Japanese umbrella-pine is not a true pine, but it is a needled evergreen. In northern Illinois, this tree is marginal and should be planted in protected site. Wind can be a problem in winter, so avoid windy sites.
Japanese white pine
Japanese white pine is a dense, slow-growing evergreen with a smaller stature which makes it an excellent specimen for small landscapes or space restrictions.
Japanese yews are a popular and versatile evergreen shrub. They make a good foundation or accent plant and dark green leaves make good background for colorful shrubs and perennials. There are numerous cultivars available, varying greatly in size, so choose carefully to find the right one for your site. Be aware that the leaves, seeds, and bark of yews are poisonous.
Japanese zelkova is closely related to elms but is resistant to Dutch elm disease (DED). It tolerates urban conditions well and can be used as a street tree. This tree has interesting bark, clean serrated foliage and good fall color.
Viburnum x juddii
This hybrid viburnum produces early spring, snowball-type clusters of pink buds that open to white, highly fragrant flowers. A dense, rounded shrub reaching 6 to 8 feet high with blue-green leaves. Korean spice viburnum is one of the parent of this hybrid.
June grass is a native grass that can be very useful in tough sites like areas with dry conditions. It is a cool season, clumping grass.
The katsura tree, native to Japan, makes an excellent specimen or shade tree in Midwestern landscapes. Its foliage offers an array of color throughout the year. In spring, heart-shaped leaves emerge reddish-purple, changing to blue-green as they mature. In autumn the color display changes again as leaves turn clear yellow or apricot color.
The Kentucky coffeetree's tolerance to pollution and a wide range of soils makes it a suitable tree for urban environments. Native to the Midwest, this tree bears leathery, reddish-brown seed pods that add winter interest to the Midwestern landscape.
Showy yellow flower clusters, reddish-purple fall color, and persistent egg-shaped red berries make Korean boxwood an attractive year-round shrub. May be difficult to locate in nursery trade. Barberry are also on some state lists as invasive.
Buxus microphylla var. koreana
Korean boxwood is a small, mounded, broad-leaf evergreen shrub with small, glossy, light green leaves and a broad uniform formal habit.