Browse Trees and Plants

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  • Eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

    Leaves of Eastern cottonwood.

    Also known as:

    Eastern cottonwood, Eastern poplar
    Eastern cottonwood is a large, fast-growing tree found growing along streams, rivers, and lowland areas. It is native to eastern North America through the Midwest and Chicago region. Due to its large size, weak wood, and penetrating roots, it is best used on large properties away from residential areas.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)

    Branches of Eastern hemlock.

    Also known as:

    eastern hemlock, Canada hemlock, Canadian hemlock
    One of the more shade-tolerant evergreens, the eastern hemlock has many uses as a specimen, sheared as a hedge, or planted for screening. Native to the eastern United States, the hemlock resembles a large Christmas tree with its broadly pyramidal, pendulous branches; fine, dark-green needles; and abundant brown cones that hang from branches like small ornaments.

    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,
    • North America
  • Eastern red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

    Close up of the needles of eastern red-cedar.

    Also known as:

    Eastern red-cedar, red cedar, Eastern redcedar, upright juniper, Eastern red cedar juniper
    Eastern red-cedar is native to North America. These cold-hardy, adaptable evergreen trees serve many purposes in the landscape, especially in sites that are dry, alkaline or windy. Because they are quite salt-tolerant, they can be used near roads, driveways, and sidewalks.

    Size Range:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus)

    Needles of Eastern white pine.

    Also known as:

    Eastern white pine, white pine
    The Eastern white pine is a tree for landscapes with ample space. Its fine feathery needles, open canopy, and straight trunk get more picturesque with age. Trees are fast-growing and long-lived.

    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
  • Elm cultivars (Ulmus)

    Also known as:

    Elm
    A number of elms are available that can resist the pathogen that causes the devastating Dutch elm disease. Since the disease first began mowing down American elms in the 1930s, scientists and breeders have been developing alternatives. Most of these trees are hybrids that cross various species of American, Asian and European elms. Some are selections of species that were observed to resist the disease. Not all these trees have the characteristic vase- or fountain-shaped arching branch structure of the beloved American elm, but some come close. Some also have resistance to other disease and pests that trouble elms. As time goes on, better cultivars are developed, but some of the older ones may still be on the market.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Emerald Triumph viburnum (Viburnum 'Emerald Triumph')

    Also known as:

    Emerald Triumph viburnum
    Emerald Triumph viburnum is a cross between Viburnum rhytidophylloides ‘Allegheny’ and Viburnum burejaeticum. The compact rounded shrub has white, flat-topped flowers followed by persistent green to red to black fruits. The thick, leathery dark green leaves turn yellow and red in the fall.

    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
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)

    English ivy used as a ground cover.

    Also known as:

    English ivy
    English ivy is a versatile plant that functions as both a ground cover and a vine. It's evergreen foliage provides interest year round. This plant can grow aggressively and it considered invasive in some areas.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 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
  • English oak (Quercus robur)

    Summer foliage of English oak.

    Also known as:

    English oak, truffle oak, pedunculate oak
    English oak is a long-lived oak with a broadly rounded to spreading habit with a short trunk. It is an excellent specimen tree or can be planted in a grouping in large open landscapes. The acorns form a valuable food source for several small mammals and some birds but trees may take up to 20 years to produce fruit.

    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
  • Eurasian smoke tree (Cotinus coggygria)

    Yellow fall color of Eurasian smoke tree

    Also known as:

    Eurasian smoke tree, Smoke tree, Smoke bush, Smoketree, Smokebush
    The outstanding feature of Eurasian smoke tree is the large, airy, plume-like stalks that hold the small flowers. These are covered with hairs that provide the appearance of a puff of smoke.

    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:

    • Non-native
  • European ash (Not recommended) (Fraxinus excelsior)

    Summer foliage of European ash.

    Also known as:

    European ash, common ash
    Due to susceptibility to emerald ash borer (EAB), European ash is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually requires removal and/or replacement. European ash is a large shade tree found throughout Europe which is hardy to the Midwest. 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:

    • Non-native
  • European beech (Fagus sylvatica)

    Summer foliage of the European beech.

    Also known as:

    European beech, Common beech
    European beech is a large, graceful tree appropriate for large landscapes like parks and golf courses. This species has smooth silvery gray bark, short trunks and a low branching habit.

    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
  • European black alder (Not recommended) (Alnus glutinosa)

    Male catkins (flowers) and female strobiles (fruit) of European black alder.

    Also known as:

    European black alder, European alder, Common alder
    European black alder 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.

    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
  • European cranberry-bush viburnum (not recommended) (Viburnum opulus var. opulus (syn. Viburnum opulus))

    Leaves and fruit of European cranberry-bush viburnum.

    Also known as:

    European cranberry-bush, European cranberry-bush viburnum, European cranberrybush viburnum
    European cranberry-bush viburnum is an attractive, multi-season interest shrub, but it has become an invasive plant in some states and is not recommended. The similar, native American cranberry-bush viburnum (Vibrunum opulus var. americanum) is a more recommended substitute. It has the same ornamental features and is native to North America.

    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
  • European elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

    Specimen plant of European elderberry, cultivar 'Eva'.

    Also known as:

    European elderberry, Common elderberry
    European elderberry is a large, multi-stemmed, rounded shrub. Plants are colony-forming and best used for naturalizing in moist to wet landscapes. The flap-topped, white,fragrant flowers appear in early summer, followed by clusters of purple fruit in mid-to-late summer.

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • European fly honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum)

    Flowers of Clavey's dwarf honeysuckle.

    Also known as:

    European fly honeysuckle
    European fly honeysuckle is a large, rounded shrub with arching branches and blue-to-gray green foliage. A popular, old-fashioned shrub used for hedges and screening.

    Size Range:

    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • European hazelnut (Corylus avellana)

    Leaves of European hazelnut.

    Also known as:

    European hazelnut, European filbert, European hazel, filbert, giant filbert, hazelnut, cobnut
    European hazelnut is often grown as a large shrub, but it can also be used as a small tree. This species produces edible hazelnuts or filberts.

    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
  • European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus )

    Summer foliage of European hornbeam.

    Also known as:

    European hornbeam, upright hornbeam, common hornbeam
    European hornbeams are excellent in groupings around large buildings and also useful as screens, hedges, and windbreak trees. The European hornbeam has densely textured foliage and handsome, slate-gray smooth to fluted bark. The dark green leaves turn an attractive yellow in the fall, and the bark and buds are ornamental in winter.

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • European larch (Larix decidua)

    Cones of European larch.

    Also known as:

    European larch, common larch
    European larch is a great choice for specimen plantings or in groups for parks and large areas. Unlike most conifers, it drops its needles in winter. Bright green foliage in spring changes to medium green throughout summer, turning a golden yellow in fall before falling.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • European mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia)

    European mountain ash produces orange-red clusters of fruit in late summer.

    Also known as:

    European Mountain Ash, Rowan,Rowantree, Common Mountainash
    European mountain ash, or Rowan tree, is a small, 20 to 40 feet tall with white, flat-topped flowers, smooth gray bark, and clusters of bright red, persistent fruits. Native to cooler climates of Europe and Asia, often prone to many insect and disease problems when grown in warm climates. May be difficult to find in nursery trade.

    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
  • European privet (Ligustrum vulgare)

    Leaves and immature fruit of European privet.

    Also known as:

    European privet, Wild privet, English privet, Primwort
    Common or European privet is a wide spreading shrub often used as a hedge or for screening unwanted views, reaching 10 to 12 feet high and wide. Clusters of fragrant white flowers in mid-June are followed by blue-black berries. This plant is considered invasive by Midwest Invasive Plant Network and should be used cautiously.

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • European white alder (Alnus incana)

    European white alder in late season.

    Also known as:

    European white alder, white alder, gray alder
    European white alder is a fast-growing tree that may be considered as a street tree. Early spring flowers are interesting, but not really showy. This tree may be difficult to find in local 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:

    • Non-native
  • European white birch (Not recommended) (Betula pendula)

    European white birch in winter.

    Also known as:

    European white birch, silver birch, warty birch, weeping birch
    Due to susceptibility to bronze birch borer (BBB), European white birch is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually require removal and/or replacement. This tree has an attractive pendulous habit. European white birch was once used extensively in landscapes, but its high susceptibility to the bronze birch borer has limited its use in more recent years.

    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
  • European wild-ginger (Asarum europaeum)

    Leaves of European wild-ginger.

    Also known as:

    European wild-ginger, European wild ginger
    European wild-ginger is a colonizing ground cover that looks similar to the native species, except for having smooth rather than hairy 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
  • EXCLAMATION!™ London planetree (Platanus acerifolia 'Morton Circle')

    EXCLAMATION!™ London planetree has attractive mottled bark.

    Also known as:

    EXCLAMATION!™ London planetree
    The EXCLAMATION!™ London planetree is a Chicagoland Grows® introduction that is resistant to anthracnose and frost cracking. It 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)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Fall bugbane (Actaea simplex)

    Fall bugbane has spikes of white flowers in the late summer.

    Also known as:

    Fall bugbane, Kamchatka bugbane
    Fall bugbane is a late blooming perennial with mounds of lacy, shiny leaves that send up 4 to 5 foot high flower spikes of fragrant, white flowers. A great plant for shady moist sites.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
    • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • False-spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia)

    Flowers of false-spirea.

    Also known as:

    False-Spirea, false spirea, ash-leaf spirea, ural false spirea
    False-spirea is a dense, colony-forming, suckering shrub best used for naturalizing, erosion control. Large, showy clusters of tiny white flowers appear in mid-summer. The large compound leaves open on arching stems, unfolding with a reddish tinge gradually changing to a deep green. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

    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
  • Feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora)

    A group of feather-reed grass in flower.

    Also known as:

    Feather reed grass
    Feather reed grass is a hybrid of non-native grasses. It is a cool season grass that offers a very narrow, upright habit and interest in winter. It is a clumping grass.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • February daphne (Daphne mezereum)

    Flowers of February daphne.

    Also known as:

    February daphne; mezereon; paradise-plant, spurge laurel, garland flower
    February daphne is a dense, rounded shrub with highly fragrant rosy-lilac flowers in early spring. Small red fruit appear later in the summer. A plant for well-drained soils only, may be short-lived.

    Size Range:

    • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea)

    Firethorn shrub covered with fruit.

    Also known as:

    firethorn; scarlet firethorn
    Firethorn is a semi-evergreen shrub with shiny leaves that remain long into winter, white spring flowers, and brilliant orange berries in the fall. Plants can be unruly if not pruned regularly.

    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
  • Five-leaved akebia (Akebia quinata)

    Leaves of five-leaved akebia.

    Also known as:

    Five-leaved akebia, chocolate vine
    Five-leaved akebia is a vigorous vine and may grow aggressively enough that it needs to be controlled. Akebia has invasive traits that enable it to spread aggressively. 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:

    • 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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