Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
purple spring cress (Cardamine douglassii)
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Purple spring cress grows in low woodlands in the northern two-thirds of Illinois plus Johnson County. Each basal leaf is on a long stalk, and the stem leaves are attached directly to the stem with no stalk. Flowers are produced in April and May. The flowers are in a cluster at the stem tip. Flowers are pink or purple. A single plant may be four to 12 inches tall.
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These plant species are native to Illinois, and most of them are good sources of nectar and/or pollen for animals that act as pollinators. Some of them provide food for larval stages of pollinators, too, and many of them provide shelter throughout the year. They are readily available for purchase from plant nurseries. These species are best for locations that receive sunshine for most of the day throughout the growing season.
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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.