Browse Trees and Plants

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  • Southern black-haw (Viburnum rufidulum)

    Also known as:

    Southern black-haw, rusty black-haw, southern blackhaw, rusty blackhaw
    Southern black-haw is an attractive large shrub or small tree with lustrous, waxy green foliage, creamy-white flowers in mid-spring, dark blue berries on red stems and shiny, maroon to deep burgundy fall color. Native to the southeastern United States. A great four-season plant for the Midwest.

    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:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Southern bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla sessilifolia)

    Also known as:

    Southern bush-honeysuckle, Southern bush honeysuckle
    Southern bush-honeysuckle is a vigorous, 3 to 5 feet high, spreading shrub with rich green foliage that turns purplish in the fall. The 2- to 3-inch-diameter sulfur-yellow flowers appear in mid-summer. The suckering nature of the plant can form colonies making it ideal as a mass planting or used to stabilize a slope. Native to the southeastern United States.

    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:

    • North America
  • Southern catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides)

    Also known as:

    Southern Catalpa, Common Catalpa, Eastern Catalpa, Cigar Tree
    Southern catalpa is a short-trunked tree with a rounded to irregular form that can reach 30 to 40 feet in height. Attractive, large panicles of white bell-shaped flowers with yellow and purple spots bloom in early summer and are long-lasting.

    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
  • Spanish flag (ANNUAL VINE) (Ipomoea lobata)

    Also known as:

    Spanish flag, firecracker vine, exotic love vine
    Spanish flag is an annual vine that is related to morning glory, but with a very different type of flower. The flowers are irregular in shape and held in upright clusters. Also known as Mina lobata.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Speckled alder (Alnus incana subsp. rugosa)

    Also known as:

    speckled alder
    Speckled alder is a smaller tree that is appropriate for planting under power lines. Early spring flowers are interesting, but not really showy. This tree may be difficult to find 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
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin )

    Also known as:

    Spicebush, spice-bush
    Spicebush, named for its spicy, fragrant leaves and stems, is native to moist woodlands in the Midwest and occasionally occur in the Chicago area. It is most often used in landscapes in shrub borders and naturalized areas. Bright red fruits ripen from July through October on female plants, but are only showy once the foliage falls off.

    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
  • Spiked winter-hazel (Corylopsis spicata)

    Also known as:

    Spiked winter-hazel, spiked winter hazel
    Spiked winter-hazel is one of the first flowering shrubs in early spring. Profuse, 1- to 2-inch-long pendulous racemes of pale yellow, cup-shaped flowers appear before the leaves. Upright, spreading shrub reaches 5 to 7 feet high, emerging leaves are reddish-purple changing to a blue-green. Excellent in sun or shade. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

    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
  • Spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus )

    Also known as:

    Spindle tree, European spindle tree, European euonymus, common spindle tree
    Spindle tree is an European species of euonymus with attractive fall color and interesting fruit capsules. Birds are attracted to the fruit and tend to spread them freely to the point that this plant has become weedy and invasive in some areas.

    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:

    • Non-native
  • Spiny bear's breeches (Acanthus spinosa)

    Also known as:

    Spiny bear's breeches, spiny acanthus, spiny bears breeches, bear's breeches, spiny bear's-breeches
    Spiny bear's breeches is a bold, 3 to 4 foot high perennial with large, shiny, thistle-like leaves. Spikes of white with mauve color flowers tower above the foliage in early summer. A good back of the border plant or use as a specimen. Plants grown in northern climates benefit with a layer of winter mulch.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Spiraea x cinerea (Spiraea x cinerea )

    Also known as:

    First Snow spirea, Grefsheim spirea
    Spirea x cinerea is a hybrid group of spireas with outstanding early season blooms. The white fragrant flowers emerging before the foliage on graceful, arching stems. Light green foliage remains dense to the base of the plant. Use in the shrub border, informal hedge, or as a backdrop for early spring perennials and bulbs.

    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
  • Spreading cotoneaster (Cotoneaster divaricatus)

    Also known as:

    spreading cotoneaster
    Spreading cotoneaster is a medium-sized, upright shrub with slender, densely branched stems. Tiny pink buds open in May to clusters of white flowers, and glossy, dark green summer foliage turns a kaleidoscope of orange, red, yellow and burgundy.

    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
  • Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)

    Also known as:

    Staghorn sumac
    Staghorn sumac is often used in mass plantings, for naturalizing, or on steep slopes. Its open habit and hairy stems resemble horns on a male deer, giving staghorn sumac its name. It is one of the last plants to leaf out in the spring with bright green leaves that change to an attractive yellow, orange, and scarlet in fall. Among the most recognizable characteristics are large, upright clusters of fuzzy red fruits that appear above the branches in late summer on female plants. They are highly appealing to birds.

    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)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata)

    Also known as:

    star magnolia
    The star magnolia is a small, compact ornamental tree grown for its early spring flowers. The flowers are clusters of white petals sometimes touched with pink. Because they bloom so early, they are vulnerable to damage by late spring frosts. Star magnolia is best planted in a sheltered location.

    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:

    • Non-native
  • STATE STREET™ Miyabe's maple (Acer miyabei 'Morton')

    Also known as:

    STATE STREET™ Miyabe's maple
    This Chicagoland Grows® introduction has shown excellent heat and drought tolerance, as well as tolerance of alkaline soils. STATE STREET™ Miyabe's maple has thick, five-lobed, attractive, medium- to dark-green leaves that remain long into fall, then rapidly change to a pale golden-yellow 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
  • Sugar maple (Acer saccharum )

    Also known as:

    sugar maple, hard maple, rock maple
    Sugar maple is a Midwest native loved for its exceptional fall color ranging from brilliant yellow to burnt-orange. In summer, its lustrous foliage provides excellent shade, making it a great choice for parks, golf courses, and home landscapes where its roots can spread. Black maple (Acer nigrum), once considered a separate species, is now included as a subspecies of sugar maple.

    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
  • Sugarberry (Celtis laevigata)

    Also known as:

    sugarberry, sugar hackberry, southern hackberry
    Native to southern Illinois, sugarberry is closely related to a more northern species, common hackberry. Sugarberry has fewer problems with leaf galls and witches broom, which are seen regularly on common hackberry. The bark is also smoother and less warty than that of common hackberry.

    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:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Summersweet clethra (Clethra alnifolia )

    Also known as:

    Summersweet clethra, Summersweet, Clethra, Sweet Pepperbush
    A wide variety of butterflies and songbirds are attracted to summersweet clethra for its nectar and seeds. Native to the eastern United States, it has lustrous green leaves in the spring, spiky white or pink fragrant flowers during the summer, golden yellow leaves in the fall, and interesting, delicate dried seed capsules in winter to provide exceptional four-season interest.

    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
  • Swamp chestnut oak (Quercus michauxii)

    Also known as:

    swamp chestnut oak, basket oak
    Swamp chestnut oak may be difficult to find in commercial nurseries, but it may be worth looking for. This species provides dense shade and good red fall color. It may be useful as a parkway tree or as a shade tree in residential yards.

    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:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

    Also known as:

    Swamp milkweed
    Swamp milkweed is an erect, clump-forming, native plant commonly found in swamps and wet meadows. An essential plant for wet areas. The rosy pink flowers are a prime source of nectar for many butterflies.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor)

    Also known as:

    swamp white oak
    Swamp white oak is a striking tree with attractive peeling bark, especially on young trees. The lustrous, lobed leaves have a two-tone appearance, dark green on top with a silvery-white underside. Fall color is an orange-gold to yellow in mid-autumn. An excellent shade tree for any landscape.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora)

    Also known as:

    Sweet autumn clematis
    Sweet autumn clematis is a vine that produces an abundance of small, white flowers in late summer and early autumn. It should be used with care as it is considered invasive in some locations.Also known as Clematis maximowicziana.

    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
  • Sweet birch (Betula lenta )

    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
  • Sweet mock-orange (Philadelphus coronarius)

    Also known as:

    Sweet mock-orange; sweet mockorange; mockorange; fragrant mock-orange
    Sweet mock-orange is a large, upright growing shrub with delightfully sweet, fragrant white flowers in early summer. An excellent shrub to use as a backdrop for smaller shrubs.

    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
  • Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum)

    Also known as:

    Sweet woodruff, bedstraw, sweet-scented bedstraw, woodruff
    Sweet woodruff is a delicate-looking ground cover with tiny white flowers in spring. When crushed, the foliage has the smell of newly mown hay.

    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
  • Sweet-fern (Comptonia peregrina)

    Also known as:

    Sweet-fern, Sweetfern
    Sweet-fern is a colony-forming, small shrub with wonderfully aromatic fern-like leaves. This shrub is a useful selection in the landscape for erosion control and naturalizing, due to its tolerance of adverse conditions. It is adaptable to poor, infertile soil and is also drought, salt, and heat resistant.

    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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Sweet-gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

    Also known as:

    sweet-gum, American sweet-gum, sweet gum, sweetgum
    Sweet-gum is known for its unique star-shaped leaves with outstanding yellow, red, and purple fall color. It can be an excellent shade tree in the right location, away from foot traffic where the spiky "gumball" fruits will not be an annoyance. If an appropriate space is available, check out the cold-hardy cultivar, 'Moraine', which is recommended for northern Illinois.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana)

    Also known as:

    sweetbay magnolia, laurel magnolia, swamp magnolia
    Sweetbay magnolia is a late blooming tree native to the eastern United States. It has fragrant, creamy-white flowers and glossy, dark green leaves with silvery undersides. This small tree is an excellent choice near patios, wood edges, and shrub borders. It is also tolerant to wet sites, such as pond edges and low areas in a landscape.

    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:

    • North America
  • Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra)

    Also known as:

    Swiss stone pine, arolla pine
    Swiss stone pine is a dense, narrow pyramidal evergreen tree that provides dark green color in the landscape. Native to the mountains of Europe and Asia. A picturesque evergreen for the smaller 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:

    • Non-native
  • 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

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