For Your Garden - September 2008

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Prairie wildflowers paint the landscape with beautiful colors in September, and their nectar attracts many native insect species. These species can make your garden a vibrant and active place to enjoy. Have you included any native prairie wildflowers in your garden? Native prairie wildflowers are resistant to cold and drought and are rarely attacked by disease and insects. They are perennials that you can enjoy year after year without having to provide them with much care.

blazing-star (Liatris spp.)
Photo © Illinois Department of Natural Resources
There are several species of blazing-star native to Illinois. Their tall spikes of purple flowers can be seen throughout the state from July until late fall. Most commonly associated with prairies, blazing-star varieties are also adapted to savannas, open woods, wet meadows, fens and sandy areas. The plants can grow to a height of about five feet. The stem is unbranched and is covered with a spiral of long, narrow leaves. The plant grows from a corm, an underground stem with scaly leaves that is similar in appearance to a bulb.
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.