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We're officially in fall, and native prairie wildflowers are painting the landscape with shades of gold, purple and other beautiful hues. Take note of the colors and species to start planning your garden for next year. Native 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.
New England aster (Aster novae-angliae) with goldenrod (Solidago spp.)
Photo © 2008, Adele Hodde, IDNR Office of Public Services. Photo rights available for purchase.
The abundant purple, lavender or pink flowers of New England aster are produced from August until heavy frosts occur. Each flower has a yellow or orange center. Flowers are about one and a half inches wide. Found throughout Illinois in prairies and pastures, the mature New England aster plant has a bushy appearance as stems grow in all directions from the root. Leaves are from one to two inches long and do not have stems. Butterflies are very attracted to the huge number of flowers produced by this species.
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://www.idnrteachkids.com.
Prairie Establishment and Landscaping
Landscaping for Wildlife