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For Your Garden - May 2019

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.
pussy-toes (Antennaria plantaginifolia)
Photo © 2019, River Valley Photographic Resources Ltd., rvprltd.com
Pussy-toes plants grow in woodlands, hill prairies, bluffs, thickets, pastures and old fields statewide. The plant may reach about six inches in height. There is a rosette of leaves at the base of the plant, and some leaves also develop along the flower stem. Plants are either male or female. Flowers develop in April and May. The flowers are cream or white. The fruit is a nutlet with a tuft of white hair. Pollinating insects visit the flowers, and some birds eat the 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.

 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.