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.

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

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