Native Plants

Native Plant List for Nebraska, Kansas, and Eastern Colorado

This is a "starter" list of native plants for Nebraska, Kansas, and Eastern Colorado. It is intended for residential or commercial landscapers who want to create attractive and varied native landscapes.

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Nebraska, Kansas, and Eastern Colorado Trees

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Silver Maple Acer saccharinum F-P W-A 5-100' Lace-like leaves with white bloom on the underside
Ohio Buckeye Aesculus glabra F-P A 50-75' Greenish-yellow flowers (spring); yellow to orange (fall)
Shagbark Hickory Carya ovata F-P A 75-100' Yellow to golden-brown fall color; squirrels eat nuts
Hackberry Celtis occidentalis F A 60-100' Mild yellow fall color; warty trunk is interesting in winter
Redbud Cercis canadensis S-P A-D 15-30' In April, clusters of rosy-pink flowers line branches, trunk
Downy Hawthorn Crataegus mollis F-P A-D 35-50' White spring flowers become red fruit; yellow fall color
White Ash Fraxinus americana F-P A 75-120' Yellow, maroon-purple fall color; butterfly larval plant
Green Ash Fraxinus pennsylvanica F A 50-75' Grows rapidly; yellow fall color
Kentucky Coffee Tree Gymnocladus dioica F A 75-100' Pinnate compound leaves; male, female separate plants
Black Walnut Juglans nigra F A 99-125' Edible nuts in fall; beautiful, wildlife-friendly tree
Eastern Red Cedar Juniperus virginiana F A-D 30-80' Good for screening; attracts birds
Prairie Crabapple Malus ioensis F A-D 20-30' Fragrant pink flowers become very tart fruit; suckering
Ironwood Ostrya virginiana S-P A 30-50' Cream-colored fruit looks like hops; yellow fall color
Sycamore Platanus occidentalis F-P W-A 75-100' Leaves drop all summer; mottled white bark
Eastern Cottonwood Populus deltoides F W-A 100' Modest fall color; can be messy
Wild Plum Prunus americana F-P A-D 20-35' White, fragrant flowers (spring); red, yellow fruit (sum.)
Black Cherry Prunus serotina F-P A 50-60' Messy tree; small edible berries in summer attract birds
White Oak Quercus alba F A-D 80-100' Brown, red, wine fall color; acorns eaten by wildlife
Bur Oak Quercus macrocarpa F A-D 80-100' Mild yellow-brown fall color
Red Oak Quercus rubra S-P A 75-100' Russet to bright red fall color; grows rapidly
Basswood Tilia americana P A 60-125' Wood for carving; nectar makes honey; birds like seeds

Nebraska, Kansas, and Eastern Colorado Shrubs

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Downy Serviceberry Amelanchier arborea S-F A 15-30' Yellow, orange, red fall color; white flowers in April
Leadplant Amorpha canescens F A-D 1-3' Iridescent purple flowers on silvery foliage; fixes nitrogen
Fragrant False Indigo Amorpha nana F A-D 1-3' Dense tufts of fragrant purple flowers in late spring
New Jersey Tea Ceonanthus americanus F-P A-D 2-3' Short spikes of tiny white flowers in June
Buttonbush Cephalanthus occidentalis F-P W-A 10-15' Hanging golf ball-like clusters attract butterflies
Swamp Dogwood Cornus obliqua F-P W-A 8-10' Fruits different colors at different stages for pleasing effect
American Hazelnut Corylus americana P A-D 6-12' Edible yummy nuts; suckering
Sand Cherry Prunus besseyi F-P D 4-6' White spring flowers; tart edible cherries; purple fall color
Chokecherry Prunus virginiana F-S A 30-50' White flowers become barely edible fruit loved by birds
Smooth Sumac Rhus glabra F D 10-20' Velvety red fruit on female plants persist into winter
Buffalo Currant Ribes odoratum P A-D 10-12' Yellow flowers in spring emit clove scent; birds eat berries
Early Wild Rose Rosa blanda F D 2-5' 2-3" pink to white flowers; practically thornless!
Illinois Rose Rosa setigera F A-D 2-6' Soft pink flowers with yellow centers bloom in July
Elderberry Sambucus canadensis S-F A 10-12' Showy white flowers (July); edible fruit in September
Silver Buffaloberry Sheperdia argentea F A-D 6-20' Slivery leaves; thorns; edible berries that birds like
Coralberry Symphoricarp. orbiculatus F A-D 4-6' Large purple-pink berries ripen in fall, persist thru Spring

Nebraska, Kansas, and Eastern Colorado Flowering Perennials

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Red Baneberry Actea rubra P-S A 1-2' .5" puffy white flowers become red poisonous berries
Wild Garlic Allium canadense F A 8-12" Upright and topped with white or pink flowers
Prairie Onion Allium stellatum F-P A 1-2' Single cluster of lavender flowers on a single stalk
Canada Anemone Anemone canadensis F-P A 1-2 Green foliage with white flowers late spring-early summer
Columbine Aquilegia canadensis P-S A-D 1-2' Unique red, white flowers attract hummingbirds in spring
Jack-in-the-Pulpit Arisaema triphyllum P A 1-2' Spathe appears Mar-May; red berries late summer and fall
Swamp Milkweed Asclepias incarnata F-P W-A 2-4' Pink to white flowers in the spring
Butterfly Weed Asclepias tuberosa F A-D 1-2' Brilliant orange flowers atttract butterflies June-August
Whorled Milkweed Asclepias verticillata F A-D 1-3' Fine textured foliage; white flower clusters; deer resistant
Heath Aster Aster ericoides F A-D 1-3' Profusion of tiny white flowers in fall
New England Aster Aster novi-angliae F-P W-A 6' Lavender flowers with yellow centers late summer into fall
Sky Blue Aster Aster oolentangiensis F A 1-3' Spreading branches with 1" blue flowers bloom sum-fall
Silky Aster Aster sericeus F-P A-D 1-2' Distinct curved pale pinkish-purple flowers, pointed petals
White False Indigo Baptisia alba F-P A-D 2-5' Spikes of creamy white flowers above sea-green foliage
Cream False Indigo Baptisia leucophaea F-P A-D 1-3' Cone-shaped cream colored flowers
Purple Poppy Mallow Callirhoe involucrata F A-D 6-24" Striking! Deep magenta flowers cover plant thru summer
American Bellflower Campanula americana P-F A 3-4' Spikes of 1" blue flowers on upright branching stems
Partridge Pea Chamaecrista fasciculata P A-D 1-3' 1-1.5" flowers with 5 bright yellow petals bloom sum-fall
Prairie Larkspur Delphinium virescens F A-D 1-4 Interesting white flowers June-July
Tick-trefoil Desmodium canadense F-P A 2-6' Branches covered with pink-purple pea-like flowers (sum)
Shooting Star Dodecatheon meadia S-P A 6-20" White-pink petals shoot back from red and yellow center
N.L. Purp. Coneflower Echinacea angustifolia F A-D 1.5-3' Purple flowers with brown centers attract butterflies
Rattlesnake Master Eryngium yuccifolium F A 4-6' Yucca-like foliage; flowers in spherical thistle-like heads
Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum F-S W-A 3-6' Flat-top clusters of small white flowers in the fall
Joe-Pye Weed Eupatorium purpureum P-S A 2-6' Large pink flowers attract butterflies in dorves (Aug-Sept)
Flowering Spurge Euphorbia corollata F A 1-3' Small white flowers with green, yellow centers (Jun-Sept)
Wild Strawberry Fragaria virginiana F-P A-D 3-6" Spring flowers become tasty fruit in early summer
Blanket Flower Gaillardia aristata F A-D 2-4' 3-4" flowers are red with yellow accents at petal edges
Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum S-P A 1-3' 1" lavender-purple flowers in spring and summer
Common Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale F W-A 2-5' Daisy-like flowers with red, yellow petals in late summer
Ox-eye Sunflower Heliopsis helianthoides F A 3-4' Clump forming; gold flowers (sum); birds, butterflies like
Virginia Waterleaf Hydrophyllum virginianum S-P A 1' White or dark violet blooms May-August
Great St. John's Wort Hypericum pyramidatum P-S A 2-6' Large bright flowers give contrast with dark green foliage
Blue Flag Iris Iris shrevei F-P W-A 1-3' Deep blue markings with yellow flowers June-July
R.H. Bush Clover Lespedeza capitata F A-D 2-4' Bronze seedheads attract and feed birds
Rough Blazing Star Liatris aspera F A-D 1-4' Pinkish-purple stalks of interesting flowers Aug-Sept.
Prairie Blazing Star Liatris pycnostachya F W-A 2-5' Rounded fluffy rose-purple flowerheads on long spikes
Turk's Cap Lily Lilium michiganese F-S W-A 2-5' Large flowers with yellow-orange spotted, curved petals
Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica P W-A 2-3' Elongated clusters of pale-dark blue flowers late sum-fall
Wild Bergamot Monarda fistulosa F-P A-D 2-5' Intricate lavender flowers attract butterflies July-Sept.
Evening Primrose Oenothera biennis F A-D 2-4' Lemon-scented yellow flowers open at dusk, close by noon
Beardtongue Penstemon digitalis F-P A 2-5' Long-blooming pure white flowers June into midsummer
Large-flo. Penstemon Penstemon grandiflorus F A-D 2-3' Resembles lavender foxglove; attracts hummingbirds
White Prairie Clover Petalostemum candidum F A 1-2' Dense white 1-3" cylindrical flower spikes on 1-3' stalks
Purple Prairie Clover Petalostemum purpureum F A-D 1-2' Dense bright purple cylindrical flower spikes on 1-3' stalks
Blue Phlox Phlox divartica F-P A 1-2.5' Covered with 1.5" rosy lavender to pink flowers in spring
Prairie Phlox Phlox polosa F A-D 1-2' Bright pink spring flowers make strong visual impact
Obedient Plant Physostegia virginiana F-P A 2-4' Resembles pink foxglove; flowers can be moved, stay put
Solomon's Seal Polygonatum biflorum S A 1-5' .5" bell-shaped greenish-white flowers hang from leaf axils
Mountain Mint Pycnanthemu. virginianum F-P W-A 2-3' Mint aroma; clusters of white flowers attract butterflies
Prairie Coneflower Ratibida columnifera F A-D 1.5-3' Black cone-shaped head, drooping red or yellow petals
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta F-P A-D 1-2' 2-4" flower heads with 10-20 bright yellow petals, sum-fall
Blue Sage Salvia pitcheri F D 2-4' Tall, lanky; blooms in fall; butterflies, hummingbirds like
Rosinweed Silphium integrifolium F A 2-6' Bright, yellow daisy-like flowers in late summer
Compass Plant Silphium laciniatum F A 3-12' Sunflower-like flowers; basal leaves orient North-South
Cup Plant Silphium perfoliatum F A 3-6' Sunflower-like flowers; pairs of cup-forming leaves
White-eyed Grass Sisyrinchium campestre F A-D 8-15" Iris-like foliage topped with delightful 5" light blue flowers
Gray Goldenrod Solidago nemoralis F A-D 6-20" Arching stalks of golden yellow flowers bloom in fall
Stiff Goldenrod Solidago rigida F A-D 1-5' Bright yellow flat-topped flowers loved by birds, butterflies
Showy Goldenrod Solidago speciosa F-P A-D 1-5' Foot-long wands of blazing yellow in early autumn
Tall Meadow Rue Thalictrum dasycarpum S-P A 3-5' Branched sprays of tiny purplish-white flowers (May-July)
Blue Verbena Verbena gastata F-P A 2-5' Small blue flowers crowded into terminal spikes (Jun-Oct)
Ironweed Vernonia fasciculata F A 2-5' Blast of crimson color in fall; plant has good posture
Common Blue Violet Viola papilionacea S-P A 4-8" Excellent groundcover with purple flowers in the spring
Golden Alexanders Zizea aurea F-S A 1-3' Bright yellow color can brighten up a shady spot

Nebraska, Kansas, and Eastern Colorado Perennial Ferns

Common Name Scientific Name
Lady Ferns Athyrium filix-femina

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