For Your Garden

 

March 2008

 

Even if itís still cold where you live in Illinois, the amount of daylight is increasing and spring wildflowers will start blooming in March. Have you ever thought of including native wildflowers in your garden? Native woodland 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. They bloom early in the season before tree leaves have all unfurled to take advantage of light that will be unavailable to them later in the spring and summer.

 

Celandine-poppy, or wood-poppy, is a perennial plant with hairy stems that grow to about one foot in height. The stems have yellow sap that was commonly used as a dye by Native Americans. Leaves grow from the base of the plant and along the stem. The hairy leaves are pinnately lobed, with each leaf up to about 10 inches long. Flowers arise in clusters of up to four at the stem tip. There are four yellow petals per flower, and each flower may be two inches wide. The fruit is a hairy capsule, up to one inch long. Celandine-poppy grows in naturally in the rich wet woods of the southern one-fourth of Illinois as well as in Vermilion and Cook counties. Flowers are produced from March through May.

 

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 www.dnr.illinois.gov/publications.

 

Prairie Establishment and Landscaping

Landscaping for Wildlife

Butterfly Gardens