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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.
purple prairie clover
Photo © 2012, Adele Hodde, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Purple prairie clover grows in prairies statewide. It blooms from June through September. The plant grows to one to two feet in height. Leaves are alternate and compound with three to five leaflets. Each leaflet is thin (about 1/8 inch) and up to about one inch long. The flowers are produced in a spike at the tip of the stem. Flowers may be purple, rose, pink or red. These plants are beneficial to the garden by adding nitrogen to the soil.
For more information about native Illinois plants, including where to purchase them and planting guides, view the following publications at http://dnr.state.il.us/teachkids.
Prairie Establishment and Landscaping
Landscaping for Wildlife