For Your Garden - May 2018

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.
marsh blazing-star (Liatris spicata)
Photo © John Hilty
Marsh blazing-star is found statewide in prairies, wet meadows and sandy soil. A single plant may attain a height of up to 60 inches. This member of the aster family has unbranched, smooth stems. The leaves are thin, much like a blade of grass. Blue-purple to red-pink flower heads are produced from July through September. The flower heads attach directly to the stem. Bracts the below flower heads are sticky, long, flat and purple or have purple edges. Pollinators are attracted to the nectar and pollen from this species.
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.

 Illinois Range

 Native Plant Information

For more information about native Illinois plants, including where to purchase them and planting guides, view the following publications at our publications page. You can access more information on the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant page, too.