September 2008

Prairie wildflowers paint the landscape with beautiful colors in September, and their nectar attracts many native insect species. These species can make your garden a vibrant and active place to enjoy. Have you included any native prairie wildflowers in your garden? Native prairie 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.

blazing-star    Liatris spp.

There are several species of blazing-star native to Illinois. Their tall spikes of purple flowers can be seen throughout the state from July until late fall. Most commonly associated with prairies, blazing-star varieties are also adapted to savannas, open woods, wet meadows, fens and sandy areas. The plants can grow to a height of about five feet. The stem is unbranched and is covered with a spiral of long, narrow leaves. The plant grows from a corm, an underground stem with scaly leaves that is similar in appearance to a bulb.

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.dnr.illinois.gov/publications.

Prairie Establishment and Landscaping

Landscaping for Wildlife

Butterfly Gardens