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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. Consider adding a few native plant species to your garden soon!
yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Photo © 2013, Joe McFarland, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
The yellow-poplar is also known as the tuliptree or tulip-poplar. It is native to eastern and southern Illinois but is widely planted in the state as an ornamental tree, too. It grows in moist, rich upland forests. It may reach a height of 120 feet. The oblong or pyramidal shape is distinctive. Flowers are about two inches long and open in May. They consist of six petals, each yellow-green with an orange base. The leaves have four large lobes, usually with a notch between the upper lobes. The winged seeds produced by the flowers provide food for wildlife in the fall and winter.
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. You can access more information on the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant page, too.
Prairie Establishment and Landscaping
Landscaping for Wildlife