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    Chicago area

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  • Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)

    White spring flowers of Allegheny serviceberry.

    Also known as:

    Allegheny serviceberry, smooth shadbush, Juneberry
    Allegheny serviceberry is a small native understory tree with four-season interest. The early white spring flowers, outstanding orange-red fall color, and striking gray bark make it a lovely specimen for any landscape. The edible purplish-black fruit in late summer is attractive to many birds.

    Size Range:

    • Small tree (15-25 feet)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • American basswood (Tilia americana)

    American basswood produces fragrant flowers in summer.

    Also known as:

    American basswood, American linden, basswood
    American basswood is native to the Chicago area and is often used as a specimen or dense shade tree. Its heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers in June make it especially attractive for people, while songbirds and blue jays are attracted to its seeds and use the tree for shelter.

    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
  • American beech (Fagus grandifolia)

    American beech leaves and beechnuts.

    Also known as:

    American beech
    American beech is a large, graceful native tree, excellent for large, park-like landscapes where it has room to spread its wide, low-growing branches. The massive trunk has beautiful silver gray bark; the dark green summer foliage turns a golden bronze in the fall. Leaves typically hang on well into the winter months adding to the seasonal interest.

    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
  • American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens)

    American bittersweet growing over a wall.

    Also known as:

    American bittersweet, Climbing bittersweet
    American bittersweet is a climbing vine that twines around its support. Its attractive feature is its autumn fruit, a yellow-orange three-lobed capsule with showy orange-red seeds. For fruit, American bittersweet needs both male and female vines and should be should be sited in full sun and pruned in early spring. Do not confuse this vine with Oriental bittersweet, Celastrus orbiculatus, an invasive plant. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm's Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research.

    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
  • American black currant (Ribes americanum)

    Leaves and flowers of American black currant.

    Also known as:

    American black currant; wild black currant
    American black currant is a thornless, erect native shrub with showy yellow flowers in early spring followed by edible black berries in mid-summer. Excellent for moist shady sites.

    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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • American bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia)

    Fruit of American bladdernut.

    Also known as:

    American bladdernut, Bladdernut, Bladder nut
    American bladdernut is a large, native, under story shrub or compact tree, often forming thickets in undisturbed landscapes. Beautiful clusters of drooping, tubular white flowers appear in early spring, followed by unusual bladder-like seed pods, which are persistent long into the winter months. A great plant for naturalizing or shady woodlands.

    Size Range:

    • Compact tree (10-15 feet),
    • Large shrub (more than 8 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
  • American cranberry-bush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum)

    Leaves and fruit of American cranberry-bush viburnum.

    Also known as:

    American cranberry-bush, American cranberry-bush viburnum, American cranberrybush viburnum
    This native viburnum offers ornamental interest throughout the seasons; flowers in spring, red fruit in late summer and red fall color.

    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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • American elm (Ulmus americana)

    A group of American elms in fall color.

    Also known as:

    American elm
    Elms are loved for their graceful, stately shape, with branches like spreading fountains, and their green leaves that turn gold in fall. Sadly, the American elm can no longer be recommended because it is vulnerable to a devastating pathogen called Dutch elm disease. For cultivars of American Elm that are resistant to Dutch elm disease, see below.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • American hazelnut (Corylus americana)

    Leaves of American hazelnut.

    Also known as:

    American hazelnut, American Filbert, American hazel
    American hazelnut is a thicket-forming native shrub, excellent for naturalizing, woodland gardens and shade areas. Showy male flowers (catkins) add early spring interest, dark green leaves turn a beautiful kaleidoscope of colors in the fall. The nuts mature from September to October, attracting seed-eating birds, such as blue jays and woodpeckers.

    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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana)

    American hornbeam in fall color.

    Also known as:

    American hornbeam, musclewood, blue beech
    The American hornbeam is a native forest understory tree in the Chicago area, making it useful for shady landscapes and naturalized or woodland gardens. New leaves emerge reddish-purple, changing to dark green, then turn yellow to orange-red in the fall, offering a kaleidoscope of color throughout the year.

    Size Range:

    • Medium tree (25-40 feet),
    • Small tree (15-25 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
  • American Sentry® linden (Tilia americana 'McKSentry')

    Also known as:

    American Sentry® linden, American Sentry® basswood
    The American Sentry linden is reported to have some resistance to Japanese beetle. It is a dense shade tree with heart-shaped leaves and fragrant flowers; this cultivar is particularly symmetrical. This is a cultivated variety of a native plant.

    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
  • Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

    Bearberry has nodding, pinkish-white flowers in spring.

    Also known as:

    Bearberry, common bearberry, kinnikinick, billberry, barren myrtle, hog cranberry, red bearberry, sandberry, manzanita, mealberry, mountain box, bear's grape
    Bearberry is a broadleaf evergreen ground cover that produces white to pinkish-white flowers and red fruit. It provides multi-season interest in the landscape.

    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,
    • Non-native,
    • North America
  • Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

    Big blustem in fall color.

    Also known as:

    Big bluestem, turkeyfoot
    Big bluestem is a native grass and one of the main components of the tallgrass prairies that once covered Illinois. It offers interest in the landscape throughout the winter.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis )

    A mature specimen of bitternut hickory.

    Also known as:

    bitternut hickory, bitternut, swamp hickory
    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.

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Black ash (Not recommended) (Fraxinus nigra)

    A young black ash tree.

    Also known as:

    black ash
    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. 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.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Black cherry (Prunus serotina)

    Leaves and spring flowers of black cherry.

    Also known as:

    black cherry, wild black cherry
    Black cherry is a large, native tree found in the Midwest and throughout the eastern United States. The showy white flowers appear as pendulous clusters in early spring followed by dark, pea-sized fruits in late summer. The mature bark is dark and scaly, often flipping on the edges.

    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
  • Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa )

    Leaves and flowers of black chokeberry.

    Also known as:

    Black chokeberry
    Black chokeberry is a dependable small to medium sized shrub with upright, mounded habit. Small clusters of white flowers in spring are followed by glossy black fruit. Dark green foliage turns reddish-purple in the fall.

    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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Black maple (Acer saccharum subsp. nigrum)

    Early fall color developing on black maple leaves.

    Also known as:

    black maple
    Black maple, once considered a separate species, is now considered a subspecies of sugar maple (Acer saccharum). It displays similar characteristics: dense, rounded crown; dark, furrowed bark; and brilliant fall color. It is a commonly planted tree in this region.

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Black oak (Quercus velutina)

    A black oak leaf.

    Also known as:

    black oak
    Black oak, a native of the Chicago region, could be used as a parkway or street tree. Fall color is yellow to yellow-brown. This species is not offered in commerce as often as other oak species.

    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
  • Black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)

    Fruit of black raspberry.

    Also known as:

    black raspberry
    Black raspberry is a multi-stemmed, colony-forming shrub with white flowers, edible black fruits and colorful reddish stems in winter.

    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
  • Black walnut (Juglans nigra)

    A mature black walnut tree.

    Also known as:

    Black walnut, Eastern black walnut
    The black walnut is a Chicago-area native tree that provides excellent shade for large properties. It needs to be sited with care, since the tree produces a chemical that is toxic to some other plants. This tree attracts wildlife including squirrels and the banded hairstreak butterfly.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Black willow (Salix nigra)

    Foliage of black willow.

    Also known as:

    black willow
    Black willow is a native tree that can tolerate very wet sites. It is fast growing, but may live for only 40 or 50 years. Wood is brittle and the tree may require regular pruning.

    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:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Black-haw viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium)

    Flat-topped flower cluster of black-haw viburnum

    Also known as:

    Black-haw, blackhaw, blackhaw viburnum
    Black-haw viburnum is a large shrub or a small, native tree. In spring new leaves emerge copper-colored followed by white, flat-topped flowers. In fall, black fruits contrast with the pinkish-red foliage. A great plant for naturalized areas.

    Size Range:

    • Compact tree (10-15 feet),
    • Large shrub (more than 8 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
  • Blue ash (Not recommended) (Fraxinus quadrangulata)

    Summer foliage of blue ash.

    Also known as:

    blue ash
    Due to susceptibility to emerald ash borer (EAB), blue ash is not recommended for planting anywhere in this region and usually requires removal and/or replacement. Blue ash, a Midwest native, is often found growing in limestone outcrops. It has distinctive, 4-sided winged stems and gray platy bark. Currently, ash trees cannot be sold in Illinois. Check with your state for quarantine restrictions.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Bog birch (Betula pumila)

    Fruit and leaves of bog birch.

    Also known as:

    bog birch; American dwarf birch; dwarf birch; low birch; swamp birch
    Bog birch is common in the upper Midwest. It is a medium-sized, short-lived, clump-forming shrub for wet habitats. It may be difficult to find in the nursery trade.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix (syn. Hystrix patula))

    Seed heads of bottlebrush grass.

    Also known as:

    Bottlebrush grass, Eastern bottlebrush grass, glumeless wild rye
    Bottlebrush grass is a native grass that is found in wooded areas rather than in prairies. It can be used for naturalizing in shady sites.

    Size Range:

    • Large plant (more than 24 inches)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Boxelder (Acer negundo)

    Leaves of the boxelder tree.

    Also known as:

    boxelder, box elder, ash-leaved maple
    Boxelder is actually a maple tree. This native tree, while very cold hardy, is not widely sold due to its ability to self-seed aggressively. It also attracts boxelder bugs which often enter homes in fall.

    Size Range:

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

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

    Also known as:

    Bunchberry, dwarf cornel, creeping dogwood
    Bunchberry is native in the far northern portions of the United States, but is rare in Illinois. It is a beautiful ground cover with flowers that resemble those of flowering dogwood. Its need for acid soils may limit its use in Illinois.

    Size Range:

    • Small plant (6-12 inches)

    Light Exposure:

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

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

    A mature bur oak tree.

    Also known as:

    bur oak
    The stately bur oak, native to the Midwest, is a great choice as a shade tree and for specimen plantings in parks, spacious yards, and other large areas.

    Size Range:

    • Large tree (more than 40 feet)

    Light Exposure:

    • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

    Native Locale:

    • Chicago area,
    • Illinois,
    • North America
  • Bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)

    Bush-honeysuckle in flower.

    Also known as:

    Bush-honeysuckle, Dwarf bushhoneysuckle, bush honeysuckle
    Bush-honeysuckle is a low-growing, spreading, native shrub providing yellow flowers for several weeks in early summer. Reddish young stems is 4-sided, contrasting with dark green leaves.

    Size Range:

    • Small shrub (3-5 feet),
    • Low-growing shrub (under 3 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

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