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TREES & plants

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  • Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed)

    Also known as: Common milkweed

    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Common milkweed is a butterfly magnet and an important plant for the monarch butterfly eggs and larvae. This aggressive spreader reaches 3 to 5 feet tall and will grow in thickets, woodland borders, fields, fence rows, and areas along railroads and roadsides.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)

    Also known as: Butterfly weed, Butterfly milkweed, Butterfly plant

    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Like other milkweeds, this plant is a nectar source for many species of butterflies, giving it its common name. It is also a caterpillar and larva host for the monarch butterfly, which may blend in with the abundant clusters of vibrant orange flowers that cover the tops of the plants in summer. Butterfly weed is native to prairies and glades in the Chicago area and the Midwest.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Asimina triloba (Pawpaw)

    Also known as: pawpaw, paw paw, Indiana banana, prairie banana

    Whether planted in full sun or part shade, the pawpaw tree, native to the Midwest, works well as a specimen, or can be useful as a screen. Nodding, dark purple flowers in the spring, elongated edible fruit in the summer, and a yellow to yellow-green fall color add to the appeal of this small understory tree.

    Size Range: 
    • Small tree (15-25 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Athyrium filix-femina (Lady fern)

    Also known as: Lady fern

    Lady fern, with its finely cut leaves provides interesting texture to shady areas. It can also be used in sunny areas, but consistent watering is then required.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches), 
    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Baccharis halimifolia (Groundsel-tree)

    Also known as: groundsel-tree; groundsel-bush; groundseltree; eastern baccharis

    Groundsel-tree is a fast-growing, large shrub with stiff, finely densed, spreading branches. Silver-gray foliage turns a purplish-red in fall. Native to southern U.S. coastal areas. Highly salt tolerant. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • North America

  • Berberis koreana (Korean barberry)

    Also known as: Korean barberry

    Showy yellow flower clusters, reddish-purple fall color, and persistent egg-shaped red berries make Korean boxwood an attractive year-round shrub. May be difficult to locate in nursery trade. Barberry are also on some state lists as invasive.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet), 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)

    Also known as: Japanese barberry, barberry

    A common sight in yards and gardens throughout eastern North America, this Asian shrub is invasive and should not be planted. Growing three to six feet tall, it is most easily identified by its small, rounded leaves, spiny stems, and red berries that develop in summer. Birds and rodents eat the fruits and distribute the seeds widely. Its branches form roots when in contact with the soil.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet), 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Betula 'Madison' (Madison White Satin™ birch)

    Also known as: White Satin™ birch

    White Satin™ birch, a Chicagoland Grows® introduction, provides beautiful white bark and good resistance to the bronze birch borer (BBB). The hybrid offers good yellow fall color.

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet), 
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow birch)

    Also known as: yellow birch

    Yellow birch, an Illinois native, has a silvery bronze bark that peels into small strips. Fall color is yellow. This species some resistance to bronze birch borer.

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Betula lenta (Sweet birch)

    Also known as: sweet birch, black birch, cherry birch

    Sweet birch is an attractive tree for lawns and naturalized areas, with shiny, red-brown bark and yellow foliage. Native to the eastern United States, the tree also attracts beautiful butterflies to the landscape, serving as a caterpillar/larval host. This species is resistant to bronze birch borer (BBB).

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • North America

  • Betula nigra (River birch)

    Also known as: river birch, red birch

    River birch is a popular, fast-growing native tree for the home landscape. Attractive salmon-pink to reddish-brown bark exfoliates to reveal lighter inner bark. Dark green foliage turns a beautiful buttery yellow in the fall. This species is resistant to bronze birch borer (BBB).

    Size Range: 
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Betula nigra 'Little King' (Fox Valley™ river birch)

    Also known as: Fox Valley™ river birch

    The Fox Valley™ river birch is a Chicagoland Grows® introduction that demonstrates resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB). It is a dense, compact tree with glossy green leaves and exfoliating bark.

    Size Range: 
    • Compact tree (10-15 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Betula papyrifera (Paper birch)

    Also known as: paper birch, white birch, canoe birch

    This native tree has lovely white bark and yellow fall color, but is not a good tree for tough sites. It demonstrates some resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB).

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Betula papyrifera 'Renci' (RENAISSANCE REFLECTION® paper birch)

    Also known as: RENAISSANCE REFLECTION® paper birch

    The Renaissance Reflection® birch is a tall, fast-growing tree with striking bark that displays dark green foliage throughout the season, transitioning to a golden color in the fall. This tree is resistant to bronze birch borer (BBB) but does not do well when exposed to drought or polluted conditions.

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Betula pendula (European white birch (Not recommended))

    Also known as: European white birch, silver birch, warty birch, weeping birch

    Due to susceptibility to bronze birch borer (BBB), European white birch is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually require removal and/or replacement. This tree has an attractive pendulous habit. European white birch was once used extensively in landscapes, but its high susceptibility to the bronze birch borer has limited its use in more recent years.

    Size Range: 
    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Betula populifolia (Gray birch)

    Also known as: gray birch, white birch, poplar birch

    Gray birch is a narrow, pyramidal tree of cool climates. Bright green leaves turn a yellow fall color. Older trees develop a chalky white bark that does not peel. A good selection for poor soils and other difficult sites, it also demonstrates some resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB).

    Size Range: 
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet), 
    • Small tree (15-25 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • North America

  • Betula populifolia 'Whitespire' (Whitespire Senior gray birch)

    Also known as: Whitespire Senior gray birch, Whitespire birch

    This cultivar demonstrates good resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB). The name 'Whitespire' was incorrectly assigned to Betula platyphylla. It is now assigned to Betula populifolia and the plants are often sold under the name 'Whitespire Senior' to avoid confusion.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • North America

  • Betula pubescens (Moor birch (Not recommended))

    Also known as: moor birch, Eurasian paper birch

    Due to susceptibility to bronze birch borer (BBB), moor birch is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually require removal and/or replacement. Moor birch has a narrow habit and gray-white bark.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet), 
    • Small tree (15-25 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Betula pumila (Bog birch)

    Also known as: bog birch; American dwarf birch; dwarf birch; low birch; swamp birch

    Bog birch is common in the upper Midwest. It is a medium-sized, short-lived, clump-forming shrub for wet habitats. It may be difficult to find in the nursery trade.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Betula utilis (Betula jacquemontii, Betula utilis var jacquemontii) (Himalayan birch (Not recommended))

    Also known as: Himalayan birch, white-barked Himalayan birch, whitebarked Himalayan birch,

    Due to susceptibility to bronze birch borer (BBB), Himalayan birch is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually require removal and/or replacement. Himalayan birch has yellow fall color.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Bouteloua curtipendula (Side oats grama)

    Also known as: Side oats grama, mesquite grass, tall grama grass

    Side oats grama was a common grass in both the tallgrass and shortgrass prairies even though it is a shorter grass (about 2 to 2 1/2 feet). It is most often found in drier areas away from the shade of the taller grasses. It is a warm season grass and considered a clumping grass, even though it does send out short rhizomes.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Bouteloua gracilus (Blue grama)

    Also known as: Blue grama, mosquito grass

    Blue grama is smaller than the closely related side oats grama, growing only 8 to 15 inches tall. It was a common grass in the shortgrass prairie.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium plant (12-24 inches), 
    • Small plant (6-12 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Buchloe dactyloides (Buffalograss)

    Also known as: Buffalograss

    Buffalograss is native to the western areas of the tallgrass prairie. It is sometimes listed as native to the Chicago region, but it is thought to be introduced from further west. This is a low-growing, warm season, running grass.

    Size Range: 
    • Small plant (6-12 inches), 
    • Low-growing plant (under 6 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)

    Also known as: Butterfly bush, Summer lilac

    A long-blooming shrub or woody perennial with dense clusters of fragrant flowers, butterfly bush attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Often considered a sub-shrub because it dies back to the ground. A great addition to sunny borders and dry open gardens. Also known as Buddleia davidii.

    Size Range: 
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet), 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Buxus hybrids (Boxwood hybrids)

    Also known as: Boxwood, hybrid boxwood, common box, boxwood cultivars

    Boxwoods are excellent, low-growing, evergreen shrubs with dark green, finely textured leaves. Boxwoods can be used as hedges, rounded specimens and neatly compact background plants in any landscape. Many of the boxwoods sold today are hybrids with complex parentage.

    Size Range: 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet), 
    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Buxus microphylla var. koreana (Korean Boxwood)

    Also known as: Korean boxwood, Littleleaf boxwood

    Korean boxwood is a small, mounded, broadleaf evergreen shrub with small, glossy, light green leaves with a uniform formal habit.

    Size Range: 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet), 
    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Buxus sempervirens (Common Boxwood)

    Also known as: Common boxwood, Box, Common Box

    Common boxwood is a broadly rounded evergreen shrub or small tree. Native to Europe, Asia and Africa found in open woodlands and rocky hillsides. A popular ornamental evergreen used as hedges, borders and topiary. Named because wood was popular for making boxes and cabinets.

    Size Range: 
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet), 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet), 
    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily), 
    • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Calamagrostis brachytricha (Korean reed grass)

    Also known as: Korean reed grass, short-haired reed grass

    Korean reed grass is a warm season, clumping grass. This non-native grass provides multiple seasons of interest in the home landscape.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Calamagrostis x acutiflora (Feather reed grass)

    Also known as: Feather reed grass

    Feather reed grass is a hybrid of non-native grasses. It is a cool season grass that offers a very narrow, upright habit and interest in winter. It is a clumping grass.

    Size Range: 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Callicarpa dichotoma (Purple beautyberry)

    Also known as: Purple beautyberry

    Purple beautyberry is a small shrub with finely textured leaves that turns shades of yellow and purple in the fall. It is grown for its unusual bright lilac-colored fall berries borne in dense clusters along the graceful arching stems.When planted en masse it is particularly attractive for fall interest in the landscape.

    Size Range: 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet), 
    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

    Light Exposure: 
    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), 
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

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