September 2009


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 gardenís 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 diseases. 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.† †


compass-plant (Silphium laciniatum)

Photo © 2009, Adele Hodde, IDNR Office of Public Services. Photo rights available for purchase.


Compass-plant grows in prairies and along roadsides throughout the state, although it is not as commonly found in the southern counties as it is in the rest of Illinois. The basal leaves can be about one foot in length, and smaller leaves are present in an alternating pattern on the flower stalk. The basal leaves have many divisions. The flower stalk can reach eight feet in height. Compass-plant blooms from June through September. The flowers are yellow with a yellow center and are produced at the tip of the flowering stalk. Compass-plant got its common name because its leaves are held vertically in a north to south plane.


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


Prairie Establishment and Landscaping


Landscaping for Wildlife


Butterfly Gardens