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 Illinois

  Wetland Plants  

Plants in Northern Illinois Wetlands

Northern Illinois Wetland Plants

 

CattailCattail
Typha latifolia
Marsh plants like cattails grow in widespread dense stands because they spread and grow from underground stems called rhizomes. These rhizomes grow through the mud and sprout hundreds of thousands of stems, all from a start as a single seed!

 

River BulrushRiver Bulrush
Scirpus fluviatilis
Marsh plants like river bulrush grow in widespread dense stands because they spread and grow from underground stems called rhizomes. These rhizomes grow through the mud and sprout hundreds of thousands of stems, all from a start as a single seed!

 

Great BulrushGreat Bulrush
Scirpus validus
Marsh plants like great bulrush grow in widespread dense stands because they spread and grow from underground stems called rhizomes. These rhizomes grow through the mud and sprout hundreds of thousands of stems, all from a start as a single seed!

 

Common ReedCommon Reed
Phragmites australis
Most marsh plants, like common reed, depend on the wind to pollinate them. This plant may be seen growing in moist soil throughout the state.

 

Bur-reedBur-reed
Sparganium eurycarpum
The bur-reed is a shallow water plant. Flowers appear throughout the summer months.

 

IrisIris
Iris shrevei
Most marsh plants lack flowers and depend on the wind to pollinate them, but a few like the iris have showy blossoms and are insect pollinated. This plant may be found in wet areas in every Illinois county. It flowers from May through June.

 

Swamp MilkweedSwamp Milkweed
Asclepias incarnata
A common wetland plant found in every Illinois county, the swamp milkweed has spear-shaped opposite leaves and pink or pinkish-red flowers. Like all milkweeds, the sap of this plant is milky. A single plant may be up to five feet tall.

 

Spiked Water MilfoilSpiked Water Milfoil
Myriophyllum exalbescens
Aquatic plants like spiked water milfoil have submerged leaves but raise their flowers above the surface.

 

Yellow Pond LilyYellow Pond Lily
Nuphar luteum
The yellow pond lily grows in ponds in scattered locations throughout Illinois. The yellow blossoms appear from May through August. Leaves are oval in shape.

 

Water SmartweedWater Smartweed
Polygonum amphibium
Water smartweed is found occasionally in the northern half of Illinois and rarely elsewhere. This plant grows in water.

 

Pitcher Plant
Pitcher Plant
Sarracenia purpurea
An endangered species in Illinois, the pitcher plant grows in the peatlands and fens of northeastern Illinois. The leaves of this plant are developed into a pitfall trap. When an insect enters, it is trapped inside and will be digested by this carnivorous plant.

 

White lady's Slipper
White Lady's Slipper
Cypripedium candidum
A threatened species in Illinois, this plant flowers in May and June. Its sepals and petals are green-yellow, The "lip" is white.

 


White Turtlehead
Chelone glabra
This plant blooms from July through October. Its flowers are white or green-yellow. White turtlehead is more commonly found in the northern one-half than the southern one-half of Illinois.

 


Marsh Marigold
Caltha palustris
The flowering period of this plant is March through June. The flower color is yellow.

 


Erect Sedge
Carex stricta
Hundreds of species of Carex, or sedges, occur in Illinois. The erect sedge is most commonly associated with wet soils.

 


Marsh Cinquefoil
Potentilla palustris
This plant flowers from the beginning of June to the end of July. The flower color is violet. Marsh cinquefoil may be seen growing in Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

 


Sphagnum moss

Sphagnum sp.
Sphagnum or peat moss is the most common plant on the ground in the bog. It produces the acid which other bog plants need.

 

Sago Pondweed
Potamogeton pectinatus
Because of its potato-like tubers, sago pondweed is one of the most important native wildlife food plants in wetlands and is especially relished by ducks. It requires clear water to get the light it needs to grow. This plant has disappeared from many Illinois wetlands because of muddy water caused by soil erosion.

 


Long-leaved Pondweed
Potamogeton nodosus
Aquatic plants like long-leaved pondweed have submerged leaves but raise their flowers above the surface.

 


Eelgrass
Vallisneria americana
Eelgrass grows in quiet waters in the northern half of Illinois and in Alexander County.

 


Pussy Willow
Salix discolor
The pussy willow has broad, spear-shaped leaves that are smooth and white on the lower surface. This plant is found in marshes and bottomland woods and may grow to a height of 20 feet. Male and female flowers grow in different spikes and may be three inches long.

 


Tamarack
Larix laricina
Tamarack is a conifer or cone-bearing tree. However, unlike its relatives the pines and spruces, it is deciduous and loses its leaves in the winter.

 


Leatherleaf
Chamaedaphne caliculata
This evergreen shrub is rare and found only in bogs in northeastern Illinois. It may grow to four feet tall. The leaves are alternate, simple and oblong. Flowers are white, one-fourth to one-third inch long.

 


Poison Sumac
Rhus vernix
Poison sumac is a tall shrub that is poisonous to the touch like its close relative poison ivy. It grows in both fens and bogs.

 


Marsh Fern
Thelypteris palustris
Sunny, moist meadows, moist woodlands and along ditches and streams are where the marsh fern is found. The leaf of this plant may be 18 inches long and six inches wide.

 


Cinnamon Fern
Osmunda cinnamomea
The cinnamon fern grows in damp and waterlogged locations. Its coarse, lance-shaped leaves may be three feet long. Young leaves, or fiddleheads, are covered with silvery hairs. As the leaves expand, the hairs turn cinnamon brown.


[Spring Woodland Wildflowers of Illinois Poster]
[Northern Illinois Wetlands Poster]
[Summer Prairie Wildflowers and Grasses of Illinois Poster ]
Invertebrates | Birds | Fish | Fungi |Mammals | Reptiles & Amphibians | Spring Woodland Wildflowers of Illinois |
Summer Prairie Wildflowers of Illinois

 

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