Native Plants

Native Plant List for Illinois, Iowa & Missouri

This is a "starter" list of native plants for Illinois, Iowa & Missouri. It is intended for residential or commercial landscapers who want to create attractive and varied native landscapes.

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Illinois, Iowa & Missouri Trees

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Soil Moisture Heights     Comments
Red Maple Acer rubrum F W-D 50-75' Buds & young twigs are red; great red fall color
Sugar Maple Acer saccharum F-P A 50-75' Excellent fall color; produces maple syrup
Ohio Buckeye Aesculus glabra F-P A 30-50' Yellow flowers; yellow/orange fall color; nuts messy
Hercules' Club Aralia spinosa F-S A-D 10-20' Thorny; attracts birds/butterflies; yellow-red fall foliage
Pawpaw Asimina triloba P-S A 40' Unique fruit resembles & tests like banana
River Birch Betula nigra F A-W 40-70' Modest yellow fall color; seed attracts birds
Shagbark Hickory Carya ovata F-P A 70-90' Yellow to gold-brown fall color; Squirrels eat nuts
Rough-leaved Dogwood Cornus drummondii F D 20' White flowers in spring
Persimmon Diospyros virginiana F-S D-A 30-50' Yellow, orange to mauve fall color; butterfly larval plant
White Ash Fraxinus americana F-P A 60-80' Yellow, maroon to purple fall color; butterfly larval plant
Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica F-P A 50-60' Grows fast; yellow fall color
Kentucky Coffee Tree Gymnocladus dioica F A 60-75' Doubly-compound leaves; pods on female trees messy
Black Gum Nyssa sylvatica F A-D 30-60' Scarlet red autumn color
Short-leaf Pine Pinus echinata F-P D 80-90' Dark blue-green needles; seed eaten by birds
American Sycamore Plantus occidentalis F-P A-W 70-90' Leaves drop all summer; white mottled bark
Native Cottonwood Populus deltoides F A 70-90' Modest fall color; can be messy
Black Cherry Prunus serotina F-P D 50-80' Messy tree; small edible berries in summer attract birds
White Oak Quercus alba F-P D 60-90' Brown, red, wine fall color; acorns attract birds/squirrels
Bur Oak Quercus macrocarpa F W-D 60-75' Mild yellow-brown fall color; most widespread oak
Bald Cypress Taxodium distichum F A-W 50-75' Deciduous needles change to russett in fall then fall off
American Basswood Tilia americana P-S A-W 60-80' Wood used for carving; nector makes honey; seeds

Illinois, Iowa & Missouri Shrubs

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Soil Moisture Heights     Comments
Red Buckeye Aesculus pavia P-F A 10-20' Erect clusters of red flowers; poisonous nuts are messy
Smooth Alder Alnus serrulata F-S W 15-20' Yellow & orange fall color; fruit eaten by birds
Lead Plant Amorpha canescens F A-D 2-3' Iridescent purple flowers, silvery foliage; fixes nitrogen
Indigo Bush Amorpha fruticosa P A-W 6-20' Butterflies are attracted to flower spikes; prune early
American Beauty Berry Callicarpa americana F-P D-A 4-6' Clusters of pink-purple berries attract birds
Shellbark Hickory Carya laciniosa F A-W 70-90' Yellow to golden-bronze fall color. nuts can be messy
New Jersey Tea Ceanothus americanus F-P D 3' Short spikes of tiny white flowers in June
Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis F-P W 6-12' Goldball-like fragrant flowers attract hummingbirds
Silky Dogwood Cornus amomum P-S A-W 6-15' Flat white flower head mid spring, not fragrant
Flowering Dogwood Cornus florida F-S D-A 25-30' White flowers in spring; berries attract birds
Hazelnut Corylus americana F-S A 12-15' Edible nuts; suckering
Strawberry Bush Euonymus americanus P-S A 4-6' In Sept bumpy scarlet fruit capsules open to red seeds
Wahoo Euonymus atropurpureus F-S A 20' Red fruit enjoyed by birds; bright red fall foliage
Ozark Hamamelis vernalis F-P A-D 6-10' Yellow, orange, red fragrant flowers in winter to spring
Wild Hydrangea Hydrangea arborescens P-S A 3-6' Clusters of Greenish-white flowers Jun-Jul
Shrubby St. Johns Wort Hypericum prolificum F A-D 1-4' Bright yellow flowers
Deciduous Holly Ilex decidua F-P A 12' Drops it's leaves to reveal showy red berries on females
Spice Bush Lindera benzoin P-S A 6-12' Tiny fragrant yellow flowers; berries for birds
Ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius P-S W-D 5-10' White flowers May-Jun; berries for birds; yellow fall colo
Wild Plum Prunus spp. F-P A-D 25' Edible fruit attracts wildlife
Hop Tree Ptelea trifoliata F-S A 15-20' Small greenish-white fragrant flowers; yellow fall color
Indian Cherry Rhamnus caroliniana P-S A-D 15-25' Beautiful sweet fruit turns red to black; orange fall color
Fragrant Sumac Rhus aromatica F-P D 2-6' Showy orange to reddish-purple fall color
Smooth Sumac Rhus glabra F D-A 9-15' Velvety red fruit on female plants persists into winter
Golden Currant Ribes odoratum F-P A 6-12' Many yellow flowers in spring, strong clove scent, berrie
Prairie Wild Rose Rosa arkansana F-P A-D 1-3' Prickly-stemmed beautiful pink flowers w/yellow centers
Pasture Rose Rosa carolina F-P D-A 1-3' 1" pink flowers in July
Elderberry Sambucus canadensis F-S A-W 5-12' Showy white flowers in July; edible fruit in Sept
Meadow-sweet Spirea alba F A 6' Attracts butterflies; white blooms Jul-Aug

Illinois, Iowa & Missouri Flowering Perennials

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Soil Moisture Heights     Comments
Columbine Aquilegia canadensis S-F A-D 24-36" Interesting red & yellow flowers attract hummingbirds
Wild Ginger Asarum canadense S A 4-6" Evergreen groundcover W/attractive glossy leaves
Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa F-P A 24-36" Clusters of brilliant orange flowers attract butterflies
New England Aster Aster novae-angliae F-P A 40-60" Bright lavender flowers with yellow centers late summer
Blue Wild Indigo Baptisia australis F A-D 30-60" Blue spikes of pea-shaped flowers; compound foliage
Indian Paintbrush Castilleja coccinea F D-A 10-20" Upper leaves are deeply cleft, red-orange-pink in color
Plains Coreopsis Coreopsis tinctoria F D-A 24-48" Striking large, numerous yellow/red flowers; reseeds
Tall Larkspur Delphinium exaltatum F-P A 24-48" Spikes of bright blue flowers attract hummingbirds
Shooting Star Dodecatheon meadia F-P D-A 10-16" Delicate white to pink petals; red & yellow centers
Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea F-P A 30-40" Daisy-like flower with rose-purple rays; lengthy bloom
Joe-Pye Weed Eupatorium purpureum F-P A 48-80" Large pink flowers attract butterflies in droves Aug-Sept
Queen of the Prairie Filipendula rubra F-P A 48-60" Showy large pink plumes Jun-Jul
Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum F-S A 16-22" 1" lavender purple slowers in the spring
Prairie Smoke Geum triflorum F A-D 6" Feathery pink seedheads are beautiful in spring
Crested Iris Iris cristata F-P D-A 5-10" Pale lavender-blue crested flowers Apr-May
Copper Iris Iris fulva F-P A 18-24" Beardless, crestless flowers attract hummingbirds
Eastern Blazing Star Liatris scariosa F-P A 30-54" Spikes of interesting lavender to purple flowers
Cardinal Flower Lobelia cardinalis F-P A 24-54" Terminal clusters of bright red 1.5" flowers in fall
Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica F-P A 12-24" Elongated clusters of pale to dark blue flowers sum-fall
Bluebells Mertensia virginica F-S A 12-24" Pink flowers buds open to sky blue flowers Mar-Apr
Sensitive Briar Mimosa quadrivalvis F-P D-A 36-48" Leaflets fold when touched; ball-shaped flower heads
Wild Bergamot Monarda fistulosa F-P A 36-48" Intricate lavender flowers attract butterflies Jul-Sep
Missouri Primrose Oenothera macrocarpa F D-A 6-12" 3-4" lemon-yellow flowers
Pink Primrose Oenothera speciosa F D-A 12-20" Beautiful pink flowers bloom early in the day in summer
Foxglove Beardtongue Penstemon digitalis F-P A 30-50" Long-blooming pure white flowers Jun-Jul
Wild Sweet William Phlox divartica F-S A 12-16" Covered with 1.5" lavender to pink flowers in spring
Jacob's Ladder Polemonium reptans S A 12-18" Terminal clusters of light blue bell-shaped flowers Apr
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta F-P A 24-36" 2-4" flower heads with 10-20 bright yellow petals
Fire Pink Silene virginica F-P D-A 10-16" Deep red star-like flowers draw hummingbirds Apr-May
Showy Goldenrod Solidago speciosa F-P D-A 24-48" Foot long spikes of blazing yellow flowers in early fall
Celadine Poppy Stylophorum diphyllum S A 16-24" 2" wide lemon-yellow flowers
Ohio Spiderwort Tradescantia ohiensis F-P A 36-48" Deep blue flowers bloom late spring & early summer
Prairie Trillium Trillium recuvratum F-P A 12" Beautiful foliage & deep red flowers with 3 petals

Illinois, Iowa & Missouri Perennial Ferns

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Soil Moisture Heights     Comments
Maindenhair Fern Adiantum pedatum P-S A 18-36" Airy fan-shaped deep green frond, delicate black stems
Dragon's Tail Fern Asplenium ebenoides P-S A 6-8" Forms low evergreen moung of trangular fronds
Lady Fern Athyrium felix-femina S A-W 18-24" Delicate arching fronds, dark red stems when mature
Leatherwood Fern Dryopteris marginalis S A 2-3' Dark green leathery-looking evergreen fern
Sensitive Fern Onoclea sensibilis F-P W 12-24" Deeply pinnate leaves; poisonous to livestock
Cinnamon Fern Osmunda cinnamomea P-S A-W 24-48" iClusters of arching fronds, fertile fronds are brown
Christmas Fern Polystichum acrostichoides P-S A 12-36" Stiff deep green fronds are once-pinnate

Sun Exposure Soil Moisture Drought Tolerance
F = Full Sun W = Wet E = Excellent
P = Part Sun A = Average G = Good
S = Shade D = Dry M = Moderate
P = Poor