List of Native Prairie Plants for Use Along Roadsides in Illinois.
This is Part 2. Scientific Names I - Z

Go to Part 1. Scientific Names A - H

Developed for the Corridors for Tomorrow Project"

Kenneth R. Robertson
Center for Biodiversity
Illinois Natural History Survey
607 East Peabody Drive
Champaign, IL 61820 USA

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Scientific Name
Common Name
Natural Habitat in Illinois 1
Regions of Illinois Where Native 2
Ultimate Height3
Pollinator Type and Insect Visitors4
Fruit Type5
Wildlife Attracted6
Special Features7
Establishment8
Adaptability8
Iris shrevei
wild blue iris
wet prairies; marshes; edges of ponds
N, C, S
2-3'
bees, Diptera
capsules with plump seeds
waterfowl, small mammals
beautiful flowers
fresh seed or rootstock

Juncus interior
inland rush
mesic to prairies; ditches; roadsides
N, C, S
0.5-1.5'
wind
capsules with tiny seeds
ungulates
excellent nesting cover
from seed

Koeleria macrantha (K. cristata)
June grass
hill and sand prairies; mesic prairies; savannas
N, C, S
2-3'
wind
grains
gamebirds, songbirds, small mammals
attractive inflorescence
transplants or dry stratified seeds

Lespedeza capitata
round-headed bush clover
hill and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies; open woodlands
N, C, S
2-5'
long-tongue bees (2), short-tongue bees (1), Lepidoptera (1)
one seeded legume
gamebirds, small mammals
nesting cover; nitrogen fixing; very deep taproot
easy from scarified, inoculated, moist stratified seed

Liatris aspera
rough blazing star
hill and sand prairies; mesic to dry prairies
N, C, S
1.5-4'
bees, butterflies, flies
achenes with tufts of hair
small mammals
beautiful flowers
easy from dry stratified seed
drought resistant; excellent plant for dry areas
Liatris cylindracea
cylindrical blazing star
hill prairies; dry prairies; dry open woods
N, C, S
1-2'
bees, butterflies, flies
achenes with tufts of hair
small mammals
beautiful flowers
easy from dry stratified seed
drought resistant
Liatris pycnostachya
prairie blazing star
mesic to wet prairies;
N, C, S
2-4'
long-tongued bees (14), short tongued bees (2), Diptera (6), Lepidoptera (12)
achenes with tufts of hair
small mammals
beautiful flowers
easy from moist stratified seed
drought resistant
Lilium michiganense
turk's cap lily
mesic to wet prairies; swales; woods
N, C, S
2-6'
Lepidoptera
capsules with plump seeds
hummingbirds
beautiful large flowers
seed or transplants

Lithospermum canescens
hoary puccoon
hill prairies; dry to mesic prairies; woods (sand prairies??)
N, C, S
8''-1'
long-tongued bees (17), Diptera (2), Lepidoptera (18)
hard nutlets

beautiful flowers
from seeds soaked in hot water or scarified

Lobelia cardinalis
cardinal flower
wet prairies; swamps; wet ditches
N, C, S
3'
hummingbirds, long-tongued bees (1), Lepidoptera (2)
capsules with tiny seeds
hummingbirds
beautiful red flowers
from transplants or moist stratified seed
does well in moist soils
Lobelia siphilitica
giant blue Lobelia
wet prairies; low woods; swamps
N, C, S
2'
long-tongued bees (5), short-tongued bees (3), Lepidoptera (2)
capsules with tiny seed
bees
beautiful blue flowers
from transplants or moist stratified seed

Lupinus perennis
wild lupine
sand prairies; savannas; dunes
N
1-2'
bees
legumes with few seeds
bees, moths, butterflies
excellent soil builder
from scarified, inoculated, and moist stratified seeds

Lythrum alatum
winged loosestrife
mesic to wet prairies; marshes; fens; alkaline seeps
N, C, S
2-3'
heterostylous; insects
capsules with tiny seeds




Monarda fistulosa
wild bergamot
hill prairies; dry to mesic prairies; edges of woods
N, C, S
2-3'
long-tongued bees (21), short-tongued bees (7), Lepidoptera (23)
nutlets
attracts many insects
quite competitive
easy from moist stratified seeds
adaptable to roadsides
Oenothera pilosella
prairie sundrops
mesic to wet prairies
N, C, S
1.5-3'
moths
capsules with many seeds
upland gamebirds, songbirds, small mammals
beautiful flowers
easy from dry stratified seeds and root cuts
often found on roadsides
Oenothera rhombipetala
sand primrose
sand prairies
N, C, S
1.5-3'
moths
capsules with many seeds
upland gamebirds, songbirds, small mammals
beautiful flowers
probably simliar to O. pilosella

Oxalis violacea
purple oxalis
hill and gravel prairies; mesic prairies; bluffs
N, C, S
4-8'
long-tongued bees (12), short-tongued bees (14), Diptera (1), Lepidoptera (3)
capsules
waterfowl, upland gamebirds, songbirds, small mammals

easy from transplants, difficult from seeds

Panicum virgatum
switch grass
dry to mesic prairies
N, C, S
3-5'
wind
grain
meadow voles, small mammals
aggressive grass; provides excellent nesting cover
easy from dry stratified seed
adaptable to roadsides
Parthenium integrifolium
American feverfew
dry to mesic prairies; dry open woods
N, C, S
2-3'
long-tongued bees (4), short-tongued bees (7), other Hymenoptera (15), Diptera (20), Coleoptera (6), Hemiptera (3)
achenes


easy

Pedicularis canadensis
lousewort
hill and sand prairies; mesic to dry prairies; savannas;
N, C, S
0.5-1.5'
bees
capsules with tiny seeds


seeds and transplants, difficult to establish
prefers slightly acidic soils
Penstemon digitalis
foxglove beardstongue
mesic prairies; woods;
N, C, S
3-5'
bees
capsules with tiny seeds

readily self-sows
easy from seed or transplants
a very tolerent species
Penstemon pallidus
pale beardstongue
hill and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies
N, C, S
1-3'
bees
capsules with tiny seeds

readily self-sows
easy despite fine seed
needs well drained soil
Perideridea americana
perideridia
mesic prairies; floodplains; woods
N, C, S
2-3.5'
insects
nutets
butterflies, small mammals



Petalostemum candidum
white prairie clover
hill, gravel, and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies; savannas
N, C, S
1-3'
long-tongued bees (4), short-tongued bees (11), other Hymenoptera (7), Diptera (7), Lepidoptera (1)
one seeded legumes
small mammals, butterfly larvae; highly sought by herbivores
nitrogen fixing; attractive flowers which riseabove grasses; some damping off problems with seedlings
easy from scarified, inoculated and moist stratified seeds, also transplants

Petalostemum purpureum
purple prairie clover
hill, gravel, and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies; savannas; usually slightly moister sites than P. candidum
N, C, S
1-3'
long-tongued bees (37), short-tongued bees (18), Diptera (12), Lepidoptera (6), Coleoptera (4), Hemiptera (2), other Hymenoptera (15)
one seeded legumes
small mammals, butterfly larvae; highly sought by herbivores
nitrogen fixing; attractive wherever grown
easy from scarified, inoculated and moist stratified seeds, also transplants

Phlox glaberrima
smooth phlox
wet prairies; fens
N, C, S
1.5-3'
Lepidoptera (7), Diptera (1)
capsules
hummingbirds
attractive flowers
easy from cold stratified seed

Phlox pilosa
downy phlox
hill prairies; dry to mesic prairies
N, C, S
1-2'
long-tongued bees (7), Diptera (1), Lepidoptera (12)
capsules
small mammals, gamebirds
attractive flowers
easy from moist stratified seeds
can be subject to pests
Physalis heterophylla
ground cherry
hill and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies; degraded prairies
N, C, S
1-4'
bees
berry
small mammals, gamebirds

easy by seed and division

Physalis subglabrata
smooth ground cherry
mesic prairies; degraded prairies
N, C, S
1-4'
short-tongued bees (1)
berry


easy by seed and division

Physostegia virginiana
false dragonhead
hill and sand prairies; dry, mesic, and wet prairies
N, C, S
2-3'
birds (1), long-tongued bees (4), Lepidoptera (2)
nutlets


easy from seeds and spot planting

Polytaenia nuttallii
prairie parsley
hill and gravel prairies; dry prairies
N, C, S
2-3'
long-tongued bees (4), short-tongued bees (20), other Hymenoptera (20), Diptera (17), Coleoptera (1), Hemiptera (3)
nutlets
butterflies

use dry stratified seeds

Potentilla arguta
prairie cinquefoil
hill and gravel prairies; dry to mesic prairies
N, C
1-3'
bees
achenes


easy from stratified seed

Prenanthes aspera
rough white lettuce
mesic prairies
N, C, S
3-4'
long-tongued bees (1)
achenes with tufts of hair


easy from seed

Prenanthes racemosa
glaucous white lettuce
mesic to wet prairies
N, C, S
2-4'
bees
achenes with tufts of hair


easy from seed

Prunella vulgaris
self-heal
mesic prairies; woodlands
N, C, S
8-10''
long-tongued bees (9), short-tongued bees(3), other Hymenoptera (1), Diptera (2), Lepidoptera (8)
nutlets


easy

Pycnanthemum tenuifolium
slender mountain mint
mesic to dry prairies
N, C, S
2-3'
long-tongued bees (44), short-tongued bees (38), other Hymenoptera (88), Diptera (54), Lepidoptera (29), Coleoptera (9), Hemiptera (5)
nutlets


reliable by seed

Pycnanthemum virginianum
common mountain mint
hill prairies; dry, mesic, wet prairies; fens
N, C, S
2-3'
long-tongued bees (10), short-tongued bees (15), other Hymenoptera (23), Diptera (14), Lepidoptera (2)
nutlets


reliable by seed

Ratibida pinnata
drooping coneflower
hill and gravel prairies; dry to mesic prairies
N, C, S
3-4'
bees
achenes
upland gamebirds, songbirds, ungulates
binds soil; very aggressive; tall showy species
very easy from moist stratified seed

Rosa carolina
pasture rose
hill and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies
N, C, S
2-4'
bees, Coleoptera, probably similar to R. setigera
fleshy hips with achenes
upland gamebirds, songbirds, ungulates

best establishment from cuttings

Rosa setigera
prairie rose; Illinois rose
mesic prairies; woods; thickets; clearings
N, C, S
2'
long-tongued bees (12), short-tongued bees (6), Diptera (16), Coleoptera (1)
fleshy hips with achenes
songbirds

best establishment from cuttings

Rudbeckia hirta
black-eyed Susan
hill, gravel, and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies; degraded prairies
N, C, S
1-3'
long-tongued bees (14), short-tongued bees (13), other Hymenoptera (7), Diptera (31), Lepidoptera (12), Coleoptera (6), Hemipteras (1)
achenes
songbirds
attractive sunflower
from transplants and moist stratified seeds
a very flexibleand adaptable species; prefers dry, poor acid soil
Rudbeckia subtomentosa
fragrant coneflower; sweet black-eyed Susan
sand prairies; prairie/woodland borders
N, C, S
3-5'
long-tongued bees (13), short-tongued bees (14), other Hymenoptera (16), Diptera (35), Lepidoptera (12), Coleoptera (3), Hemiptera (4)
achenes
songbirds
attractive sunflower
probably similar to R. hirta

Rudbeckia triloba
brown-eyed Susan
wet prairies; open woods; along streams
N, C, S
1-4'
long-tongue bees (23), short-tongued bees (25), other Hymenoptera (12), Diptera (37), Lepidoptera (7),
achenes
songbirds
attractive sunflower
probably similar to R. hirta

Ruellia humilis
wild petunia
hill and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies
N, C, S
1-1.5'
insects
capsules
songbirds, gamebirds, small mammals



Salix humilis
see "Shrubs" table




see "Shrubs" table




Schizachyrium scoparium
little bluestem
hill, gravel, and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies; roadsides
N, C, S
3-4'
long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, Diptera
hairy grain
songbirds, small mammals, gamebirds
moderately aggressive; excellent nesting cover
easy from dry stratified seed
prefers drier soils, but very adaptable
Schrankia uncinata
cat-claw
dry prairies
N, C
3'
wind
prickly legumes




Scirpus pendulus
bulrush
mesic prairies; low woods; along streams
N, C, S
3'
wind
achenes

good nesting cover


Senecio plattensis
prairie groundsel
hill and gravel prairies; bluff tops
N, C
1-1.5'
Diptera, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera
achenes with tufts of hair


establish from moist stratified seed or transplants
needs rich, moist soils
Silphium integrifolium
rosinweed
hill prairies; dry, mesic, wet prairies
N, C, S
3-5'
long-tongued bees (18), short-tongued bees (3), Diptera (3)
achenes
small mammals, songbirds
soil forming
easy from seeds, transplants

Silphium laciniatum
compass plant
mesic prairies
N, C, S
4-9'
long-tongued bees (13), short-tongued bees (5), Diptera (9), Lepidoptera (2)
achenes
small mammals, songbirds
soil forming; very aggressive
easy from moist stratified seeds, and transplants

Silphium terebinthinaceum
prairie-dock
mesic to wet prairies
N, C, S
5-10'
long-tongued bees (7), short-tongued bees (2), other Hymenoptera (1), Diptera (2)
achenes
small mammmals
classic prairie species
easy from moist stratified seeds, and transplants

Sisyrinchium albidum
blue-eyed grass
hill, gravel, and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies
N, C, S
6-10''
long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, Diptera
capsules with round seeds
underground rhizomes eaten by herbivores
lovely flowers
easy from fresh or dry stratified seeds

Solanum carolinense
horse-nettle
sand prairies; disturbed areas
N, C, S
3'
long-tongued bees (3), probably many other insects
berry

weedy, but attracts many pollinators
easy from seed; readily self-sows

Solidago canadensis
tall goldenrod
mesic prairies; roadsides; open fields
N, C, S
1-4'
long-tongued bees (22), short-tongued bees (28), other Hymenoptera (81), Diptera (62), Lepidoptera (8), Coleoptera (14), Hemiptera (3)
achenes with tufts of hair
songbirds, small mammals
spreads rapidly; binds soil; does not cause allergies; somewhat weedy
easy from stratified seeds, or transplants

Solidago juncea
early goldenrod
dry to mesic prairies; open woods; old fields
N, C, S
2-4'
probably similar to S. missouriensis
achenes with tufts of hair
songbirds, small mammals
soil binding; spreads rapidly; does not cause allergies
easy from stratified seeds, or transplants

Solidago missouriensis
Missouri goldenrod
mesic prairies; degraded prairies; old fields
N, C, S
1-3'
long-tongued bees (6), short-tongued bees (10), other Hymenoptera (31), diptera (17), Coleoptera (3), Hemiptera (1)
achenes with tufts of hair
songbirds, small mammals
soil binding; spreads rapidly; does not cause allergies
easy from stratified seeds, or transplants

Solidago nemoralis
field goldenrod
hill prairies; dry to mesic prairies; old fields
N, C, S
1-3'
long-tongued bees (8), short-tongued bees (15), other Hymenoptera (28), Diptera (27), Lepidoptera (6), Coleoptera (5), Hemiptera (3)
achenes with tufts of hair
songbirds, small mammals
soil binding; spreads rapidly; does not cause allergies
easy by division, can also use dry stratified seed

Solidago riddellii
Riddell goldenrod
mesic to wet prairies; fens and seeps
N, C, S
2-3'
bees, flies
achenes with tufts of hair
songbirds, small mammals
soil binding
easy from seeds
adaptable to moist situations
Solidago rigida
rigid goldenrod
hill prairies; dry to mesic prairies; degraded prairies
N, C, S
2-4'
long-tongued bees (9), short-tongued (3), other Hymenoptera (16), Diptera (13), Lepidoptera (7), Coleoptera (3)
achenes with tufts of hair
songbirds, small mammals
soil binding; too aggressive for small plantings
easy from seeds
often envades roadsides and disturbed areas, especially if moist sites
Solidago speciosa
showy goldenrod
hill and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies; open woods
N, C, S
2-6'
long-tongued bees (5), other Hymenoptera (1), Lepidoptera (2)
achenes with tufts of hair
songbirds
soil binding; becomes aggressive with increasing moisture
from dry stratified seeds
adaptable to various moisture regimes
Sorghastrum nutans
Indian grass
hill and sand prairies; dry, mesic, wet prairies
N, C, S
4-8'
wind
hairy grain
waterfowl, marshbirds, songbirds; muskrats eat roots
soil forming; aggressive; excellent nesting cover
from cold stratified seeds

Spartina pectinata
cord grass
wet to wet prairies; wet ditches
N, C, S
3-6'
wind
grain
small mammals, songbirds, gamebirds
excellent nesting cover
from cold stratified seeds, viability often poor

Spiranthes cernua
nodding ladies' tresses
sand prairies; fens; dry woodlands; old fields
N, C, S
1-2'
long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees
capsules with minute seeds

viability low
not difficult to transplant

Spiranthes mag-nicamporum
fragrant ladies' tresses
hill and sand prairies; mesic prairies; dry upland wood
N, C
1-2'
long-tongued bees, short-tongeud bees
capsules with minute seeds
gamebirds, songbirds



Sporobolus heterolepis
northern prairie dropseed
dry to mesic prairies; dry uplands
N, C, S
2-3'
wind
grain
songbirds, small mammals
very important food source; beautiful tufted clumps
easy from dry stratified seed

Stipa spartea
porcupine grass
hill and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies
N, C
2-4'
wind
grain
gamebirds
very important food source
from cold stratified seeds

Tephrosia virginiana
goat's rue
hill and sand prairies; dry prairies; upland sites
N, C, S
1-2'
long-tongued bees (5)
legumes
gamebirds
nitrogen fixing; attractive flowers
best establishment from scarified, inoculated, and moist stratified seed
thrives on dry soil
Thalictrum dasycarpum
purple meadow rue
mesic to wet prairies; sedge meadows; streambanks
N, C, S
3-4'
mostly dioecious; wind, Diptera, bees
achenes

attractive plant
transplants or stratified seeds

Thaspium barbinode
hairy meadow parsnip
mesic prairies; savannas
N, C
3'
insects, especially Diptera
nutlets
butterflies

easily grown

Tradescantia ohiensis
spiderwort
hill, gravel, and sand prairies; dry, mesic, wet prairies; savannas
N, C, S
2-3'
probably similar to T. virginiana
capsules
songbirds

easy from fresh or moist stratified seeds
drought resistant
Tradescantia virginiana
spiderwort
sand prairies; savannas; woodlands
C, S
1'
long-tongued bees (7), short-tongued bees (2), Coleoptera (1)
capsules
songbirds

easy from fresh or moist stratified seeds
drought resistant
Verbena strica
hoary vervain
hill prairies; dry prairies; degraded prairies; pastures; fields
N, C, S
2-3'
long-tongued bees (59), short-tongued bees (11), other Hymenoptera (5), Diptera (15), Lepidoptera (30)
nutlets
songbirds, butterflies
somewhat weedy
easily grown from cold stratified seeds

Vernonia fasciculata
common ironweed
mesic to wet prairies
N, C, S
2-4'
long-tongued bees (20), short-tongued bees (6), Diptera (3), Lepidoptera (16)
achenes with tufts of hair
butterflies
aggressive establisher
easily grown from cold stratified seeds

Veronicastrum virginicum
Culver's root
mesic to wet prairies
N, C, S
3-6'
bees, other Hymenoptera
capsules with many tiny seeds
ants, gamebirds
seeds small and difficult to germinate, although spreads easily once established
from seed and stem cuttings

Viola pedata
birdfoot violet
gravel and sand prairies; dry to mesic prairies; savannas
N, C, S
3-6''
long-tongued bees (6), Diptera (1), Lepidoptera (7)
capsules
ants, gamebirds eat roots, butterfly larvae
difficult to grow; showy flowers; only moderately competitive
best from dry stratified seeds

Viola pedatifida
prairie violet
dry to mesic prairie; upland prairies
N, C
3-6''
long-tongued bees (1)
capsules
ants, gamebirds eat roots, butterflies larvae
showy flower
use fresh seeds

Zizia aptera
heart-leafed meadow parsnip
gravel prairies; dry prairies
N
1-2'
bees, Diptera
nutlets
butterfly larvae
attractive early lowers
use fresh seeds which need long period of stratification

Zizia aurea
golden Alexanders
mesic to wet prairies; fens; woodlands
N, C, S
1-3'
long-tongued bees (19), short-tongued bees (42), other Hymenoptera (32), Diptera (65), Lepidoptera (5), Coleoptera (13)
nutlets
butterfly larvae
attractive early flowers
use fresh seeds which need long period of stratification

Click here for published references consulted for this project.

1 Almost all species of prairie plants occur in habitats other than prairies; in this column the emphasis is on the different types of prairies in which the species occur. Information on habitat based primarily on Evers (1955); Kirt (1995); Korling (1972); Lunn (1982); Mohlenbrock (1986); Runkel & Roosa (1989); Swink & Wilhelm (1994); Voight & Mohlenbrock (1979); White (1978) as well as personal observations.

2 Information on region based primarily on Mohlenbrock & Ladd (1978); Mohlenbrock (1986); "n" = north of Interstate 80; "c" = central, between Interstate 80 and Interstate 64; "s" = south of Interstate 64; a capital letter indicates that the species is native to that region while a lower case letter indicates that the species can be cultivated in the region although it is not native there.

3 Information on height based primarily on Kirt (1995); Korling (1972); Lunn (1982); Mohlenbrock (1986); Runkel & Roosa (1989); Voight & Mohlenbrock (1979).

4 All flowers perfect unless otherwise mentioned; information on pollination mostly from Robertson (1929). Perfect flowers = flowers have both female & male parts; monoecious = separate female and male flowers on the same plant; dioecious = separate female and male flowers on different plants; polygamous = a mix of perfect and/or female and male flowers on the same plant. The numbers in parentheses refer to the number of species reported visiting this species by Robertson (1929).

5 Information of fruits largely from Fernald (1950) and personal observations by K. R. Robertson.

6 Information on wildlife primarily based on: DeGraaf & Witman (1979); Ehrlich et al. (1988); Gill & Healy (1974); Martin et al. (1951).

7 Information on special largely from Kirt (1995); Runkel & Roosa (1989); Voss & Mohlenbrock (1979).

8 Information on Establishment and Adaptability mostly from McClain (1986); Rock (1979).

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