Common boxwood is a broadly rounded evergreen shrub or small tree. Native to Europe, Asia and Africa found in open woodlands and rocky hillsides. A popular ornamental evergreen used as hedges, borders and topiary. Named because wood was popular for making boxes and cabinets.
Common buckthorn is an invasive plant in Illinois and should not be planted. It forms dense thickets and reproduces very freely, crowding out other plants and disrupting ecosystems in forest preserves and other natural areas. In woodlands it can completely replace existing understory plants, including native wildflowers.
A large deciduous shrub or small, 20 feet high, understory tree often forming a dense colony. Slender twigs form a oval to rounded crown. Clusters of drooping white flowers are followed by dark purple fruit. Native throughout most of the U.S. but difficult to find in the nursery trade.Susceptible to many insect and disease problems.
A tall, deciduous shrub reaching 6 to 10 feet high. Shiny, dark green leaves appear before the scarlet-red flowers emerge in spring. Dense tangles of stems have spiny thorns, best used as a hedge, back of the border or in mass. Edible fruit is used to make jam and jellies.
The common juniper may be a shrub or small tree. This is one of the most commonly found junipers throughout the world. Typically in dry, rocky, wooded hillsides or exposed slopes. The oil from the fleshy cones is used as flavoring and to make gin.
The common lilac is an old-fashioned, long-lived, and well-loved lilac best known for its fragrant flowers. It is extremely hardy and thrives with little care which make it a lovely shrub for a specimen planting, in masses, screens, hedges, or mixed in shrub borders.
Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Common milkweed is a butterfly magnet and an important plant for the monarch butterfly eggs and larvae. This aggressive spreader reaches 3 to 5 feet tall and will grow in thickets, woodland borders, fields, fence rows, and areas along railroads and roadsides.
Ninebark is a cold hardy, tough native shrub for mixed borders. Pinkish-white flower clusters in late spring, persistent seed capsules and exfoliating bark add to seasonal interest. Foliage of cultivars vary in size and color from purple to lime green.