Browse Trees and Plants

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  • Whitethorn (Crataegus laevigata)

    Also known as:

    whitethorn, English hawthorn
    Whitethorn or English hawthorn is a small tree that can be utilized under power lines, but it may be difficult to find in nurseries. Typical of hawthorns, this species has white flowers in spring, followed by red fruits. Stems bear one inch long thorns.

    Size Range:

    • Small tree (15-25 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Wild blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)

    Leaves of wild blackberry.

    Also known as:

    Wild blackberry; Common blackberry; Allegheny blackberry
    Wild blackberry is a medium-sized shrub growing throughout roadsides, open fields and wood edges. Sweet, spicy edible fruits, attractive fall color and a valuable food source for wildlife.

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

    Wild columbine has unusual flowers.

    Also known as:

    Wild columbine, columbine, cluckies, Jack-in-trousers
    Wild columbine is a herbaceous perennial, native to North America. The unusual, spur-shaped, red and yellow flowers hang downward from sparsely branched stems in late spring to early summer. A perfect addition for naturalizing and shady gardens.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches),
    • Medium plant (12-24 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
  • Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)

    Wild geranium has pink flowers in late spring.

    Also known as:

    Wild geranium, cranesbill
    Wild geranium is a native woodland wildflower that can be used as a ground cover in partially shaded sites. It produces pink flowers in spring.

    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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)

    Flowers of wild hydrangea.

    Also known as:

    Wild hydrangea, Smooth hydrangea, Sevenbark, Tree hydrangea
    Wild hydrangea is a hardy, adaptable shrub grown for its large, cloud-like clusters of early summer flowers that start out pale green and turn to white then eventually fade to brown adding winter interest to the landscape. Since it flowers on the tips of the new growth its flower buds are not diminished by harsh winters. It is native to woodlands in the eastern U.S. For garden purposes, cultivated varieties are more attractive.

    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:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Wild plum (Prunus americana)

    A thicket of wild plums in full flower.

    Also known as:

    wild plum, American red plum, August plum, hog plum
    Wild plum, also called American plum is a small, fast-growing, short-lived, colony-forming native tree, commonly found along fencerows, open fields, and roadsides. Abundant tiny white flowers open before the leaves emerge in spring. Plums appear in late summer.

    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
  • Wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

    Wild strawberry produces white flowers in spring.

    Also known as:

    Wild strawberry, Virginia strawberry, scarlet strawberry
    Wild strawberry is a native wildflower that can be used as a ground cover. It produces white flowers in spring, followed by edible strawberries.

    Size Range:

    • Low-growing plant (under 6 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
  • Wild-ginger (Asarum canadense)

    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
  • Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)

    Flowers of winter honeysuckle appear in very late winter or early spring.

    Also known as:

    Winter honeysuckle
    Winter honeysuckle is an attractive shrub with early-flowering fragrant flowers. However, under the Illinois Exotic Weed Act, it cannot be sold in Illinois. It is also considered invasive in many areas. The information provided here is more for identification purposes rather than a guide to plant selection. This plant is NOT recommended.

    Size Range:

    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Non-native
  • Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)

    Wintercreeper as a ground cover.

    Also known as:

    Wintercreeper, Wintercreeper euonymus
    Wintercreeper is a fast-growing, versatile ground cover, shrub or vine. Many different cultivars are available. Wintercreeper should be used with care as it is considered invasive in some locations.

    Size Range:

    • Medium plant (12-24 inches),
    • Small plant (6-12 inches),
    • Low-growing plant (under 6 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:

    • Non-native
  • Witherod (Viburnum cassinoides)

    Lustrous elliptical leaves and white flowers of Witherod viburnum

    Also known as:

    Witherod, Witherod viburnum, Swamp viburnum, Appalachian tea viburnum, wild raisin
    Witherod viburnum is a large, upright-spreading, suckering shrub, native to North America. It tolerates both shady and wet sites, excellent for naturalizing, shrub borders and woodland sites. May be difficult to find in nurseries.

    Size Range:

    • Large shrub (more than 8 feet),
    • Medium shrub (5-8 feet)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • North America
  • Woodbine (Lonicera periclymenum)

    Flowers of woodbine, cultivar 'Serotina'.

    Also known as:

    Woodbine, woodbine honeysuckle
    Woodbine is a type of honeysuckle that vines. This species is very fragrant and has flowers that show a mix of yellow, white, and pink.

    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:

    • Non-native
  • Yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon (syn. Lamium galeobdolon))

    Yellow archangel can have variegated foliage.

    Also known as:

    Yellow archangel, golden dead nettle, silver nettle vine, lamiastrum, false lamium
    Yellow archangel is a ground cover with bright yellow flowers and green foliage marked with silver in some cultivars. It can be a very aggressive grower and so should be sited carefully.

    Size Range:

    • Small plant (6-12 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:

    • Non-native
  • Yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis)

    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
  • Yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava)

    Yellow buckeye starting to develop fall color.

    Also known as:

    yellow buckeye, sweet buckeye
    Buckeyes are known for their flower displays in May; yellow buckeyes are no exception. This Illinois native produces yellow flowers in upright clusters measuring up to 6 inches tall. In fall, the leaves display a yellow-orange color. It is susceptible to leaf blotch and may be difficult to find in nurseries.

    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:

    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima)

    Also known as:

    Yellowroot
    Yellowroot is a small woody perennial forming a dense carpet that reaches 1 to 3 feet high. This east coast native is found in damp woods, stream banks and wet depressions. The best feature is the yellow to red to purple fall color.

    Size Range:

    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet),
    • 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:

    • North America
  • Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)

    Yellowwood in flower.

    Also known as:

    Yellowwood, American yellowwood
    Choose a yellowwood tree for excellent shade in a small- to medium-sized landscape. Note that the branches of the yellowwood are highly susceptible to ice storm damage.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet),
    • Medium tree (25-40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • North America
  • Yucca (Yucca filamentosa)

    Also known as:

    Yucca, Adam's needle yucca, Adam's needle, Spanish bayonet
    Yucca is a drought-tolerant shrub with stemless, stiff evergreen leaves that end in a narrow point. In late spring a 3- to 6-foot stalk appears with cluster of white, bell-shaped flowers.

    Size Range:

    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet),
    • 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

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