For Your Garden - January 2018
Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
New Jersey tea Ceanothus americanus
New Jersey tea, also known as wild snowball, may be found statewide in Illinois. It grows in dry, open woods, on rocky slopes and in moist to dry prairie edges. This perennial shrub can grow to a height of about three feet. Its leaves are arranged alternately along the stem. Leaves are usually hairy on the lower surface. Flowers are produced from June through August. These white flowers develop in clusters at the stem tip. Insects are the main pollinators while the seeds are dispersed from the explosive action of ripe fruit. The leaves and fruit of this plant are used for food by wildlife.
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.