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  • 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 x acerifolia)

    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
  • Maple-leaved viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)

    Also known as:

    Maple-leaved viburnum, Maple-leaved arrowwood, Mapleleaf viburnum, dockmackie
    Maple-leaved viburnum is a native, medium-sized under-story shrub, preferring shade and part shade conditions. It makes it a great option for naturalizing in shady areas. The creamy-white, flat-topped flowers in May, black fruit in fall persisting into winter, and excellent pink to dark burgundy fall color add year-round interest.

    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
  • Marmo Freeman maple (Acer freemanii 'Marmo')

    Also known as:

    Marmo Freeman's maple
    This Chicagoland Grows® introduction has a beautiful mix of fall color, displaying a mottled blend of red and green to burgundy and yellow.

    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
  • Meadowsweet (Spiraea alba)

    Also known as:

    Meadowsweet, White meadowsweet, Narrowleaf meadowsweet, pale bridewort
    Meadowsweet is a native, upright, loose shrub reaching 3 to 6 feet high, forming colonies of finely-branches stems. Ideal for wet, sunny landscapes. In mid to-late summer shrubs produce 4-inch long slender clusters of white flowers. Best purchased through nurseries specializing in native plants.

    Size Range:

    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Meserve holly (Ilex x meserveae)

    Also known as:

    Meserve holly, Meserve hybrid hollies
    The Merserve hollies are hybrids that do well in northern climates like the Chicago region. Dark, lustrous blue-green leaves are evergreen and spiny. Like all hollies, there are separate male and female plants and both must be planted for the female plant to produce the showy fruit.

    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
  • Meyer lilac (Syringa meyeri)

    Also known as:

    Meyer lilac
    Meyer lilac is a compact shrub with highly fragrant, lavender flowers and small ruffled leaves. It is fairly resistant to powdery mildew. Place near a patio or sidewalk where the intoxicating fragrance can be enjoyed.

    Size Range:

    • 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
  • Miyabe's maple (Acer miyabei)

    Also known as:

    Miyabe's maple, Miyabe maple
    Wide branches that sweep low to the ground and deeply furrowed, corky bark are among the charms of this densely branched shade tree. Though Miyabe’s maple is listed as endangered in its native habitat in Japan, several cultivars are considered hardy, adaptable urban street trees. The dark green leaves turn golden in fall.

    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
  • Mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa)

    Also known as:

    mockernut hickory, white hickory
    Mockernut hickory, like all hickories, is tap-rooted and thus difficult to transplant. This Illinois native tolerates dry sites fairly well and produces good golden-yellow fall color. It may be difficult to find in nurseries.

    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
  • Mongolian linden (Tilia mongolica)

    Also known as:

    Mongolian linden
    Mongolian linden is smaller than other species of lindens and it has an unusual exfoliating (peeling) bark. It is slower growing than other lindens. Fall color is a moderate yellow.

    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
  • Monkshood (Aconitum napellus)

    Also known as:

    Monkshood, Helmet flower, Wolfsbane
    Monkshood is an upright, 2 to 4 foot high perennial with lovely blue-violet, spiked flowers that appear in mid-to-late summer.The distinctive, helmet-shaped flowers resembling the hood of a monks cape, hence the common name. All parts of this plant is poisonous, especially the bulbous roots, and should be planted with caution, especially near vegetable gardens and where children play.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Moonflower (ANNUAL VINE) (Ipomoea alba)

    Also known as:

    Moonflower
    Moonflower is an an annual vine that is related to morning glories. The flowers are very similar, but this vine produces only white flowers that are larger than those of morning glory.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Moonseed (Menispermum canadense)

    Also known as:

    Moonseed, common moonseed
    Moonseed is a native vine. It tends to be short-lived. It produces interesting lobed leaves, tiny white flowers and dark fruit. All parts of the plant, and especially the fruit, are considered toxic.

    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),
    • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Moor birch (Not recommended) (Betula pubescens)

    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
  • Moor grass (Molinia caerulea)

    Also known as:

    Moor grass, purple moor grass
    Moor grass as the name indicates is commonly found in moors and other moist sites. It is a warm season, clumping grass native to the British Isles, Europe and Asia.

    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
  • Morning glory (ANNUAL VINE) (Ipomoea tricolor)

    Also known as:

    Morning glory
    Morning glory is an annual vine, but it may reseed from year to year. Funnel shaped flowers are produced from mid-summer into fall. Numerous cultivars are available as seeds.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Morrow's sedge (Carex morrowii)

    Also known as:

    Morrow's sedge, Japanese sedge, Japanese grass sedge
    Morrow's sedge is a grass-like plant that can be used as a ground cover. The plant is most commonly sold as variegated cultivars.

    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

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