For Your Garden - April 2010
Spring is here! Native spring wildflowers are in bloom! Are you using native wildflowers in your landscaping? Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and disease. They also provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Their brilliantly colored blossoms and interesting shapes will make your landscape a showplace. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
Jacob’s-ladder (Polemonium reptans)
Photo © 2009, River Valley Photographic Resources, Ltd., rvprltd.com
Jacob’s-ladder grows throughout Illinois, mainly in prairies and woodlands. Its smooth stems are upright or spreading and may grow to nearly one foot tall. The plant has pinnately compound leaves, with from three to 13 leaflets. Flowering occurs from April through June. The flowers are pale blue and have five petals. Flowers are clustered at the tip of a stem. The fruit is a capsule that usually contains three seeds.
Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.