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For Your Garden - June 2009

Listen to the podcast (English or Spanish) of this information.
Click here to read the Spanish-language version of the text.
 
Warmer temperatures, an increasing amount of daylight and beautiful flowers are just some of the reasons that people enjoy spring. Native wildflowers make wonderful additions to your garden as well as providing food and shelter for native wildlife. Their brilliantly colored blossoms and interesting shapes will make your landscape a showplace. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year, and they require very little care.
 

green dragon (Arisaema dracontium)
Photo © 2008, Adele Hodde, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
 
Green dragon is in the arum or calla family and is related to Jack-in-the-pulpit. Found statewide, it grows in bottomland forests and blooms from May through June. A large green, pointed spathe, or floral leaf, partially surrounds the spadix, where the plant's flowers are clustered. In this plant, the spadix is much longer than the spathe. The leaf is very large and divided into five to 15 leaflets. The leaflets are held horizontally. Fertilized flowers produce green berries that turn bright red-orange in late summer. The plant may reach from one to four feet tall at maturity.
 
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