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Summer can be a stressful time for plants. High temperatures, drought, diseases and insects can all affect the plants in your garden. How can you maintain your garden's beauty throughout this season? Use native wildflowers and grasses! Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and disease. They also provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Their brilliantly colored blossoms and interesting shapes will make your landscape a showplace. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.
rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
Photo © 2008, Adele Hodde, IDNR Office of Public Services. Photo rights available for purchase.
Rattlesnake master grows wild in Illinois prairies and woodland openings in scattered locations throughout the state. The blue-green leaves develop in a cluster at the base. Each leaf is fairly uniform in length, like a sword blade, and has small spines along the edge. A single leaf may be up to two and one-half feet long. The tiny white flowers are clustered in a sphere. Each sphere has its own stalk that develops from the plant's single stem. Rattlesnake master blooms from July through August. The plant may reach three to five feet in height. Early settlers thought that the plant was good for the treatment of rattlesnake bite, thus the common name of “rattlesnake master.” It was not effective for that purpose, however.
For more information about native Illinois plants, including where to purchase them and planting guides, the following publications are available through the IDNR order form at http://dnr.state.il.us/teachkids.
Prairie Establishment and Landscaping
Landscaping for Wildlife