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TREES & Plants

Using the Tree and Plant Finder

You can search the entire list of plant descriptions or use the Tree and Plant Finder to find only plants that have certain characteristics or would fit in certain situations.
 

Search

Use the “SEARCH TERMS” box at the right to search for a plant by common name, botanical name, or key words. In the results list, click on “LEARN MORE” for more details on a tree or plant.
 

Tree and Plant Finder

Use the check boxes at right to specify particular characteristics or needs and click the green “SUBMIT" button at the bottom. The Tree and Plant Finder will narrow the list to only those plants that fit the bill. In the results list, Click on “LEARN MORE” for more details on a tree or plant.
 

Tips

Here are a few tips for using the Tree and Plant Finder.
 

PLANT TYPE: If you’re not sure whether the plant is a small tree or a shrub, or whether it is a perennial or a ground cover, check both boxes.

NATIVE SPECIES: If you check “North America,” the results list will include plants native to Illinois and to the Chicago area as well as the rest of the continent. If you click “Chicago area,” the results list will include only plants native to northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana, based on Plants of the Chicago Region by Floyd Swink & Gerould Wilhelm.

HARDINESS ZONES: These refer to the US Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which divides the country into regions based on their average low winter temperature ranges. Plants are assigned to hardiness zones based on the low temperatures they have been found to tolerate. Chicago is in Zone 6a, with an average low temperature range of 5 to 10 degrees below zero. Suburban areas to the north and west of the city are in Zone 5b, with a slightly colder low temperature range of 10 to 15 degrees below zero. To find plants hardy to Zone 5, click that box. To find plants that are hardy from Zone 5 to Zone 8, click all the boxes in that range. 

FOLIAGE: Evergreen plants keep green leaves all year. Deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves in winter.

GROWTH RATE: This rate is relative to the type of plant. For example, what is a fast growth rate for a tree would be slow for a vine.

LIGHT EXPOSURE: If you are not sure how much daylight there is in the place where you plan to put the plant, click all the boxes you think might apply.

CAN TOLERATE:To find plants that can tolerate less than perfect growing conditions, click the boxes that apply to your site.

SOIL PREFERENCE:  Click the type of soil you have to find plants suited to it.

FLOWERING, COLOR AND FRAGRANCE:These boxes refer to flowering plants, such as shrubs, ornamental trees and perennials.

TIME OF YEAR: These boxes refer to the time of year that the plant is most attractive. For example a tree with lovely fall color is most attractive in the fall, while a flowering shrub may be at its most attractive in spring or summer. Many plants are interesting in multiple seasons for different reasons, such as interesting bark in winter but flowers in summer. You can check multiple boxes.

SIZE RANGE: You can check more than one box. For example, to see what plant might fit under a power line, you might check both “Large shrub” and “Compact tree.”

SHAPE OR FORM: Some terms, such as “Oval,” will apply better to trees and some, such as “Creeping” will apply better to shrubs and perennials. 

LANDSCAPE USES: Check all that apply. “Utility” refers to trees and shrubs that are compact enough to fit safely beneath a power or telephone line.