Browse Trees and Plants

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  • Pale Indian plantain (Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (syn. Cacalia atriplicifolia))

    Pale Indian plantain in full flower.

    Also known as:

    Pale Indian plantain
    Pale Indian plantain is a herbaceous perennial with a large central stalk, silvery-coated, irregularly-shaped leaves, and a terminal, flat-topped, inflorescence of white flowers surrounded by stiff green bracts. The late to midsummer flowers work for naturalizing, back of the border and cottage gardens.

    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
  • Panicled hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)

    Flowers of panicled hydrangea.

    Also known as:

    Panicled hydrangea, Peegee hydrangea, Pee gee hydrangea, Panicle hydrangea
    The white flower clusters of this summer-blooming shrub add a fresh note of color to the landscape. Native to China and Japan, panicled hydrangea is one of the more cold-hardy species of hydrangea. It blooms on branches that grow in the current season, so even a harsh winter does not stop the flower show. The flowers are held upright on sturdy stems and contrast nicely with the green foliage. It ranges in size, from dwarf, 2 to 3 feet high all the way to tree-like 15 to 20 feet, depending upon the cultivar.

    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
  • Paper birch (Betula papyrifera)

    Paper birch has smooth, white bark.

    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
  • Paper-barked maple (Acer griseum)

    Attractive, peeling bark of parper-barked maple.

    Also known as:

    paper-barked maple, paperbark maple
    This attractive small- to medium-sized ornamental tree is excellent for a small area or for adding structure to a mixed perennial garden. Paper-barked maple is a great plant for four seasons: Winter and spring are highlighted with cinnamon-colored, exfoliating bark that is accentuated by light snow, while summer brings delicate leaves with a bluish cast that can turn bronze in fall.

    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
  • Patriot elm (Ulmus 'Patriot')

    Summer foliage of the 'Patriot' elm.

    Also known as:

    Patriot elm
    The Patriot elm has excellent resistance to Dutch elm disease (DED), excellent resistance to elm leaf beetles, and some resistance to elm yellows. This complex hybrid is fast-growing, vigorous, and easily established. It has glossy green foliage with yellow fall color. It is useful as street, parkway, or shade tree.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

    Pawpaw fruit.

    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
  • Pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)

    The white flowers of pearly everlasting.

    Also known as:

    Pearly everlasting, pearly-everlasting, western pearly everlasting
    Pearly everlasting is a North American native perennial found in dry sunny, gravelly fields and wood edges. It grows about 3 feet high on upright stems with a flat-topped clusters of small white flowers with yellow centers and silver-gray foliage. It blooming in late summer. This is a larval host for the painted lady butterfly.

    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:

    • North America
  • Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)

    Leaves of the pecan tree.

    Also known as:

    pecan
    The pecan is one of the most important native nut trees in North America. It is a large, straight-trunked tree native to river bottoms and rich fertile soils. The nut, a beloved pie ingredient, ripens in the fall.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Peking cotoneaster (Cotoneaster acutifolia)

    Also known as:

    Peking cotoneaster
    Peking cotoneaster, often confused with hedge cotoneaster, is a large shrub for back of the border. Small pink flowers and reddish, persistent fruit attract birds and wildlife.

    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
  • Peking lilac (Syringa pekinensis )

    Peking lilac has attractive, peeling bark.

    Also known as:

    Peking lilac, Pekin lilac
    The Peking lilac is a dependable urban tree and a great choice even for parking lot, boulevard, and parkway plantings. Native to Asia, it is both hardy and beautiful, with attractive, amber-colored, peeling bark. In early summer it has large, creamy-white, honey-scented flower clusters.

    Size Range:

    • Small tree (15-25 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Perennial sweetpea (Lathyrus latifolius)

    Flowers of perennial sweetpea.

    Also known as:

    Perennial sweetpea
    Perennial sweetpeas produce pink or white pea-type flowers in summer. Despite name, the flowers are not fragrant.

    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
  • Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica)

    Mature specimen of Persian ironwood.

    Also known as:

    Persian ironwood, parrotia, Persian parrotia
    Persian parrotia or Persian ironwood is a small upright tree or large, rounded, multi-stemmed shrub. Related to witch-hazel, the oblong green leaves turn various shades of red, orange and yellow in the fall, often persisting into the winter months. The mature bark exfoliates to patches of green, tan and white.

    Size Range:

    • 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
  • Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

    Persimmon fruit.

    Also known as:

    Persimmon, Common Persimmon
    Persimmon is a southeastern U.S. native tree that is easily recognized in winter by its unusual rugged, blocky bark. Female trees produce large orange-brown fleshy fruit that are edible after the first frost. Thick, dark green leaves turn a yellow fall color. Native persimmon is not readily available in nurseries, but several selected cultivars are produced for their edible fruit.

    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:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Pignut hickory (Carya glabra)

    A pignut hickory nut.

    Also known as:

    pignut hickory
    Pignut hickory is a large tree that has a tall, but relatively narrow crown. The bark is tight rather than shaggy and fall color is golden. The nuts produced are bitter tasting.

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)

    Spring flowers of pin cherry.

    Also known as:

    Pin cherry, Bird cherry, Wild red cherry, Fire cherry
    Pin cherry is a fast-growing, slender tree reaching 30 feet tall with a narrow crown, often forming dense colonies. This short-lived tree is often found growing in sunny, dry soils and one of the first trees to appear after fires. Attractive, reddish brown bark is marked with horizontal bands of orange-colored lenticels. Difficult to find in nursery trade. Native to Midwest.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Pin oak (Quercus palustris)

    A mature pin oak.

    Also known as:

    pin oak
    Pin oak is an Illinois native and has been widely planted in landscapes for many years. Unfortunately this tree suffers greatly from chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves due to high soil pH. Pin oak is no longer recommended for landscapes in areas with high soil pH.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Pink muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

    Also known as:

    Pink muhly, pink hair grass, sweetgrass
    Pink muhly is an annual grass in northern Illinois, but it may be worth planting for the showy display of flowers very late in the season (October).

    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:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Porcelain vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)

    Porcelain vine has beautiful blue and purple berries.

    Also known as:

    Porcelain vine, Amur peppervine
    Porcelain vine is a woody vine that produces berries in beautiful shades of purple and bright blue. Unfortunately these fruits contain seeds and the plant self-seeds aggressively making it weedy. This plant is under observation and may be listed on official invasive species lists in the near future. Review of risks should be undertaken before selecting this vine for planting sites.

    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
  • Possum-haw (Ilex decidua)

    The red fruit of possum-haw.

    Also known as:

    Possum-haw, Possumhaw, Swamp Holly
    Possum-haw holly is a southern deciduous shrub that can grow tree-like in its native habitat. In the Midwest if reaches 10 to 12 feet high but in the south it can be 20 to 30 feet high. Dark green foliage turns brownish- yellow in fall before dropping. Early white flowers appear before the leaves. Female plants will produce bright red, persistent fruit. Requires male and female plant to produce fruit.

    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:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Prairie cord grass (Spartina pectinata)

    A grouping of prairie cord grass.

    Also known as:

    Prairie cord grass, prairie cordgrass, slough grass, rip gut, marsh grass
    Prairie cord grass, unlike many grasses of the tallgrass prairie, is found in wet prairies and marshy areas. This grass is a running grass that can spread aggressively by rhizomes. It has a beautiful arching form that suggests motion.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Prairie crabapple (Malus ioensis)

    Flowers of prairie crabapple.

    Also known as:

    prairie crabapple, Iowa crabapple
    Prairie crabapple was once commonly found throughout the Midwest prairies and savannas. Spectacular in bloom, deep pink flower buds open to white flowers. Their fruit is popular with a myriad of wildlife. Unfortunately, prairie crabapple is susceptible to many foliar diseases.

    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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)

    Prairie dropseed in full flower.

    Also known as:

    Prairie dropseed, Northern dropseed
    Prairie dropseed is a smaller prairie grass, growing only about 3 feet tall. It has a graceful arching habit and flowers late in the season.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Prairie rose (Rosa setigera)

    Flowers of prairie rose.

    Also known as:

    Prairie rose; Climbing rose; Illinois rose; Sunshine rose; Michigan rose
    Prairie rose, also called Illinois rose, is a wide spreading, native shrub or climbing rose with arching stems. The large, pink, slightly fragrant roses bloom in June and fade to white followed by bristly red fruits. Fall color is a kaleidoscope of red, orange, purple, and yellow.

    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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Prairie willow (Salix humilis)

    Prairie willow shrubs.

    Also known as:

    Prairie willow, upland willow, small pussy willow, dwarf willow
    Prairie willow is a dwarf shrubby willow reaching 4 to 6 feet high, but can grow as high as 10 feet with branches reaching low to the ground. Often found in upland open prairies, along roadsides, and disturbed sandy soil. One of the first shrubs to flower in the spring before the leaves emerge.

    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
  • Prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum americanum)

    Dark green compound leaves of prickly-ash

    Also known as:

    Prickly-ash, Prickly ash, Pricklyash, Toothache tree
    Prickly-ash is a tall, colony-forming small tree or large shrub reaching 15 to 25 feet tall and wide. Twigs and stems are covered in 1/2 inch prickles making it difficult to use in the landscape. In spite of its common name, it is not related to Ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) of the Olive family. Rarely found in the nursery trade.

    Size Range:

    • 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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Primrose rose (Rosa primula)

    The yellow flower of primrose rose.

    Also known as:

    Primrose rose, incense rose
    Primrose rose, also known as incense rose, is a highly fragrant, pale yellow, wild shrub rose. The upright, arching stems reach 5 to 6 feet high with small glossy, serrated leaflets. A one-time bloomer in early May, best for mixed borders and massing. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

    Size Range:

    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Princeton elm (Ulmus americana 'Princeton')

    A specimen of American elm, cultivar 'Princeton'.

    Also known as:

    Princeton elm
    The Princeton elm exhibits good resistance to Dutch elm disease (DED) and demonstrates resistance to elm beetles as well. This large, fast-growing tree is tolerant of many adverse site conditions.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Prospector elm (Ulmus davidiana var. japonica 'Prospector')

    Also known as:

    Prospector elm, Prospector Wilson's elm
    The Prospector elm is a hybrid of Asian elm species; it is smaller than the American elm and exhibits excellent resistance to Dutch elm disease (DED) and elm leaf beetle. This fast-growing tree needs regular pruning to maintain its vase form. Its leaves emerge orange red and mature to green; in the fall, it erupts in a brilliant yellow. Useful as street, parkway, or shade tree.

    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
  • Pumpkin ash (Not recommended) (Fraxinus tomentosa)

    Pumpkin ash in winter.

    Also known as:

    pumpkin ash
    Due to susceptibility to emerald ash borer (EAB), pumpkin ash is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually requires removal and/or replacement. Pumpkin ash is a large tree found primarily growing in wet habitats. This U.S. native can reach 80 feet tall with a narrow crown. Currently, ash trees cannot be sold in Illinois. Check with your state for quarantine restrictions.

    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
  • Purple basket willow (Salix purpurea)

    Purple basket willow shrubs growing in a landscape bed.

    Also known as:

    Purple basket willow; Purple-osier willow; Basket willow
    Purple basket willow is a large, finely textured, upright shrub with reddish purple stems often used in basket weaving. The blue-green, narrow foliage has silvery undersides adding to summer interest.

    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

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