The Morton Arboretum logo

TREES & plants

Tree and plant descriptions

  • Chinkapin oak

    Quercus muehlenbergii
    Chinkapin oak is native to the Midwest, where it is often found as a specimen planting or as a grouping of tree for parks and large areas. Chinkapin oaks perform well in alkaline soils. Young trees retain a pyramidal to oval habit with a pale gray, scaly ridged central trunk. As trees age, the crown becomes more rounded.
  • Climbing hydrangea

    Hydrangea petiolaris, (syn. Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris)
    Climbing hydrangea is a woody vine that clings and climbs by attaching itself with tiny rootlets to a wall, trellis or other support. In early July, it has flat, lacy clusters of fragrant small white flowers that show up well against the glossy green leaves.
  • Cockspur hawthorn

    Crataegus crus-galli
    Cockspur hawthorn is a Chicago-area native that provides beautiful flowers in spring and persistent fruit in fall and winter. This species should be used with care as it has long thorns and is prone to disease. White flowers in the spring, persistent red fruit, and the orange-red fall color of this Midwestern native make it a nice addition to the four-season landscape.
  • COMMENDATION™ elm

    Ulmus 'Morton Stalwart'
    This fast-growing cultivar is extremely tolerant of drought and cold. The COMMENDATION™ elm is resistant to Dutch elm disease (DED) but moderately susceptible to insect problems, notably elm leaf beetle, Japanese beetle, and gypsy moth. Use along streets and in large yards. The Morton Arboretum introduced this cultivar through Chicagoland Grows®.
  • Common Bleeding Heart

    Lamprocapnos spectabilis
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: Common bleeding heart is an early-blooming perennial for shady sites. The delicate, pink heart-shaped flowers hang on long arching stems.
  • Common buckthorn (Not recommended)

    Rhamnus cathartica
    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.
  • Common Chokecherry

    Prunus virginiana
    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.
  • Common Juniper

    Juniperus communis
    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.
  • Common lilac

    Syringa vulgaris
    Plant advice from The Morton Arboretum: The common lilac is best known for its fragrant flowers, which make it a lovely shrub for a specimen planting, in masses, screens, hedges, or mixed in shrub borders. Many cultivars are available with various colored flowers.
  • Common Milkweed

    Asclepias syriaca
    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.