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TREES & plants

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  • Switch grass (Panicum virgatum)

    Also known as: Switch grass, Blackwell switch grass, switchgrass, panic grass

    Switch grass is one of the grasses of the tallgrass prairie and is native to much of North America. When in seed, the plant has a light airy appearance despite its tall stature.

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

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

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

  • Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis )

    Also known as: sycamore, buttonwood, American planetree, buttonball tree

    The sycamore is a grand, stately shade tree for a larger site. It has broad green leaves but is most recognizable by its peeling bark, with patches of white and gray. Native to the Chicago region, sycamores have very high wildlife value, attracting a wide range of birds that use the tree for many purposes.

    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

  • Sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)

    Also known as: sycamore maple, planetree maple

    Sycamore maple can be used as a street tree and as a shade tree. The dangling clusters of small yellow flowers are slightly showy in spring. This non-native species provides no fall color.

    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

  • Tamarack (Larix laricina)

    Also known as: tamarack, eastern larch

    Tamarack is a beautiful native conifer that loses its needles in fall. It is native to the Chicago region, but is on the list of threatened plants for the state of Illinois. It is commonly found in wet, swampy or boggy locations, but can grow in other locations as long as soil moisture is consistent. This tree looks good through many seasons.

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

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

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

  • Tea viburnum (Viburnum setigerum)

    Also known as: Tea viburnum

    One of the best fruiting viburnums, this little known viburnum produces bright red fruit clusters, white spring flowers and muted red fall color. A good plant for sun or shade reaching 8 to 12 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide. May be difficult to find in nursery trade.

    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

  • Thornless cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli var. inermis)

    Also known as: thornless cockspur hawthorn

    This variety of cockspur hawthorn has thornless stems. It displays beautiful white flowers in spring and persistent fruit in fall and winter.

    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

  • Thornless honey-locust (Gleditsia triacanthos f. inermis)

    Also known as: thornless honey-locust, common honey-locust, honeylocust, thornless honeylocust

    The light, dappled shade cast by the lacy foliage of this attractive tree is only one of its virtues. It also is durable and adaptable; as a result, honey locust is overused in city and suburban landscapes. For the sake of species diversity, it should only be planted after careful consideration of alternatives.

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

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

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

  • Three-flowered maple (Acer triflorum)

    Also known as: three-flowered maple, shaggy-barked maple, three flower maple, three-flower maple, threeflowered maple

    The shaggy peeling bark and glorious yellow, orange, and red fall foliage make up for the inconspicuous nature of this ornamental tree's namesake flowers. Three-flowered maple is a fine specimen tree for gardens, with a habit that can be upright or spreading.

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

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Trailing juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)

    Also known as: Trailing juniper, creeping juniper, ground cover juniper

    Trailing juniper is a low shrub or ground cover-type evergreen, native to North America. It can be especially attractive trailing over ledges or retaining walls and very useful on slopes. Junipers are cold-hardy, durable and adaptable plants that can bring year-round color to a dry, alkaline, or windy site.

    Size Range: 
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet), 
    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet), 
    • Large plant (more than 24 inches), 
    • 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: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Tree of heaven (Not recommended) (Ailanthus altissima)

    Also known as: tree of heaven, paradise tree

    Tree of heaven has invasive traits that enable it to spread aggressively. This tree 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 tree for planting sites. Tree of heaven is an aggressive grower and produces a lot of suckers. It is generally not recommended for landscapes.

    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

  • Trident maple (Acer buergerianum)

    Also known as: trident maple, Chinese maple, threetooth maple

    Trident maple is a medium-sized tree that can be used as a street tree or specimen. The trident-shaped leaves turn shades of red and orange in autumn.

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

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

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • TRIUMPH™ elm (Ulmus 'Morton Glossy')

    Also known as: TRIUMPH™ elm

    The TRIUMPH™ elm has very good resistance to Dutch elm disease (DED) and is resistant to elm yellows; it also has good resistance to elm leaf beetle. It is easily transplanted, quick to establish, and adaptable to most soil types. Large, lustrous, dark green summer foliage gives way to yellow fall color. Useful for home and commercial landscapes or parks or as street 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

  • Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

    Also known as: Trumpet honeysuckle, coral honeysuckle, scarlet honeysuckle

    Trumpet honeysuckle is native to North America, mostly in southern states. This vine is vigorous, but not aggressive like some species of honeysuckle. It produces clusters of bright red flowers in spring.

    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: 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)

    Also known as: Trumpet vine, trumpetcreeper, trumpet creeper

    Trumpet vine is a woody, clinging vine which attaches itself to structures by aerial rootlets. It can rapidly grow to 30 to 40 feet high. Terminal clusters of 2 to 3 inch long, red trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds throughout the summer.

    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

  • Tufted hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)

    Also known as: Tufted hair grass, tussock grass

    Tufted hair grass is a clump-forming, cool season grass. This grass has a wide natural range, being found in Europe, Asia and North America.

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

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

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

  • Tulip-tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)

    Also known as: tulip-tree, tulip poplar, yellow poplar, tulip-poplar, tuliptree, tulip tree

    The tulip-tree is one of the largest native trees in North America. It is a member of the magnolia family and has distinct tulip-shaped characteristic in its leaves, flowers, and fruit. The showy, goblet-shaped, orange-yellow-green flowers appear in late spring after the leaves; the cone-like seed clusters sit upright on the branches. The golden-yellow fall color of the tulip-tree makes this an excellent choice for large landscapes.

    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

  • Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)

    Also known as: tupelo, black gum, sour gum, black tupelo, pepperidge

    Tupelo or sour gum is a striking pyramidal tree in its youth with horizontal branches growing from a typically straight trunk. As the tree matures it takes on more of an irregular habit. The dark green glossy summer foliage takes center stage in fall when the leaves turn bright scarlet.

    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: 
    • Chicago area, 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Turkish hazelnut (Corylus colurna)

    Also known as: Turkish hazelnut, Turkish hazel, Turkish filbert

    Turkish hazelnut is an excellent hardy tree for lawns, street plantings, and urban conditions. Its heavy-textured, dark green foliage is free of insect and disease. This tree is also pH adaptable and tolerant of heat, cold, and drought once it is established.

    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

  • Umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala)

    Also known as: umbrella magnolia

    Umbrella magnolia is a 15 to 30 foot high tree native to the southeastern United States found throughout the Appalachian Mountains. The very large leaves appear in clusters at the ends of branches, and resemble an umbrella. Large, showy spring flowers, rosy-red fruits, and smooth gray bark add to the four-seasons of interest.

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

    Native Locale: 
    • North America

  • Variegated tuber oat grass (Arrhenatherum elatius var. bulbosum 'Variegatum')

    Also known as: Variegated tuber oat grass, variegated bulbous oat grass, variegated orchard grass

    This species is not usually sold except as the cultivar 'Variegatum' which has striped leaves. This cultivar is a low-growing, non-native grass.

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

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

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Vernal witch-hazel (Hamamelis vernalis)

    Also known as: Vernal witch-hazel, spring witch-hazel, witch-hazel; vernal witch hazel, witch hazel, witchhazel

    In late winter or very early spring, before the leaves unfurl, Vernal witch-hazel has yellow and orange-to-red flowers with a spicy fragrance that appears in late February and last three to four weeks. The new foliage is an attractive bronzy-red color that matures to dark green and then turns a rich butter yellow to golden yellow in fall. This is a great specimen plant for naturalized landscape.

    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: 
    • North America

  • Virgin's bower (Clematis virginiana)

    Also known as: Virgin's bower

    Virgin's bower is a native species of clematis that produces masses of small white flowers in late summer.

    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

  • Virginal mock-orange (Philadelphus x virginalis)

    Also known as: Virginal mock-orange, mockorange, mock orange

    Mock-orange is an old-fashioned, back of the border, late spring to early summer flowering shrub with sweetly scented white flowers. Dark green foliage makes an attractive background for pure white flowers. It has limited ornamental value in other seasons, but the double-flowering cultivars are bringing popularity back to this plant.

    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)

    Native Locale: 
    • Non-native

  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

    Also known as: Virginia creeper

    Virginia creeper is an aggressive, woody vine native to the Midwest and the Chicago region. This vine is often found growing up tree trunks in native woods, but it can be trained to grow on a fence or arbor. In early autumn the compound, five-leaflet leaves turn a brilliant red.

    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

  • Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana)

    Also known as: Virginia rose, Wild rose, Prairie rose

    Virginia rose, also called wild rose, is native to southeastern U. S. It has attractive dark green foliage that changes to orange-red-yellow in fall, singular showy pink flowers in early summer, and persistent fruits adding seasonal interest to the landscape.

    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: 
    • Illinois, 
    • North America

  • Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica)

    Also known as: Sweetspire, Virginia sweetspire, Virginia-willow, Virginia willow

    Sweetspire is a southeastern native that grows in moist, wet areas as well as upland sites. Grown for the long, drooping clusters of white, fragrant flowers in spring and the kaleidoscope of orange, red, yellow fall color.

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

    Native Locale: 
    • North America

  • Virginia wild rye (Elymus virginicus)

    Also known as: Virginia wild rye, Virginia lyme grass

    Virginia wild rye is a cool season, clumping grass similar to Canada wild rye (Elymus canadensis). It is more tolerant of shade and prefers a more fertile soil.

    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

  • Wafer-ash (Ptelea trifoliata)

    Also known as: Wafer-Ash, Hop tree, Common Hoptree, Stinking Ash, Water-Ash

    Wafer-ash is a small native tree or large shrub that produces small clusters of fragrant flowers and wafer-like winged seeds, similar to elms. It is a good plant for naturalizing or woodland landscapes. Despite the name, this tree is not a true ash tree and is unaffected by the emerald ash borer.

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

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

  • Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus)

    Also known as: Wahoo, Eastern Wahoo, Eastern burning bush

    Wahoo is a Chicago region native offering beautiful fruit in fall. It may be difficult to find this species in local nurseries.

    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

  • Ware's oak (Quercus warei)

    Also known as: Ware's oak

    Ware's oak results from a cross between a cultivar of English oak (Quercus robur 'Fastigiata') and Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor). The resulting hybrid has a columnar form, good fall color and resistance to powdery mildew.

    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

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