For Your Garden - October 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.
wild petunia Ruellia humilis
Photo © River Valley Photographic Resources, Ltd.
Wild petunia, also known as hairy wild petunia, can be found statewide in Illinois in dry woods, on bluffs, along roads and railroads and in prairies. Stems are hairy and usually no more than one foot tall. Leaves are also covered with hairs. Leaves are arranged opposite each other on the stem. Flowers do not have stalks. They are produced at the base of leaves in the middle and upper sections of the plant with each flower lasting only about one day. Blooming occurs from May through October. Flowers are shades of blue and purple. Long-tongued bees are important pollinators of the flowers.
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.