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.
early meadow rue (Thalictrum dioicum)
Photo © River Valley Photographic Resources Ltd., rvprltd.com
Early meadow rue grows in rich woods and prairies statewide. It has alternate, compound leaves, each up to one foot long. Flowers are borne in April and May. Plants produce either male or female flowers. The flowers develop in clusters at the stem tip, and they droop. There are no petals. The sepals are green-white to purple-brown. The flowers are pollinated by wind. A single plant may be up to two and one-half feet tall. The fruits are dry, hard and one-seeded. Some moth larvae feed on the leaves and stems.
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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.