Browse Trees and Plants

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  • Black spruce (Picea mariana)

    A young black spruce tree.

    Also known as:

    Black spruce, Bog spruce, Swamp spruce
    Black spruce is a small, narrow evergreen tree with a spire-like crown. It has descending branches, with dark, bluish-green needles, and upturned ends. Lower limbs sweep the ground. It is an excellent choice for cold northern climates and tolerant of wet sites.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • North America
  • Black walnut (Juglans nigra)

    A mature black walnut tree.

    Also known as:

    Black walnut, Eastern black walnut
    The black walnut is a Chicago-area native tree that provides excellent shade for large properties. It needs to be sited with care, since the tree produces a chemical that is toxic to some other plants. This tree attracts wildlife including squirrels and the banded hairstreak butterfly.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Black willow (Salix nigra)

    Foliage of black willow.

    Also known as:

    black willow
    Black willow is a native tree that can tolerate very wet sites. It is fast growing, but may live for only 40 or 50 years. Wood is brittle and the tree may require regular pruning.

    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
  • Black-eyed Susan vine (ANNUAL VINE) (Thunbergia alata)

    Flowers of black-eyed Susan vine.

    Also known as:

    Black-eyed Susan vine
    Black-eyed Susan vine is an annual vines with orange-yellow flowers that resemble black-eyed Susans. This vine is an annual and climbs by twining.

    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
  • Black-haw viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium)

    Flat-topped flower cluster of black-haw viburnum

    Also known as:

    Black-haw, blackhaw, blackhaw viburnum
    Black-haw viburnum is a large shrub or a small, native tree. In spring new leaves emerge copper-colored followed by white, flat-topped flowers. In fall, black fruits contrast with the pinkish-red foliage. A great plant for naturalized areas.

    Size Range:

    • 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
  • Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)

    Also known as:

    blackthorn; sloe
    Blackthorn or sloe is a large deciduous shrub to small tree reaching 9 to 12 feet high with blackish-brown bark and dense, stiff, spiny branches. Native to Europe and western Asia. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

    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
  • Blood-twigged dogwood (Cornus sanguinea )

    Winter form of the 'Midwinter Fire' cultivar of blood-twigged dogwood.

    Also known as:

    Blood-twigged dogwood, common dogwood, dogberry, European dogwood, bloodtwig dogwood
    Blood-twigged dogwood is a medium-sized shrub, popular mainly for its straight stems and branches, which turn a mix of green and red in winter. It has flat-topped fluffy clusters of white flowers, more smelly than fragrant, in late summer, followed by small black fruit.

    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
  • Bloomerang™ lilac (Syringa 'Penda')

    Leaves of the Bloomerang lilac.

    Also known as:

    Bloomerang lilac, Bloomerang Purple
    The Bloomerang™series lilacs are known for their highly fragrant, reblooming flowers, compact habit and smaller leaves. Excellent for smaller gardens.

    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
  • Blue ash (Not recommended) (Fraxinus quadrangulata)

    Summer foliage of blue ash.

    Also known as:

    blue ash
    Due to susceptibility to emerald ash borer (EAB), blue ash is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually requires removal and/or replacement. Blue ash, a Midwest native, is often found growing in limestone outcrops. It has distinctive, 4-sided winged stems and gray platy bark. 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)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Blue fescue (Festuca glauca)

    A group of blue fescue.

    Also known as:

    Blue fescue
    Blue fescue is a small, mounded, cool season grass grown for its compact size and blue foliage. It is a non-native, clumping grass. The blue coloration can vary, so it is best to buy named cultvars for uniformity of color.

    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
  • Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilus)

    Blue grama is one of the shorter prairie grasses.

    Also known as:

    Blue grama, mosquito grass
    Blue grama is smaller than the closely related side oats grama, growing only 8 to 15 inches tall. It was a common grass in the shortgrass prairie.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Blue lungwort (Pulmonaria angustifolia)

    Also known as:

    Blue lungwort, cowslip lungwort, blue cowslip, lords and ladies
    Blue lungwort is a clumping perennial that is often planted in groups to form a ground cover. While other species of lungwort have spotted foliage, this species has solid green leaves.

    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
  • Blue lyme grass (Leymus arenarius)

    Blue lyme grass.

    Also known as:

    Blue lyme grass, European dune grass, sand wild rye
    Blue lyme grass is an attractive blue-leaved grass, but it should be used with caution. This is a running grass with aggressive tendencies. It has been classified as invasive in Wisconsin, especially in areas that border Lake Michigan.

    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
  • Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens)

    Blue oat grass has a stiffly mounded form.

    Also known as:

    Blue oat grass
    Blue oat grass is a cool season clumping grass with blue foliage, attractive flowers and a mounded form.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Blue passionflower (ANNUAL VINE) (Passiflora caerulea)

    The ornate flower of blue passionflower.

    Also known as:

    Blue passionflower, blue passion vine
    Blue passionflower is a tropical vine with beautiful, ornate flowers. It is an annual vine in the Midwest, but will grow rapidly and produce flowers.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Blue spruce (Picea pungens)

    Mature specimens of blue spruce.

    Also known as:

    blue spruce, Colorado spruce, Colorado blue spruce, blue Colorado spruce
    Blue spruce, also known as Colorado spruce, is a conical-shaped evergreen tree with stiff horizontal branches and short stiff needles. It is a commonly used tree in Midwest landscapes. In nature the needles are often green, but many specimens produce blue-green needles.

    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
  • Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

    Bluebeard in full flower.

    Also known as:

    Bluebeard
    A mounded woody plant with cornflower-blue flowers in late summer and fragrant, silvery-green foliage. Though bluebeard is technically a shrub, it should be treated as a perennial in the Midwest because it tends to die back in harsh winters.

    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:

    • Non-native
  • Bog birch (Betula pumila)

    Fruit and leaves of bog birch.

    Also known as:

    bog birch; American dwarf birch; dwarf birch; low birch; swamp birch
    Bog birch is common in the upper Midwest. It is a medium-sized, short-lived, clump-forming shrub for wet habitats. It may be difficult to find in the nursery trade.

    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
  • Border forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia)

    Also known as:

    Border forsythia
    Border forsythia is a multi-stemmed shrub noted for the bright yellow flowers in early spring. An excellent shrub for mixed borders, in mass or as an informal hedge. Flower bud hardiness varies by cultivar and should be selected wisely.

    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)
  • Boston-ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)

    Bright red fall color on Boston ivy.

    Also known as:

    Boston-ivy, Japanese creeper, Boston ivy
    Despite its name, Boston-ivy is not native to Boston but to eastern Asia. This deciduous vine is often used to cover brick walls and other hard surfaces of old universities buildings or famous ball fields. Dark green leaves turn a brilliant red in the fall.

    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:

    • Non-native
  • Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

    Flower cluster of bottlebrush buckeye.

    Also known as:

    Bottlebrush buckeye
    Bottlebrush buckeye is a handsome shrub that has memorable long fluffy white flower clusters in early July. It is useful as an understory planting in woodland gardens, as a specimen plant, or in a shrub border. Also known as Aesculus macrostachya.

    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
  • Bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix (syn. Hystrix patula))

    Seed heads of bottlebrush grass.

    Also known as:

    Bottlebrush grass, Eastern bottlebrush grass, glumeless wild rye
    Bottlebrush grass is a native grass that is found in wooded areas rather than in prairies. It can be used for naturalizing in shady sites.

    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
  • Boxelder (Acer negundo)

    Leaves of the boxelder tree.

    Also known as:

    boxelder, box elder, ash-leaved maple
    Boxelder is actually a maple tree. This native tree, while very cold hardy, is not widely sold due to its ability to self-seed aggressively. It also attracts boxelder bugs which often enter homes in fall.

    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
  • Boxwood hybrids (Buxus hybrids)

    Boxwood shrub.

    Also known as:

    Boxwood, hybrid boxwood, common box, boxwood cultivars
    Boxwoods are excellent, low-growing, evergreen shrubs with dark green, finely textured leaves. Boxwoods can be used as hedges, rounded specimens and neatly compact background plants in any landscape. Many of the boxwoods sold today are hybrids with complex parentage.

    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:

    • Non-native
  • Bridal wreath (Spiraea vanhouttei)

    Bridal wreath spirea in flower.

    Also known as:

    Bridal wreath spirea, Vanhoutt's spirea, Vanhoutte spirea
    A large, old-fashioned shrub with arching, fountain-like stems. Very showy clusters of white flowers appear along the branches and brighten a spring landscape. Best used en masse, at the back of a shrub border, or as a screen.

    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
  • Bristly locust (Robinia hispida)

    Flowers and leaves of bristly locust.

    Also known as:

    bristly locust; rose acacia; roseacacia locust
    Bristly locust is an upright, suckering shrub used to stabilize slopes. The purplish-pink pendulous flowers, blue-green foliage, bristle seed pods add seasonal interest. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

    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
  • Brown's honyesuckle (Lonicera x brownii)

    Brown's honeysuckle, cultivar Dropmore Scarlet, in flower.

    Also known as:

    Brown's honeysuckle, scarlet trumpet honeysuckle
    Brown's honeysuckle is a hybrid that produces tubular red flowers for most of the growing season.

    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
  • Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides)

    Buffalograss used as a lawn.

    Also known as:

    Buffalograss
    Buffalograss is native to the western areas of the tallgrass prairie. It is sometimes listed as native to the Chicago region, but it is thought to be introduced from further west. This is a low-growing, warm season, running grass.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Bugbane (Actaea racemosa (syn. Cimicifuga racemosa))

    Bugbane in full flower.

    Also known as:

    Bugbane, Black snakeroot, Black bugbane, Black cohosh, Deerweed, Feather Wands, rattleroot, rattleweed, Squaw root, Summer rockets, Swan's neck Virginia snakeroot
    Bugbane is a low maintenance, shade-tolerant perennial with late season spikes of white flower on tall wiry stems. It creates a great vertical accent for a shade garden, perennial border or along a pond edge.

    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:

    • North America
  • Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)

    Bugleweed in flower.

    Also known as:

    Bugleweed, carpet bugleweed, ajuga
    The low, dense spreading habit of bugleweed makes an excellent ground cover for part-shade or shady areas.

    Size Range:

    • Small plant (6-12 inches),
    • 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:

    • Non-native

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