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  • Aruncus dioicus (Goat's beard)

    Goat's beard has upright clusters of tiny, white flowers.

    Also known as:

    Goat's beard, goatsbeard, bride's feathers
    Goat's beard is a native, colony-forming perennial for the back of the border shade garden. The tall, erect, creamy-white plumes of flowers appear above the fern-like foliage in mid-summer.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Asarum canadense (Wild-ginger)

    Leaves of wild-ginger.

    Also known as:

    Wild-ginger, wild ginger, Canadian wild ginger
    Wild-ginger is an Illinois native wildflower that can be used as a ground cover. It is known for its hairy, heart-shaped leaves.

    Size Range:

    • Low-growing plant (under 6 inches)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Asarum europaeum (European wild-ginger)

    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
  • Asclepias incarnata (Swamp milkweed)

    Swamp milkweed has delicate rosy pink flowers.

    Also known as:

    Swamp milkweed
    Swamp milkweed is an erect, clump-forming, native plant commonly found in swamps and wet meadows. An essential plant for wet areas. The rosy pink flowers are a prime source of nectar for many butterflies.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Asclepias syriaca (Common milkweed)

    Extremely fragrant flowers of common milkweed

    Also known as:

    Common milkweed
    Common milkweed is a butterfly magnet and an important plant for the monarch butterfly eggs and larvae. This aggressive, native spreader reaches 3 to 5 feet high and 2 to 3 feet wide and will grow in thickets, woodland borders, fields, fence rows, and areas along railroads and roadsides.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)

    Orange flowers of butterfly weed

    Also known as:

    Butterfly weed, Butterfly milkweed, Butterfly plant, Pleurisy Root
    Butterfly weed, like other milkweeds is a nectar source for many species of butterflies, giving it its common name. It is also a caterpillar and larva host for the monarch butterfly, which may blend in with the abundant clusters of vibrant orange flowers that cover the tops of theses perennial plants in summer. Butterfly weed is native to prairies and glades in the Chicago area and the Midwest.

    Size Range:

    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Asimina triloba (Pawpaw)

    Pawpaw fruit.

    Also known as:

    pawpaw, paw paw, Indiana banana, prairie banana
    Whether planted in full sun or part shade, the pawpaw tree, native to the Midwest, works well as a specimen, or can be useful as a screen. Nodding, dark purple flowers in the spring, elongated edible fruit in the summer, and a yellow to yellow-green fall color add to the appeal of this small understory tree.

    Size Range:

    • Small tree (15-25 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
  • Astilbe (Astilbe hybrids)

    Astilbe 'Rheinland' in full flower

    Also known as:

    Astilbe, Arends' astilbe, False spirea

    Astilbe hybrids are clump-forming perennials that form mounds of dark green, ferny foliage.  They bloom red, pink, white and lavender in upright or slightly arching plumes.  Astilbes are valuable in moist shade for long-lasting color. Performs best in evenly moist soil.

    This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

     

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches),
    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Astilbe chinensis (Chinese astilbe)

    The cultivar 'Visions' in full flower

    Also known as:

    Chinese astilbe,False spirea
    Chinese astilbe is a clump-forming perennial with deep green, fern-like foliage and narrow sprays of upright flowers. Young leaves can be copper colored and quite showy. Excellent for mass planting in shady areas. Although it performs best in part-shade with uniformly moist soils, it is more tolerant of dry soil than other astilbes.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches),
    • Medium plant (12-24 inches),
    • 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
  • Athyrium filix-femina (Lady fern)

    Foliage of lady fern.

    Also known as:

    Lady fern
    Lady fern, with its finely cut leaves provides interesting texture to shady areas. It can also be used in sunny areas, but consistent watering is then required.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches),
    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Aurinia saxatilis (Basket-of-Gold)

    Basket-of-gole has bright yellow flowers.

    Also known as:

    Basket-of-Gold, Goldentuft Madwort, Goldentuft Alyssum

    Basket-of-Gold produces a blanket of bright yellow flowers in early to mid-spring on spreading clumps of oblong, gray-green foliage.  Basket-of-Gold is best used in the front of a border or draping over the edges of stones in a rock garden.

    This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

     

    Size Range:

    • Small plant (6-12 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Baccharis halimifolia (Groundsel-tree)

    A group of groundsel trees in the back of a shrub bed.

    Also known as:

    groundsel-tree; groundsel-bush; groundseltree; eastern baccharis
    Groundsel-tree is a fast-growing, large shrub with stiff, finely densed, spreading branches. Silver-gray foliage turns a purplish-red in fall. Native to southern U.S. coastal areas. Highly salt tolerant. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

    Size Range:

    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • North America
  • Baptisia alba (White wild indigo)

    White wild indigo in flower.

    Also known as:

    White wild indigo

    White wild indigo are showy plants with upright spikes of white flowers above the foliage in May.  After blooming, it forms brown seed pods that are quite ornamental and hang on the plant through part of the winter.  It grows two to five feet tall and two to three feet wide and is best in full sun, although the white flowered type does better in part shade.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • North America
  • Baptisia australis (Blue false indigo)

    Blue false indigo in full flower.

    Also known as:

    Blue false indigo, baptisia, blue wild indigo

    Blue false indigo is a large, showy, shrub-like plant with gray-green leaves and 10 to 12 inch medium blue flowers in May.  The pea-like flowers are followed by black seed pods which are interesting enough to leave up over the winter.  Reliable, drought-resistant and long-lived, blue false indigo provides a strong structural presence in a garden.

    This plant has a cultivated variety. Go to list of cultivars.

     

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • North America
  • Baptisia hybrids (False indigo)

    Hybrid false indigo, Solar Flare in flower

    Also known as:

    False indigo, Baptisia, Atlantic wild indigo, largeleaf wild indigo, large-leaved wild indigo, prairie indigo

    False indigo is an attractive, shrubby perennial that blooms in late spring in colors of yellow, blue or purple.  Plants emerge in the spring looking like black asparagus shoots.  The shoots elongate into large, rounded, shrub-like plants with gray-green leaves and dark stems.  Once the flowers have finished blooming, they form attractive, black seed pods which remain on the plant for winter interest.  A tough, drought-tolerant perennial, these plants work beautifully all year to provide structure and color in the garden.  Many interesting hybrids have been developed due to breeding efforts

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • North America
  • Belamcanda chinensis (Blackberry-lily)

    Blackberry-lily has unusual spotted flowers.

    Also known as:

    Blackberry-lily, leopard flower

    Bright orange star-shaped flowers with red speckles bloom in mid-summer on sword-shaped leaves.  After blooming, the plant forms pear-shaped seed pods that open to reveal shiny black seeds in the fall.  The pods are good for either winter interest in the garden or dried arrangements.  

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Berberis koreana (Korean barberry)

    Also known as:

    Korean barberry
    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.

    Size Range:

    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)

    Flowers and leaves of Japanese barberry.

    Also known as:

    Japanese barberry, barberry

    A common sight in yards and gardens throughout eastern North America, this Asian shrub is invasive and should not be planted. Growing three to six feet tall, it is most easily identified by its small, rounded leaves, spiny stems, and red berries that develop in summer. Birds and rodents eat the fruits and distribute the seeds widely. Its branches form roots when in contact with the soil.

    Size Range:

    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
    • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Bergenia crassifolia (Leather bergenia)

    Leather begenia beginning to flower.

    Also known as:

    Leather bergenia, heartleaf bergenia, pigsqueak
    Leather bergenia is an evergreen perennial that is often planted in groups and used as a ground cover. If spreads slowly by short rhizomes.

    Size Range:

    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Bergenia hybrids (Bergenia)

    Also known as:

    Bergenia, pigsqueak

    Bergenia has large, shiny leaves that look best when planted en masse, either as a groundcover or a border.  The leaves are semi-evergreen and turn burgundy in the fall.  The rosy to pale pink flowers show above the leaves in early spring.  The plant got the name 'pigsqueak' because rubbing a leaf together between your fingers sounds like a pig squeaking.

    This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.

     

    Size Range:

    • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
    • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Betula 'Madison' (White Satin™ birch)

    White bark of White Satin™ birch.

    Also known as:

    White Satin™ birch
    White Satin™ birch is a Chicagoland Grows® introduction. It provides beautiful white bark and good resistance to the bronze birch borer (BBB). This hybrid offers dark green leaves that turn a nice yellow fall color.

    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)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Betula alleghaniensis (Yellow birch)

    Yellow birch's shiny, dark bark.

    Also known as:

    yellow birch
    Yellow birch, an Illinois native, has a silvery bronze bark that peels into small strips. Fall color is yellow. This species some resistance to bronze birch borer.

    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
  • Betula lenta (Sweet birch)

    Yellow fall color of sweet birch.

    Also known as:

    sweet birch, black birch, cherry birch
    Sweet birch is an attractive tree for lawns and naturalized areas, with shiny, red-brown bark and yellow foliage. Native to the eastern United States, the tree also attracts beautiful butterflies to the landscape, serving as a caterpillar/larval host. This species is resistant to bronze birch borer (BBB).

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • North America
  • Betula nigra (River birch)

    The bark of river birch peeling into attractive layers.

    Also known as:

    river birch, red birch
    River birch is a popular, fast-growing native tree for the home landscape. Attractive salmon-pink to reddish-brown bark exfoliates to reveal lighter inner bark. Dark green foliage turns a beautiful buttery yellow in the fall. This species is resistant to bronze birch borer (BBB).

    Size Range:

    • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Betula nigra 'Little King' (Fox Valley® river birch)

    Mature specimen of Fox Valley™ river birch.

    Also known as:

    Fox Valley® river birch
    The Fox Valley® river birch is a Chicagoland Grows® introduction that demonstrates resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB). It is a dense, compact tree with glossy green leaves and exfoliating bark.

    Size Range:

    • Compact tree (10-15 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Betula papyrifera (Paper birch)

    Paper birch has smooth, white bark.

    Also known as:

    paper birch, white birch, canoe birch
    This native tree has lovely white bark and yellow fall color, but is not a good tree for tough sites. It demonstrates some resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB).

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Betula papyrifera 'Renci' (RENAISSANCE REFLECTION® paper birch)

    Bark of RENAISSANCE REFLECTION® paper birch.

    Also known as:

    RENAISSANCE REFLECTION® paper birch
    The Renaissance Reflection® birch is a tall, fast-growing tree with striking bark that displays dark green foliage throughout the season, transitioning to a golden color in the fall. This tree is resistant to bronze birch borer (BBB) but does not do well when exposed to drought or polluted conditions.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Betula pendula (European white birch (Not recommended))

    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
  • Betula populifolia (Gray birch)

    The bark of gray birch is smooth and white.

    Also known as:

    gray birch, white birch, poplar birch
    Gray birch is a narrow, pyramidal tree of cool climates. Bright green leaves turn a yellow fall color. Older trees develop a chalky white bark that does not peel. A good selection for poor soils and other difficult sites, it also demonstrates some resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB).

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • North America
  • Betula populifolia 'Whitespire' (Whitespire Senior gray birch)

    Mature specimens of Whitespire Senior gray birch.

    Also known as:

    Whitespire Senior gray birch, Whitespire birch
    This cultivar demonstrates good resistance to bronze birch borer (BBB). The name 'Whitespire' was incorrectly assigned to Betula platyphylla. It is now assigned to Betula populifolia and the plants are often sold under the name 'Whitespire Senior' to avoid confusion.

    Size Range:

    • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • North America

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