information

For more information about native Illinois plants, including where to purchase them and planting guides, view the following publications at our publications page. You can access more information on the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant page, too.
 
  • Prairie Establishment and Landscaping
  • Landscaping for Wildlife
  • Butterfly Gardens