Browse Trees and Plants

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  • Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa )

    Also known as:

    Kousa dogwood
    Kousa dogwood is an excellent small specimen tree. Two outstanding characteristics are the four-petaled, white flowers that appear above the foliage in June and reddish-purple fall color. In the Midwest, this is a hardier substitute for the acid-loving flowering dogwood. The shallow root system will benefit from a layer of mulch to maintain a cool root environment.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Labrador violet (Viola labradorica)

    Also known as:

    Labrador violet, alpine violet, dog violet, American dog violet
    Violets are often thought of as weeds in the garden, but they can also serve as ground covers. Labrador violet offers no fragrance, but it does has pretty purple flowers in mid- to late spring.

    Size Range:

    • Low-growing plant (under 6 inches)

    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:

    • North America
  • Lacebark elm (Ulmus parvifolia)

    Also known as:

    Lacebark elm, Chinese elm
    Chinese or lacebark elm stands out from other elms. It has an unusual mottled bark, leaves that are smaller than those of other elm species and good resistance to Dutch elm disease (DED) and elm leaf beetle.

    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
  • Lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana)

    Also known as:

    lacebark pine
    Lacebark pine has a very distinctive mottled bark that sets it apart from other pines.  Branches on this pine can be brittle and more prone to storm damage.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina )

    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
  • Lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

    Also known as:

    Lady's mantle, bear's foot, lion's foot, nine hooks
    Lady's mantle is a clump forming perennial that is often used as a ground cover. Planting individual plant close together gives the appearance of a ground cover. In addition, this plant tends to self-seed and so helps to maintain the ground cover effect by filling in with small seedlings.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina)

    Also known as:

    Lamb's ears, woolly betony, woolly woundwort
    Lamb's ears is well loved for its densely hairy leaves. Keeping those fuzzy leaves dry is important for the health and beauty of this plant.

    Size Range:

    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Large Fothergilla (Fothergilla major)

    Also known as:

    Large Fothergilla, Witch-Alder
    Large Fothergilla is a large, rounded shrub with excellent 4-season interest. Early flowering, honey-scented bottle brush-like flowers appear before the leaves, summer foliage is a clean, blue-green changing to outstanding shades of orange, red, and yellow fall color.

    Size Range:

    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
    • 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
  • Late Lilac (Syringa villosa)

    Also known as:

    Late lilac
    Late lilac is a large, dense, rounded shrub with erect, ascending branches. The large, rosy-lilac flowers appear in mid-June after other lilacs have finished. A showy shrub used as a specimen, in borders, or as a hedge.

    Size Range:

    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Leadplant (Amorpha canescens )

    Also known as:

    Leadplant
    Leadplant is a upright, rounded shrub, native to the Midwest, that does well in dry sandy to clay soil; the attractive gray-green foliage adds nice contrast in rock gardens. The purplish-blue flower spikes in June and July serve as a host to caterpillars, as well as a nectar source for butterflies, and a food source for birds.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)

    Also known as:

    Leadwort, plumbago, dwarf plumbago, Chinese leadwort
    Despite its somewhat understated common name, leadwort can add some zing to the garden, with truly blue flowers and a little red leaf color in autumn.

    Size Range:

    • Small plant (6-12 inches)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Leather bergenia (Bergenia crassifolia)

    Also known as:

    Leather bergenia, heartleaf bergenia, pigsqueak
    Leather bergenia is an evergreen perennial that is often planted in groups and used as a ground cover. If spreads slowly by short rhizomes.

    Size Range:

    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum)

    Also known as:

    Leatherleaf viburnum
    Leatherleaf viburnum is considered a large, rough textured, evergreen shrub, but in northern climates it will lose its leaves in late autumn and often suffers stem dieback in cold winters. While the creamy white flowers light up the spring landscape, this species offers no fall color change and very little fruiting.

    Size Range:

    • Compact tree (10-15 feet),
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Leatherwood (Dirca palustris )

    Also known as:

    Leatherwood, Eastern Leatherwood
    Leatherwood is an interesting, under-used native shrub with small yellow flowers in early spring before leaves emerge. Light green leaves turn a bright yellow color in autumn. This plant is difficult to find in commercial nurseries.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Lemoine's Deutzia (Deutzia lemoinei)

    Also known as:

    Lemoine's Deutzia, Lemoine Deutzia
    Lemoine's Deutzia is a mounded, densely twiggy shrub with erect branches. Outstanding pure white flower clusters appear in May . Medium green foliage turns a clear yellow in the fall. Use in groups, shrub borders and foundation plantings.

    Size Range:

    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)

    Also known as:

    Lily-of-the-Valley, Lily of the Valley, Lady's tears
    Lily-of-the-valley is an old-fashioned, shade-loving ground cover reaching 6 to 8 inches tall. In mid-spring many bell-shaped, waxy white flowers appear on an erect stalk.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Limber pine (Pinus flexilis)

    Also known as:

    limber pine
    This under-used pine, native to the western United States, is more tolerant of alkaline soils than the Eastern white pine. The dark blue green needles help this tree stand out in the landscape.

    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:

    • North America
  • Linden Viburnum (Viburnum dilatatum)

    Also known as:

    Linden viburnum
    Linden viburnum is a multi-stemmed, upright to rounded shrub reaching 8 to 10 feet high and wide. Profuse clusters of white, flat-topped flowers are followed by showy red fruits often persisting into winter. Fall color can be a kaleidoscope of orange, red and yellow. A great four season plant for the shrub border. This species has demonstrated some invasive tendency in select states. Consult your local state invasive list.

    Size Range:

    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium (syn. Andropogon scoparius))

    Also known as:

    Little bluestem, prairie beard grass
    Little bluestem is a prairie grass native to Illinois. It is shorter than many prairie grasses, growing only 2 to 4 feet tall. It is prized for its small fluffy seed heads and good fall color.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Little-leaved linden (Tilia cordata)

    Also known as:

    little-leaved linden, littleleaf linden
    Little-leaved linden is a great shade tree for lawns or parkway plantings in urban settings due to its ability to withstand polluted environments. It has shiny dark green leaves that turn a clear yellow in fall, and in summer it has dangling, fragrant pale yellow flowers. This tree is prone to attack by Japanese beetles.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Loebner's magnolia (Magnolia loebneri)

    Also known as:

    Loebner's magnolia, Loebner magnolia
    This hybrid magnolia has excellent hardiness and a beautiful display of white flowers.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • London planetree (Platanus xacerifolia)

    Also known as:

    London planetree
    London planetree is a hybrid resulting from a cross between the native sycamore and the non-native Asian planetree. Like sycamore, this is a large tree with beautiful peeling bark.

    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
  • Long-leaved lungwort (Pulmonaria longifolia)

    Also known as:

    Long-leaved lungwort, lungwort, Joseph and Mary, Spotted Dog
    Long-leaved lungwort is a clumping perennial that is often planted in groups to form a ground cover. This plant has spotted leaves that are attractive long after the spring flowers are gone.

    Size Range:

    • Small plant (6-12 inches)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Longspur barrenwort (Epimedium grandiflorum)

    Also known as:

    Longspur barrenwort, longspur epimedium, longspur bishop's hat, bishop's cap,fairy wings
    There are several species of barrenwort that are commonly used as ground covers, and longspur barrenwort is one of the showiest, due to its relatively large flowers. Other species and hybrids of barrenwort are listed at the end of this page. All of them do well in shady sites.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Lungwort hybrids (Pulmonaria hybrids)

    Also known as:

    lungwort, Pulmonaria
    The hybrid lungworts vary in their origin. Some are the result of crossing two species and some are from chance seedlings. These hybrids are the dominant lungworts found in commerce today. Like other species of Pulmonaria, these hybrids are clumping perennials that are often planted in groups to form a ground cover.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Magnolia (Magnolia)

    Also known as:

    Magnolia
    Magnolias are among the most beautiful and popular landscape plants. While their principal attraction is spectacular large flowers, magnolias also offer homeowners a variety of sizes, forms, and textures from smaller shrub-like plants to large specimen trees. Although there are a number of magnolias that have proven hardy in our area, only a handful of varieties are commonly planted.
  • Magnolia hybrids (Magnolia hybrids)

    Also known as:

    Hybrid magnolia,little girl hybrid magnolias, yellow flowered hybrid magnolias
    Magnolias are among the most beautiful and popular landscape plants. A number of hybrid magnolias have been developed to provide a wider range of sizes, shapes and floral characteristics. Some of the more common hybrids and their cultivars are presented here.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet),
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet),
    • Small tree (15-25 feet),
    • Compact tree (10-15 feet),
    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Maidenhair fern (Adiantum pedatum)

    Also known as:

    Maidenhair Fern, Northern Maidenhair fern
    Maidenhair fern is a unique, airy fern with fan-shaped fronds growing around a horseshoe-shaped stem.

    Size Range:

    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Manchurian lilac (Syringa patula )

    Also known as:

    Manchurian lilac
    Manchurian lilac is known mainly for the cultivar 'Miss Kim'. Wonderfully fragrant lilac flowers that fade to light pink in spring. The ruffled foliage turns a purple-red fall color. More resistant to powdery mildew than other lilacs.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Mandevilla (ANNUAL VINE) (Mandevilla hybrids)

    Also known as:

    Mandevilla
    Mandevilla is a annual, tropical vine that is also sometimes grown as a house plant.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native

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