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TREES & plants

Tree and plant descriptions

  • Austrian pine (Not recommended)

    Pinus nigra
    Due to susceptibility to many diseases and pests, Austrian pines are not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually require removal and/or replacement. Disease-resistant cultivars may exist.
  • Bald-cypress

    Taxodium distichum
    This stately conifer, native to the Midwest, often is found in groupings in parks and larger spaces, along streets, and around lakes. Unlike most cone-bearing trees, bald-cypress loses its needles each winter and grows a new set in spring. Hardy and tough, this tree will adapt to a wide range of soil types, whether wet, dry, or even swampy.
  • Balkan pine

    Pinus peuce
    Balkan pine is not well known, but has potential to be an attractive landscape plant in residential yards. This tree may be difficult to find in local nurseries.
  • Bayberry

    Myrica pensylvanica
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: A pleasantly aromatic shrub, Bayberry can used in a shrub border, in mass, or informal foundation planting. The loose, open habit, small, waxy, persistent, gray fruit add winter interest and attract many species of birds.
  • Beauty Bush

    Kolkwitzia amabilis
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Beauty Bush lives up to its name in spring when it is covered with pink flowers. During the rest of the season it offers little in the way of ornamental appeal and best planted at the back of a border.
  • BEIJING GOLD™ Peking lilac

    Syringa pekinensis 'Zhang Zhiming'
    This cultivar has creamy-yellow flowers; attractive, cinnamon-colored bark; and unique yellow-gold fall color. The Peking lilac is a dependable urban tree and a great choice even for parking lot, boulevard, and parkway plantings. Native to Asia, it is both hardy and beautiful, with attractive, amber-colored, peeling bark.
  • Big-leaved hydrangea

    Hydrangea macrophylla
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Big-leaved hydrangeas are beloved for their showy flowers. However, these small shrubs from Japan are generally not hardy as far north as Chicago. Cold winters in Zone 5 and colder usually kill their flower buds, which are set on the previous year's growth in most selections. In recent years, some cultivated varieties have been developed that are somewhat hardier, although they will do better in areas where they have the insulating protecting of reliable snow cover. Blue flowers are one of the plant's appeals, but big-leaved hydrangeas only have blue flowers when planted in acid soils. In alkaline soils, such as those in most of the Chicago region and the Great Plains, the flowers will be pink.
  • Big-leaved linden

    Tilia platyphyllos
    Like other lindens, big-leaved linden produces clusters of very fragrant flowers in early summer. It has an attractive form and can be used as a street tree. This species may be difficult to find in nurseries.
  • Bitternut hickory

    Carya cordiformis
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Bitternut hickory is a large north American native tree, best reserved for larger landscapes. Like all hickories, debris from its fruit drops from late summer throughout autumn, making fall cleanup in urban areas more challenging.
  • Black ash (Not recommended)

    Fraxinus nigra
    Due to susceptibility to emerald ash borer (EAB), black ash is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually requires removal and/or replacement. Disease-resistant cultivars may exist. Black ash is a medium-sized, native tree adaptable to wet sites. Currently, ash trees cannot be sold in Illinois. Check with your state for quarantine restrictions.