Kohl Gardens is a native plant nursery specializing in local and wild-origin seed. We are located at a private residence in Wendell, MA and open mostly by appointment. Email kohlgardens@gmail.com to make an appointment, inquire about inventory or seed origin, order plants, get on our email list, or request services by Adam Kohl (owner). We proudly use Neptune’s Harvest seaweed/fish fertilizer and compost tea.

PRICING!!!

Plugs (SureRoots 50 Deep Cell):

  • Individual plugs: $3
  • 50 plugs (full tray): $100 ($2ea.)

 

Large Plugs (SureRoots 15 Deep Cell):

  • Individual plugs: $7 
  • 15 plugs (full tray): $85 ($5.66ea.)

Pots:

  • 2qt pots: $10
  • 1gal pots: $15

Plants We’ve Grown: 

  • Actaea pachypoda, Doll’s Eyes, White Baneberry (shade, moist)
  • “Best grown in moist, organically rich, humusy, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Soils should not be allowed to dry out, but need good drainage to prevent wet conditions from developing.” – Missouri Botanical Garden

    “The flowers lack nectar and provide only pollen to visiting insects. These visitors are mainly Halictid bees(…). Various birds eat the white berries… the Ruffed Grouse, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, and American Robin. …the foliage is toxic…it is not eaten by mammalian herbivores.” – Illinois Wildflowers 

  • Andropogon gerardii, Big Blue Stem (sun, dry/wet)
  • “The most widely distributed of all the prairie grasses, the tall grass Big Bluestem was largely responsible for the formation of the famous prairie sod… Lush green leaves and stems change with the first frost to an attractive red-bronze color that provides landscape interest well into the winter. Grows in almost any soil, from wet clay to dry sand.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “The caterpillars of several skippers feed on the foliage, including Atrytone logan (Delaware Skipper), Atrytonopsis hianna (Dusted Skipper), Hesperia leonardus (Leonard’s Skipper), Hesperia metea (Cobweb Skipper), Hesperia ottoe (Ottoe Skipper), Hesperia sassacus (Indian Skipper), and Problema byssus (Byssus Skipper). Big Bluestem is an important food plant of many grasshoppers. Other insects that feed on this prairie grass include Conocephalus brevipennis (Short-winged Meadow Katydid), Neoconocephalus ensiger (Sword-bearing Conehead), …thrips Sphenophorus destructor (Destructive Billbug), and many leafhoppers, …. The seeds are eaten sparingly by granivorous songbirds, including the Field Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, and Chipping Sparrow. The foliage is readily eaten by hoofed mammalian herbivores, including bison, cattle, and other livestock. The Meadow Vole and Prairie Vole eat the foliage as well.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Angelica atropurpurea, Purple-stemmed Angelica (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • “The preference is full or partial sun, consistently wet to moist conditions, and loamy or sandy soil with decaying organic matter. Soil pH should be mildly acidic to alkaline. Standing water is well-tolerated. The flowers attract Syrphid flies, bee flies, Andrenid bees, and other small bees. (host for) caterpillars… Umbellifer Borer Moth…, Cow Parsnip Borer Moth…, and Black Swallowtail (butterfly)” – Illinois Wildflowers

    “With impressive stature, leaves that can reach two feet wide and large umbrella-like flower structure, this species has an imposing presence. It’s not surprising that it has a long history of reputed medicinal and magical properties. Stately sentinels along stream beds, Angelica plants reach heights of six or more feet with hollow, smooth purple stems from one to two inches round. – Prairie Moon Nursery

  • Aquilegia canadensis, Red Columbine (sun/pt.sun, well-drained)
  • “Red-flowering native species closely related to the well-known English-garden plant. Flowers in mid-to-late Spring and offers some of the first nectar to hummingbirds arriving from migration. Goes near-dormant in early summer so works nicely interplanted with later-arriving species like Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Weed) and the shorter Asters and Goldenrods (Ionactis linariifolia, Eurybia spectabilis, Solidago puberula, Solidago nemoralis)” – Kohl Gardens

    “Bumblebees and the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird visit the flowers for nectar; bumblebees may also collect pollen for their larvae. Short-tongued Halictid bees collect pollen from the flowers,… The larvae of various insects feed on Wild Columbine, including  (Columbine Duskywing),  (Borer Moth sp.),  (Columbine Sawfly), and several Phytomyza spp. (Leaf Miner Flies). Because the foliage is toxic, it is little bothered by mammalian herbivores.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Aralia racemosa, Spikenard (shade, moist) 
  • “Hulking herbaceous shade-thriving perennial in the Ginseng complex of the Carrot Family. The fruits are small but ripen in large clusters and taste quite a bit like root beer. Everyone that tries them is pleasantly surprised!” – Kohl Gardens

    ” Spikenard can be difficult to move once the plant is established, so put it in its permanent site if you can.  It is a taller, wider woodland plant so be cautious if planting next to smaller plants; it may soon overwhelm them.  Also…it is a close relative of Wild Sarsaparilla.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

  • Aronia melanocarpa, Black Chokeberry (sun/pt.shade, dry/wet)
  • “Flexible in cultivation, prolific pollen producing Spring flowers, bright-red fall color, and fruits extremely high in antioxidants… whats not to love? Don’t like the fruit off the shrub? Squish them with cold water, filter and enjoy a healthy and delicious beverage free of the mouth-puckering tannins” – Kohl Gardens

    “The nectar and pollen of the flowers undoubtedly attract bees and other insects. Among the bees, Osmia spp. (mason Bees) and Andrena spp. (Andrenid Bees) are common visitors of spring-blooming shrubs in the Rose family. The caterpillars of the butterfly Satyrium titus (Coral Hairstreak), the moth Catocala praeclara (Praeclara Underwing), and the moth Lomographa semiclarata (Bluish Spring Moth) feed on the foliage of Photinia spp. (Chokeberries). Some birds use Chokeberries as a food source, …especially likely to be eaten by various mammals, including the Black Bear, Red Fox, and Fox Squirrel.” – Illinois Wildflowers 

  • Asclepias incarnata, Swamp Milkweed (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • “One of our… showiest species with flattened, brightly colored (pink+white) flower heads at the tips of tall stems. Although found in wet soils, it will thrive in the garden if soil is not droughty…” – William Cullina.

    “The flowers are very popular with many kinds of insects, including bumblebees, honeybees, long-horned bees…, Halictid bees, Sphecid wasps, Vespid wasps, Tiphiid wasps, Spider wasps, Mydas flies, thick-headed flies, Tachinid flies, Swallowtail butterflies, Greater Fritillaries, Monarch butterflies, and skippers. Another occasional visitor of the flowers is the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.  …insect feeders include caterpillars of the butterfly  (Monarch), …(Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle), … (Large Milkweed Bug), and … (Yellow Milkweed Aphid). … Mammalian herbivores leave this plant alone … the foliage is both bitter and toxic…” Illinois Wildflowers

  • Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed -(sun/pt.sun, dry) 
  • “This is a great Milkweed for a sunny location in a dry area. Mature plants in ideal locations can make as many as 20 stems at an average height of 2’. The vivid orange color, low mounded profile, and ability to attract and sustain butterflies make this plant a well-known favorite for all types of gardens.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “The flower nectar attracts honeybees, digger bees (Melissodes spp.), leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.), Halictid bees (including green metallic bees), thread-waisted wasps (Ammophila spp.) and other Sphecid wasps, and butterflies, including Fritillaries (Speyeria spp.), Swallowtails (Papilio spp.), and the Monarch (Danaus plexippus);… The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is also attracted to the flowers. Some insects feed destructively on the leaves, flowers and buds, seedpods, and other parts of Butterfly Milkweed. These insects include larvae of the Blackened Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes melanurus), the Small Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus kalmii), the Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus), larvae of a butterfly, the Monarch (Danaus plexippus), and larvae of a moth, the Unexpected Cycnia (Cycnia inopinatus). Butterfly Milkweed is the preferred host plant of the preceding moth. A polyphagous insect, the Curve-tailed Bush Katydid (Scudderia curvicauda), was observed to feed on the leaves of this milkweed (Gangwere, 1961); it may also feed on the flowers. While the foliage of Butterfly Milkweed lacks the toxic milky latex that is typical of other milkweeds (Asclepias spp.), mammalian herbivores nonetheless appear to avoid it.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Asimina triloba, Paw-Paw -(pt.sun, moist) 
  • “A delicious, deciduous, fruit-bearing small tree native slightly south and west of New England. The fruits are filled with a creamy custard reminiscent of several tropical fruits. ” – Kohl Gardens

    “The flowers attract flesh flies…, blow flies …, and other flies; this is because the color of the flower petals and the floral scent resemble rotting carrion. Flies suck nectar from the flowers and may feed on the pollen… In Illinois and other northern states, the caterpillars of the butterfly  (Zebra Swallowtail) and the moth  (Pawpaw Sphinx) feed exclusively on the leaves of Pawpaw. The large edible fruit is a popular food source of Raccoons and Opossums; it is also eaten by the Red Fox, Gray Fox, Striped Skunk, Gray Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, and Woodland Box Turtle. These animals spread the seeds to new locations. Some birds may also peck at the fruits, but they are less likely to distribute the seeds. White-Tailed Deer and other hoofed herbivores don’t browse on the leaves because of their odor and toxicity.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Baptisia alba, White Wild Indigo (sun/pt.sun, moist/dry)
  • “Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates drought and poor soils. Over time, plants form slowly expanding clumps with deep and extensive root systems, and should not be disturbed once established…. Plants take on more of a shrubby appearance and tend to open up after bloom.” – Missouri Botanical Garden

    “Worker bumblebees pollinate the flowers. The caterpillars of some skippers and butterflies occasionally feed on the foliage, including Erynnis baptisiae (Wild Indigo Duskywing), Achelerus lyciades (Hoary Edge), Colias cesonia (Southern Dogface), and Colias eurythema (Orange Sulfur). The caterpillars of the moth Dasylophus anguina (Black-spotted Prominent) can also be found on the foliage. Another insect, Apion rostrum (Wild Indigo Weevil), feeds on this plant and other Baptisia spp. The adult weevils eat both the leaves and flowers, while their grubs stay in the pods and eat the seeds. Because White Wild Indigo is poisonous, it is not much bothered by mammalian herbivores.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Baptisia tinctoria, Yellow Wild Indigo (sun, dry)
  • “Mounding plant of grassland sandplains growing up to 3′ in height. Copious yellow pea-family flowers in late June to early July provide for several species of Bumblebees and more. Intriguing pad-like foliage and inflated black seed pods in Winter. ” – Kohl Gardens

    “Yellow wild indigo is the host plant for caterpillars of the rare Lycaenid butterfly, frosted elfin (Callophrys irus).” – Go Botany

    “Bees suck nectar and/or collect pollen, flies suck nectar or feed on pollen or feed on stray pollen, beetles suck nectar or feed on pollen or gnaw on floral tissue. Long-tongue bees: Apis mellifera, Bombus auricomus, Bombus fervidus, Bombus griseocollis, Bombus impatiens, Bombus vagans; Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata; Coelioxys modesta; Megachile addenda, Megachile brevis brevis, Megachile campanulae, Megachile exilis, Megachile frugalis, Megachile gemula, Megachile mendica, Megachile montivaga, Megachile petulans, Megachile rugifrons, Megachile texana; Hoplitis pilosifrons, Hoplitis spoliata. Bees (short-tongued): Augochlorella aurata. Flies: Milesia virginiensis, Toxomerus marginatus; Physocephala tibialis. Beetles: Mordella marginata.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Carex plantaginea, Plantain-leaved Sedge (pt.shade/shade, moist/avg.)
  • “The bold foliage of Carex plantaginea makes it a welcome textural surprise in the woodland garden. Plantain-leaf sedge grows 6-12” tall in part to full shade given moist to average soil. However, it will tolerate that dry, difficult spot in your garden. The almost evergreen foliage of this delightful sedge is bright green with a wrinkled look and purple-brown subtle flowers in May. Plantain-leaf sedge is a clump forming perennial that grows quickly to form an attractive mass which can be divided regularly. ” – Mt. Cuba Garden Center

    “Various insects feed on the foliage of sedges (Carex spp.), including the caterpillars of the woodland butterfly, Satyrodes appalachia (Appalachian Brown). The seeds of sedges are an attractive source of food to various kinds of birds” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Ceanothus americana, New Jersey Tea (sun/pt.sun, dry)
  • “Deeply-rooted and drought-tolerant shrub of around 3′ in height. White, super-sized gumdrop-shaped inflorescences top the shrub in June and are consistently covered in assorted pollinators. The leaves make a wonderful tea.” – Kohl Gardens

    “The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract a variety of insects, especially bees, wasps, flies, and beetles. These floral visitors include Halictid bees … Andrenid bees…, plasterer bees …, Sphecid wasps …, Vespid wasps …, spider wasps …, Syrphid flies, thick-headed flies .., Tachinid flies, flesh flies …, bottle flies …, Muscid flies, and miscellaneous beetles. Hairstreak butterflies …also visit the flowers.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Cephalanthus occidentalis Buttonbush (sun/pt.sun, wet/avg.)
  • “The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract honeybees, bumblebees, cuckoo bees (Triepeolus spp.), long-horned bees (Melissodes spp.), leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.), green metallic bees (Agapostemon spp.), various wasps, thick-headed flies (Conopidae), Syrphid flies, butterflies, and skippers… In addition, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird sometimes visits the flowers for nectar… Other insects feed destructively on the leaves and other parts of Buttonbush. These species include the Buttonbush Leaf Beetle (Calligrapha cephalanthi), a weevil (Plocetes ulmi), larvae of the Buttonbush Gall Midge (Rabdophaga cephalanthi), the Clouded Plant Bug (Neurocolpus nubilus), larvae of a sawfly (Pseudosiobla excavata), the Buttonbush Aphid (Aphis cephalanthi), larvae of the Buttonbush Leafminer Moth (Mompha cephalanthiella), and larvae of the Buttonbush Sphinx (Darapsa versicolor);… In addition, the Buttonbush Mite (Aceria cephalanthi) forms clusters of small hairy galls on the leaves of this shrub. During fall migration, ducks and other birds eat the seeds of Buttonbush.. Such birds as the Common Grackle and King Rail occasionally use Buttonbush shrubs as nesting sites …Mammalian herbivores usually avoid consumption of Buttonbush because it is poisonous. However, beavers use the wood of this shrub either as a source of food or in the construction of their dams and lodges …” – Illinois Wildflowers 

  • Clematis virginiana, Virgin’s Bower (sun/pt.shade, moist/avg.)
  • “A beautiful and common Clematis, it trails over fences and other shrubs along moist roadsides and riverbanks. The female flowers, with their feathery tails or plumes, give a hoary appearance and are especially showy in late summer. Lacking tendrils, the vine supports itself by means of twisted stems, or petioles, that wrap around other plants.” – Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

    “The nectar of the staminate flowers attracts Halictid bees (including Sphecodes clematidis), wasps, and various kinds of flies. No information is available for pistillate flowers. Insects that feed destructively on Virgin’s Bower and other Clematis spp. include larvae of Contarinia clematidis (Clematis Bud Gall Midge) and Prodiplosis floricola (Clematis Flower Midge), larvae of the leaf-mining fly Phytomyza loewii, caterpillars of Horisme intestinata (Brown Bark Carpet Moth), caterpillars of two moths, Thyris maculata (Spotted Thyris) and Thyris sepulchralis (Mournful Thyris), and Myzus varians (Peach Leaf-Roll Aphid). These vines are the summer hosts of this introduced aphid. The toxic foliage is avoided by mammalian herbivores. However, the foliage of Virgin’s Bower can provide significant cover and nesting habitat for many songbirds.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Desmodium canadense, Showy Tick-trefoil (sun/pt.sun, dry/moist)
  • “Erect, bushy, hairy plant with crowded, elongated terminal clusters of pink or rose-purple pea-like flowers. Showy tick-trefoil is a slender-stemmed, often bushy perennial, 2-6 ft. high. Hundreds of rose-colored, pea-like flowers occur in dense, nodding clusters at the tops of the stems. Velvety hair covers the stems and three-parted, compound leaves. Seedpods cling to animal fur or clothing.” Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

    “The flowers attract long-tongued bees primarily, including bumblebees and leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.); only pollen is available as a floral reward. Other insect feed on the leaves, seeds, and other parts of Illinois Tick Trefoil and other tick trefoils (Desmodium spp.). These insects include the seed-eating larvae of Apion reconditum and other weevils; leaf-mining larvae of Pachyschelus laevigatus (a metallic wood-boring beetle); Colaspis brunnea (Grape Colaspis), Odontota horni (Soybean Leafminer), and other leaf beetles; larvae of Clinodiplosis meibomiifoliae and other gall flies; Microparsus desmodiorum, Microparsus olivei, and other aphids; the seed-eating Megalotomus quinquespinosus (Lupine Bug); leaf-eating larvae of Atomacera debilis (an Argid sawfly); flower- and bud-eating larvae of Grapholita fana (Chesire Cat Moth) and larvae of other moths; larvae of Thorybes bathyllus (Southern Cloudywing), Thorybes pylades (Northern Cloudywing), and other skippers; larvae of two butterflies, Everes comyntas (Eastern Tailed Blue) and Strymon melinus (Gray Hairstreak); and Neohydatothrips desmodianus (Tick Trefoil Thrips).” – Illinois Wildflowers 

  • Eragrostis spectabilis, Purple Love Grass (sun/pt.sun, dry/moist)
  • “Purple Love Grass is a perennial, warm season grass … It reaches heights of 1-2 feet even in the driest, poorest of soils. It thrives in full sun and sandy sites – even roadsides that receive winter road salt. Purple Love Grass can also grow under Black Walnut trees where other plants fail. The seed heads (or florets) bloom mid-summer in shades of light to bright purple, giving an overall purple haze to the landscape. This tough ornamental grass is an absolutely stunning addition to any rock garden or drier landscape.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “There is limited information about floral-faunal relationships for this species. The leafhopper Flexamia areolata sucks juices from the foliage of Purple Love Grass; the caterpillars of Poanes zabulon (Zabulon Skipper) also feed on the foliage. The foliage of young plants is palatable to cattle and other livestock.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Eryngium yuccifolium, Rattlesnake Master (sun, dry)
  • “The flowering heads attract many kinds of insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, moths, beetles, and plant bugs. These insects usually seek nectar, although some of the bees may collect pollen for their brood nests. The caterpillars of the rare Papaipema eryngii (Rattlesnake Master Borer Moth) bore into the stems and feed on the pith. The coarse foliage and prickly balls of flowers are not popular as a source of food with mammalian herbivores, although they may nibble off the ends of the leaves.” – Illinois Wildflowers 

    “Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers dryish, sandy soils. Self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. Plants tend to open up and sprawl if grown in overly fertile soils or in anything less than full sun. This is a taprooted plant which transplants poorly and is best left undisturbed once established.” – Missouri Botanical Garden

  • Eupatorium hyssopifolium, Hyssop-leaved Boneset (sun, dry) 
  • “A lesser-known Boneset for dry open fields and other well-draining sites.  Similar to it’s taller relative E. perfoliatum but stays much closer to the ground, topping around 3′. Creates small clouds of long-lasting white flowers for shorter dry meadows” – Kohl Gardens

    “Hyssop-leaf thoroughwort is attractive both in bud and flower. This underused perennial is a perfect compliment to a grassy meadow. The buds show color for a few weeks before actually opening, producing clouds of tiny white flowers from late summer into autumn.” – North Creek Nursery

  • EupEupatorium perfoliatum, Boneset (sun/pt.sun, avg./wet)
  • “The nectar or pollen of the flowers attracts many kinds of insects, including bees, flies, wasps, butterflies, and beetles. In particular, many kinds of unusual flies and wasps are attracted to the flowers because of the accessibility of the nectar. The caterpillars of various moth species are known to feed on various parts of Common Boneset, including Haploa clymene (Clymene Moth), Phragmatobia lineata (Lined Ruby Tiger Moth), Papaipema cataphracta (Burdock Borer Moth), Schinia trifascia (Three-Lined Flower Moth), Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria (Blackberry Looper Moth), and Semiothisa continuata(Geometrid Moth sp.). The small seeds appear to be of little interest to birds and other fauna, although they are occasionally eaten by the Swamp Sparrow. Mammalian herbivores display little interest in Common Boneset as a food source because of the bitterness of the foliage.” – Illinois Wildflowers

    “….Boneset was commonly included in medical herb gardens and used as a folk medicine for treatment of flus, fevers, colds and a variety of other maladies.” – Missouri Botanical Garden.

  • Eurybia spectabilis, Showy Aster (sun/pt.sun, dry/moist)
  • “The individual flower heads are large – up to 2”. Each head consists of a ring of about 30 blue to purple ray flower that surrounds a central cluster of yellow disc flowers. The blooms are showy and are produced for a long time in late summer and fall…softly sprawling perennial that forms small colonies from underground rhizomes. up to 2′ tall” – New Moon Nursery

    “Eurybia spectabilis, commonly known as the eastern showy aster, simply showy aster, or purple wood aster, is an herbaceous perennial native to the eastern United States. It is present along the coastal plain of the U.S. where it is most often found growing in dry, sandy soils. Although it is not considered threatened due to its extensive range, it is locally endangered in many states. The flowers appear in the fall and show ray florets that are a violet-purple and yellow disc florets. It is one of the parent species of the hybrid Eurybia × herveyi.” – Wikipedia

  • Eutrochium fistulosum, Hollow Stem Joe Pye (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • “The flowerheads are visited by honeybees, bumblebees, and other long-tongued bees; other floral visitors include bee flies (Bombyliidae), butterflies, skippers, and moths. ” – Illinois Wildlowers

    “An outstanding plant, but not for the faint of heart as it can reach prodigious size.” – William Cullina

    “Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Plants prefer moist, fertile, humus-rich soils which do not dry out.” – Missouri Botanical Garden

  • Gaylussacia frondosa, Blue Huckleberry (sun/pt.shade, moist/avg)
  • “This is a huckleberry of the Atlantic coastal plain. It is a colonial shrub that proliferates rapidly from rhizomes when disturbed. Its thickets provide cover for widlife, while birds including grouse, bobwhite, scarlet tanagers, and wild turkeys eat the berrie.” – Go Botany

    “This plant grows on the Atlantic coastal plain. It grows in wooded areas and next to bogs and swamps. It is common in the pine barrens of New Jersey. It grows on acidic soils low in nutrients. It grows with other related plants such as highbush blueberry…, hillside blueberry…, Lyonia spp., sheep-laurel …, wintergreen…, and black huckleberry….” – Wikipedia

  • Gentiana clausa, Bottle Gentian (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • “Among the finest perennials to grace the garden in late summer is the dark blue-flowered closed bottle gentian. Densely packed clusters of upright, 1-2” long pleated blooms borne in the axils of upper leaves and terminally swell, but remain closed on multi-stemmed plants with lance-shaped dark green foliage. Plants can grow to 2′ tall, preferring well-drained soils and part shade to full sun with slightly acidic to alkaline soils.” – Mt. Cuba Center

    “Bumblebees are the primary pollinators of the flowers, as they are one of the few insects that can force their way past the closed corolla. This floral characteristic excludes smaller insects that are less efficient at pollination from robbing nectar and pollen from the bumblebees. Because the foliage and roots are bitter-tasting, mammalian herbivores usually don’t use this plant as a food source. However, deer may chomp off the tender tops of the plants before they have a chance to flower. This can cause the central stem to form smaller side branches.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Gentianopsis crinita, Fringed Gentian (sun/pt.sun, moist) 
  • “Thou blossom bright with autumn dew, And colored with the heaven’s own blue, That openest when the quiet light Succeeds the keen and frosty night. … Thou waitest late and com’st alone, When woods are bare and birds are flown, And frosts and shortening days portend The aged year is near his end. –from ‘To The Fringed Gentian” – William Cullen Bryant, 1832 (via Go Botany)

    “The preference is full or partial sun, somewhat wet to moist conditions, and calcareous sandy soil with a neutral pH. Insect pests and disease organisms rarely bother this wildflower. Information about floral-faunal relationships for this wildflower is scant. The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract primarily bumblebees. …observed the following bumblebees visiting the flowers of Fringed Gentian in Ohio: Bombus fervidus, Bombus impatiens, Bombus perplexus, and Bombus vagans. Apparently, the bitter foliage is rarely bothered by insects and mammalian herbivores.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Helenium autumnale, Common Sneezeweed (sun/pt.sun, avg./moist)
  • “…erect, clump-forming, …perennial which occurs in moist soils along streams, ponds or ditches and in spring-fed meadows, prairie and wet open ground…Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun. Prefers rich, moist soils. Intolerant of dry soils. ” – Missouri Botanical Garden

    “Probably the most common visitors to the flowers are long-tongued bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, long-horned bees (Melissodes spp.), cuckoo bees (Coelioxys spp., Triepeolus spp.), and leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.). Other visitors include Halictid bees, Sphecid wasps, Vespid wasps, Syrphid flies, butterflies, and beetles. Most of these insects suck nectar, although some bees also collect pollen and some beetles feed on the pollen. The aphids Aphis vernoniae and Uroleucon tardae suck plant juices from Common Sneezeweed, while the caterpillars of Papaipema rigida (Rigid Sunflower Borer Moth) bore through its stems and feed on the pith. Mammalian herbivores usually don’t feed on this plant because its foliage is toxic and bitter. ” – Illinois Wildflowers 

  • Helenium flexuosum, Purple Sneezeweed (sun, moist/wet)
  • “Purple-headed Sneezeweed is an interesting plant with winged stems, a dark, globe-shaped “cone,” and yellow petals arranged like a flared skirt. It requires a moist to wet soil and full to partial sun.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “The flowerheads offer nectar and pollen as floral rewards to a wide range of insect visitors, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, and skippers. Various insects feed on the leaves, pith of the stems, and other parts of Helenium ... These species include the caterpillars of the butterfly  (Dainty Sulfur), the caterpillars of…(Aster Borer Moth) , (Rigid Sunflower Borer Moth), …and (Sneezeweed Weevil).” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Heliopsis helianthoides, Everlasting Sunflower (sun/pt.sun, dry/avg.)
  • “A common, 3-5 ft. perennial with stiff, branched stems; sunflower-like heads; and opposite, toothed leaves. Resembling a small version of a yellow sunflower with a cone-shaped central disk and opposite, toothed, simple leaves. The yellow flower heads are 2 in. across and have raised, yellow centers. This plant looks like true sunflowers, which are in the genus Helianthus. Unlike sunflowers, its rays persist on the flower heads; the rays of sunflowers wither and fall away. It is placed in Heliopsis due to its cone-shaped central disk. Oxeye is hardy and easily grown as a showy garden perennial in dry sites and is a good choice for clay soil.” – Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

    “The nectar and pollen of the flowerheads attract a wide variety of insects, including honeybees, bumblebees, little carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), digger bees (Melissodes spp.), cuckoo bees (Coelioxys spp., Triepeolus spp.), leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.), Halictid bees (Agapostemon spp., Lasioglossum spp.), Andrenid bees (Andrena spp., Heterosarus spp.), thread-waisted wasps (Ammophila spp.) and other wasps, Syrphid flies (Eristalis spp., Toxomerus spp.), bee flies (Exoprosopa spp.), the Goldenrod Soldier Beetle (Chauliognathus pennsylanicus) and other beetles, Painted Lady butterflies (Vanessa spp.) and other butterflies, and skippers (Robertson, 1929)…Other insects feed on the leaves, stems, seeds… These species include a leaf beetle (Physonota helianthi), leaf-mining larvae of a Tischeriid moth (Astrotischeria heliopsisella), stem-boring larvae of the Rigid Sunflower Borer Moth (Papaipema rigida), floret- and seed-eating larvae of a fly (Melanagromyza virens), and a seed bug (Lygaeus turcicus); s…Little is known about this plant’s relationships to vertebrate animals, but they are probably similar to those of sunflowers (Helianthus spp.). Hoofed mammalian herbivores probably browse on the young foliage, while upland gamebirds, granivorous songbirds, and small rodents probably eat the seeds.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Hylodesmum nudiflorum, Naked-seed Tick Trefoil (shade/pt.sun, moist/dry?)
  • ” Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil is usually easy to identify because, unlike other Desmodium spp. (Tick Trefoils), it produces its leaves and flowers on separate stalks (except for an uncommon variety). While other species in this genus produce leaves that are clearly alternate, Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil produces its leaves in pseudo-whorls. Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil also prefers shady woodlands, while other species of tick trefoil usually prefer partially shaded savannas or sunny prairies.” – Illinois Wildflowers

    “The flowers are cross-pollinated by bumblebees, other long-tongued bees, and Halictid bees; these visitors collect pollen. Nectar is not available as a floral reward. Other insects feed on the foliage and other parts of Desmodium spp. (Tick Trefoils). These species include the caterpillars of several skippers, butterflies, and moths; the leaf-mining larvae of the Buprestid beetles Pachyschelus confusus and Pachyschelus laevigatus; the larvae of the seed weevil Apion decoloratum; the thrips Echinothrips americanus and Neohydatothrips desmodianus; and the aphid Microparsus variabilis. There are also several leaf beetles that feed on the foliage of tick trefoils: Anomoea laticlavia, Bassareus lituratus, Cerotoma trifurcata, Colaspis brunnea, Cryptocephalus insertus, Odontata dorsalis, Pachybrachis nigricornis, Pachybrachis othonus, Phyllecthris dorsalis, and Saxinis omogera. Some vertebrate animals also use these plants as a food source. The seeds are eaten by the Wild Turkey and Bobwhite, while the foliage is palatable to deer, rabbits, horses, cattle, and other mammalian herbivores. Because of the height of the flowering stalk (up to 3′) and the habitat (woodlands), White-tailed Deer are probably the primary transporters of the seeds of Naked-Flowered Tick Trefoil as the loments (seedpods) can cling to fur.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Ionactis linariifolius, Stiff Aster (sun/pt.sun, dry) 
  • “Short and quaint Aster with lilac rays and yellow discs atop very coarse needle-like foliage. A great option for shorter meadows and dry open fields. Very drought tolerant, blooms simultaneously with Solidago nemoralis” – Kohl Gardens

    “The nectar and pollen of the flowerheads attract many kinds of insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, various flies, butterflies, skippers, and beetles. Several bees are pollinator specialists (oligoleges) of Aster spp. (Asters): Andrena asterisAndrena asteroidesAndrena hirticinctaAndrena nubeculaAndrena simplexAndrena solidaginis, and Colletes simulans armata. Some of these bees are also oligoleges of Solidago spp.(Goldenrods). Other insects feed on the leaves, flowers, seeds, plant juices, stalks, or roots of Asters. These species include the plant bug Plagiognathus cuneatus, the leafhopper Macrosteles quadrilineatusExema canadensis and other leaf beetles, the long-horned beetle Mecas pergrata, several aphids (mainly Uroleucon spp.), and caterpillars of the butterflies Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) and Phyciodes tharos (Pearl Crescent). There are also many moth species whose caterpillars feed on Asters. Among vertebrate animals, the Ruffed Grouse and Wild Turkey eat the leaves and seeds, while the Cottontail Rabbit and White-Tailed Deer browse on the foliage. The White-Footed Mouse and possibly other small rodents also eat the seeds.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Iris versicolor, Blue Flag Iris (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • “Moist and wet areas provide the perfect setting for blue flag in the garden. In late spring to early summer, Iris versicolor produces stems containing several striking blue 3-4” flowers with a prominent yellow blotch on 2-3’ tall plants. Its sword-like, upright foliage is an attractive accent to the summer garden. In addition to wet conditions, blue flag grows well in average soil and filtered shade to sun. Blue flag makes an excellent focal point in a small pond or can be used in an area that is too wet for other garden plants.  – Mt. Cuba Center

    “The flowers are cross-pollinated by bumblebees and long-horned bees (Synhalonia spp.); butterflies and skippers also visit the flowers occasionally, but they are less effective at cross-pollination. These insects suck nectar from the flowers primarily, although some of the bees also collect pollen. Some insects feed on Blue Flag Iris and other Iris spp. destructively. They include such species as the weevil Mononychus vulpeculus (larvae feed inside seed capsules), the Agromyzid fly Cerodontha magnicornis (larvae mine leaves), the Syrphid fly Eumerus tuberculatus (larvae feed on rhizomes), the mealybug Rhizoecus falcifer (feeds on rhizomes), the aphid Dysaphis tulipae (feeds on foliage & rhizomes), and the thrips Frankliniella occidentalis (feeds on flowers). Caterpillars of such moths as Ctenucha virginica (Virginia Ctenucha), Spilosoma congrua (Agreeable Tiger Moth), and Macronoctua onusta (Iris Borer Moth), also feed on these plants. Mammalian herbivores rarely bother this plant because the foliage and rootstocks are somewhat toxic, causing irritation of the gastrointestinal tract.” – Illinois Wildflowers (on Iris virginica shrevei)

  • Liatris novae-angliae, New England Blazing Star (sun/pt.sun, dry/moist)
  • “Northern blazing star is endemic to the northeastern United States, and is rare and protected in most of New England. The sandplain grasslands and coastal heathlands where it occurs were typically prevented from becoming wooded by sea spray, grazing, and fires. Controlled, prescribed burns are now used to maintain some of this habitat.” – Go Botany

    “The flowerheads attract butterflies and skippers primarily, especially Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). The caterpillars of some oligophagous moths are known to feed on Liatris spp.(Blazingstars). These species include Schinia sanguinea (Bleeding Flower Moth), Schinia gloriosa (Glorious Flower Moth), Papaipema beeriana (Blazingstar Borer Moth), and Carmenta anthracipennis (Liatris Borer Moth). There is also an oligophagous aphid, Aphis laciniariae, that sucks juices from Blazingstars. The foliage is readily eaten by deer, rabbits, groundhogs, cattle, and other mammalian herbivores. Voles sometimes feed on the corms. This wildflower benefits from occasional wildfires as this reduces the encroachment of woody vegetation.” – Illinois Wildflowers (on Liatris scariosa nieuwlandii)

  • Lilium philadelphicum, Wood Lily (sun/pt.sun, dry) 
  • “Eye-catching native lily of dry open fields. Only reaching a few feet in height, topped with an upward facing terminal red flower in Summer.” – Kohl Gardens

    “The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by large butterflies, including swallowtail butterflies (Papilionidae), the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), and Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele). Other floral visitors include the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, hummingbird moths (Hemaris spp.), and Halictid bees. Most of these floral visitors suck nectar from the flowers, although the Halictid bees collect pollen (see Graenicher, 1907; Edwards & Jordan, 1992). Other insects feed destructively on Prairie Lily (Lilium philadelphicum andinum) and other closely related lilies (Lilium spp.). These insects include the introduced Lily Leaf Beetle (Lilioceris lilii), Crescent-marked Lily Aphid (Aulacorthum circumflexum), Purple-spotted Lily Aphid (Macrosiphum lilii), and larvae of the Golden Borer Moth (Papaipema cerina), Burdock Borer Moth (Papaipema cataphracta), and Stalk Borer Moth (Papaipema nebris); … The larvae of these latter moths bore through the stems and corms of lilies. Mammalian herbivores readily consume the foliage of Prairie Lily and other closely related lilies, especially the White-tailed Deer. The corms are also eaten sometimes by voles.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Lindera benzoin, Spicebush (sun/shade, moist/avg.)
  • “Yellow flowers bloom along the twigs and branches and appear before the leaves in early Spring. Unique smelling foliage and branches make a delicious tea. Red fruits on the female plants in Fall make a native replacement for Allspice around the Holidays. Host plant for the beloved Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly” – Kohl Gardens

    “The flowers are cross-pollinated by various insects, particularly small bees and various flies. Insects that eat the foliage of Spicebush include the caterpillars of … (Spicebush Swallowtail),  (Promethea Moth), and  (Tulip Tree Beauty). The grubs of the long-horned beetle, …(Sassafras Borer), bore into the branches and roots of this shrub. The fruits are eaten occasionally by some upland gamebirds and several woodland songbirds. These birds help to distribute the seeds to new locations.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Lobelia siphilitica , Giant Blue Lobelia -(sun/pt.sun, moist/wet) 
  • “Lobelia siphilitica offers a deep-hued counterpoint to the yellows of late summer. It can form colonies of richly-flowered spikes, 2-3’ ft. tall, in medium to wet soils, especially with a little shade. Lobelias produce a secondary compound known as “lobeline,” which deters herbivores.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract primarily bumblebees and other long-tongued bees (Anthophora spp., Melissodes spp., Svastra spp.). Less common visitors include the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, large butterflies, and Halictid bees. The Halictid bees collect pollen only and they are non-pollinating. The caterpillars of a moth, Enigmogramma basigera…, feed on the foliage of Great Blue Lobelia…. Most mammalian herbivores don’t eat this plant because the foliage contains several toxic alkaloids, chief among them being lobeline and lobelanine. These toxic substances produce symptoms that resemble nicotine poisoning. However, it has been reported that deer occasionally eat this plant, perhaps enjoying greater immunity to these toxic substances than other animals.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Mitella diphylla, Bishop’s Cap (shade, moist/avg.)
  • “A small but curiousity-inducing member of the spring ephemerals. Spikes of strange white flowers add a fantastical note to shade gardens in early Spring. Mitella is a relative of the more well-known Tiarella (Foam-flower), sharing it’s trait of evergreen foliage.” – Kohl Gardens

    “The flowers are pollinated by Syrphid flies and small short-tongued bees (including Halictid bees and Little Carpenter bees). These insects suck nectar from the flowers; the Syrphid flies also feed on the pollen, while the short-tongued bees collect pollen for their larvae. Aside from these insect visitors, little appears to be known about floral-faunal relationships for this species.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Monarda fistulosa (Bee Balm)Monarda fistulosa, Wild Bee Balm (sun/light shade, avg./moist)
  • “The nectar of the flowers attracts long-tongued bees, bee flies, butterflies, skippers, and hummingbird moths. Among the long-tongued bees, are such visitors as bumblebees, Miner bees, Epeoline Cuckoo bees, and large Leaf-Cutting bees. A small black bee (Dufourea monardae) specializes in the pollination of Monarda flowers. Sometimes Halictid bees collect pollen, while some wasps steal nectar by perforating the nectar tube. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird also visits the flowers. The caterpillars of the moths Sphinx eremitus (Hermit Sphinx) and Agriopodes teratophora (Gray Marvel) feed on the foliage. A seed bug (Ortholomus scolopax) is sometimes found in the flowerheads. Mammalian herbivores usually avoid this plant as a food source, probably because of the oregano-mint flavor of the leaves…” – Illinois Wildflowers

    “…it often is cited for its historical medicinal applications… tea infusions for headaches, indigestion and colds and flu. Wild Bergamot is a favorite of butterflies, bees and hummingbirds” – Prairie Moon Nursery

  • Monarda punctata, Spotted Bee Balm (sun/pt.sun, dry/moist)
  • “It is an eccentric beauty in form and color with complex blossoms topping 2′ stems in hues of pinkish-purple, green, beige, and maroon. ” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “Useful as an aromatic, medicinal herb like other Monarda species. Prefers some bare ground to self-seed and move about” – Kohl Gardens

  • Myrica gale, Sweet Gale (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • “Sweetgale is a small shrub common to bogs and other peatlands. Its leaves are sweetly scented. It teams up with a bacterium in its roots that can fix nitrogen. Its fragrant, dark-green leaves and fruits (which attract birds) make it a good planting choice for wet areas of the garden..” – Go Botany

    “Sweetgale is a low-growing, 2-4 ft. high, deciduous, bushy shrub with glossy, dark-green to grayish foliage. The long leaves are sweet-scented. Inconspicuous flowers are borne in catkins. Sweetgale is a member of the wax-myrtle or bayberry family (family Myricaceae).” – Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

  • Penstemon digitalis, Foxglove Beardtounge (sun/pt.sun, moist)
  • “Penstemon digitalis (Foxglove Beardtongue) matures to 3′ in height and has white to pink flowers. It prefers medium to dry medium soils but can adapt to many light conditions: full sun to part shade such as clearings within forests, woods’ edges, and savannas. It is very easy to grow from seed.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “The tubular flowers of this plant attract long-tongued bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, Anthophorine bees, Miner bees, Mason bees, and large Leaf-Cutting bees. To a lesser extent, Halictid bees, butterflies, Sphinx moths, and hummingbirds may visit the flowers, but they are not effective pollinators. The caterpillars of the moth Elaphria chalcedonia (Chalcedony Midget) feed on the foliage of this and other beardtongues. There have been reports that the caterpillars of the butterfly Euphydryes phaeton (Baltimore) feed on the foliage of various beardtongues, but this does not appear to be the case in Illinois. The seeds are not often eaten by birds, nor is the foliage an attractive source of food to mammalian herbivores, although they may browse on it when little else is available.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Pityopsis falcata, Sickle-leaf Golden Aster (sun, dry/xeric)
  • “Endemic to just a few states in the Northeast, seen in early successional inner dunes and open fields in coastal areas with its small yellow flowers sprawling close to the ground, blooming and seeding simultaneously from summer to early Fall.” – Kohl Gardens

    “Sickle-leaved silk-grass is a highly restricted endemic, found on sandy glacial deposits that were left behind by the Wisconsin glaciation (which ended about 10,000 years ago). Though it is considered rare in New England, it can be locally abundant if the conditions are right.” – Go Botany

  • Pycnanthemum muticum, Mountain Mint (sun/pt.sun, moist)
  • “A wonderfully delicious and medicinal native mint that creates a silvery cast in a meadow or field edge throughout most of the summer. Leaves dry on the plant and I harvest them even into the winter. Not as aggressive as most mint (Mentha) sp. but will spread slowly over time” – Kohl Gardens

    “Many insects are strongly attracted to the flowers, including various bees, wasps, flies, small butterflies, and beetles. Typical visitors from these groups include honeybees, Cuckoo bees, Halictid bees, Sphecid wasps, Eumenine wasps, bee flies, Tachinid flies, Wedge-shaped beetles, and Pearl Cresecent butterflies. Most of these insects seek nectar. Mammalian herbivores and many leaf-chewing insects apparently find the mint fragrance of the leaves and stems repugnant, and rarely bother this plant.” – Illinois Wildflowers (on Pycnanthemum virginiana)

  • Pycnanthemum tenuifolium, Narrow-leaf Mountain Mint (sun/pt.sun, dry)
  • “The flowers of narrow-leaved mountain-mint attract a wide variety of insects including butterflies, skippers, bees, wasps, beetles and flies. The Cherokee used the leaves as a poultice to treat headache, and internally to treat colds, fever and upset stomach.” – Go Botany

    “The flowers are very attractive to many kinds of insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, skippers, beetles, and plant bugs. These insects usually seek nectar. Among the wasps, are such visitors as Thread-Waisted wasps, Bee Wolves (Philanthus spp.), Scoliid wasps, Tiphiid wasps, Sand wasps, Spider wasps, and Eumenine wasps. Flies visitors include Soldier flies, Syrphid flies, Mydas flies, bee flies, Thick-Headed flies, and Tachinid flies.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Rhexia virginica, Meadow Beauty (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • “Adorable plant of small stature found in moist meadows and peaty/sandy pondsides. The only member of the tropical Melastomatacea family that reaches up to New England. The purple petals are large for the plants’ size, resembling a the bobblehead doll; the yellow anthers curl and droop like a vintage ballplayer’s facial hair, popping against the purple.” – Kohl Gardens

    “The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by bumblebees, which collect pollen using ‘buzz pollination.’ This is accomplished by the rapid vibration of the thoracic muscles on the anthers to release their pollen through small pores. The polyphagous caterpillars of the moth Scopula limboundata (Large Lace Border) feed on the leaves of Rhexia spp. and many other plants. Because the hairy reddish fruits are somewhat sticky, they may attach themselves to the fur or feathers of passing animals, thereby distributing the seeds into new areas.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Rosa palustris, Swamp Rose (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • “A bountiful shrub with 2″ pink-petaled flowers that bloom for well-over a month. Extremely aromatic and attracts a suite of pollinators in June and July. Roses are copious pollen producers offering important sustenance to bumblebee colonies. Red/orange Autumnal color and large juicy red fruits (hips) are the cherry on top.” – Kohl Gardens

    “The fruit (rose hips) is eaten by some upland gamebirds (Ruffed Grouse, Prairie Chicken, etc.), songbirds (Cedar Waxwing, Swainson’s Thrush, etc.), small rodents (White-Footed Mouse, Woodland Deer Mouse), and other mammals (Black Bear, Striped Skunk). White-Tailed Deer browse on the twigs and leaves, while Beavers use the woody stems as a food source and construction material for their dams and dens. Birds that construct nests in the taller roses include the Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, Yellow Warbler, and Cardinal.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Rubus odoratus, Purple-flowering Raspberry (pt. sun/moist)
  • “…a deciduous…suckering shrub with cane-like stems which typically grows 3-6′ tall and spreads 6-12′ wide. One of the best of the ornamental raspberries because of its rose-like, fragrant, 2″ wide, rose-purple flowers which appear over a long summer bloom period and its palmate, 5-lobed, maple-like, medium green leaves (4-10” wide). This shrub has hairy stems but virtually no prickles. – Missouri Botanical Garden

    “The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract many kinds of insects, especially long-tongued and short-tongued bees. This includes honeybees, bumblebees, Little Carpenter bees, Nomadine Cuckoo bees, Mason bees, Green Metallic bees and other Halictid bees, and Andrenid bees. Other visitors of the flowers include wasps, flies, small to medium-sized butterflies, skippers, and beetles. Many of the flies and beetles feed on pollen and are not very effective at pollination.” – Illinois Wildflowers (on Rubus allegheniensis)

  • Rudbeckia laciniata, Green-headed Coneflower (sun/pt.sun, moist)
  • “There are not many woodland flowers that will reach the height of this coneflower. Its bright yellow flowers and relatively late bloom time compared to many spring-blooming woodland flowers make it a wonderful addition to your woodland planting.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “The nectar and pollen of the flowerheads attract many kinds of insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, predatory wasps, butterflies, skippers, moths, and various kinds of flies. Insects that feed destructively on the Cutleaf Coneflower include the leaf beetle Sumitrosis inequalis, Uroleucon rudbeckiae (Golden Glow Aphid), larvae of the fruit fly Strauzia intermedia, leaf-mining larvae of the moth Marmara auratella, and larvae of the butterfly, Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot). Other insects that feed on this and other coneflowers (Rudbeckia spp.) include the larvae of gall flies, larvae of the sawfly Macrophya simillima, and larvae of some Tortricid moths. Larvae of such moths as Synchlora aerata (Wavy-Lined Emerald) and Eupithecia miserulata (Common Pug) feed on the florets. A bird, the Common Goldfinch, eats the seeds to a limited extent. The foliage of Cutleaf Coneflower may be somewhat poisonous to some mammalian herbivores.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Rudbeckia triloba, Brown-eyed Susan (sun/pt.sun, moist/dry)
  • “…easily grown in average, moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but plants may need support if grown in too much shade. Best in moist, organically rich soils. Tolerates heat, some drought and a somewhat wide range of soils.” – Missouri Botanical Garden

    “Brown-Eyed Susan is often self-pollinated, but it nonetheless attracts numerous nectar-seeking and pollen-seeking insects to its flowers. These visitors include bumblebees, little carpenter bees (Ceratina spp, digger bees (Melissodes spp.), cuckoo bees (Triepeolus spp., Coelioxys spp.), leaf-cutting bees (Megachile spp.), Andrenid bees (Andrena spp., Heterosarus spp.), and Halictid bees (including green metallic bees). One of these bees, Andrena rudbeckiae, is a specialist pollinator (oligolege) of Rudbeckia and Ratibida coneflowers. Other floral visitors include Sphecid wasps, Vespid wasps, Syrphid flies, bee flies, thick-headed flies, Tachinid flies, small to medium-sized butterflies, and the common Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus (Goldenrod Soldier Beetle). – Illinois Wildflowers 

  • Sambucus nigra, Black Elderberry ()
  • “Grow in medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils, but prefers moist, humusy ones. Plants spread by root suckers to form colonies. It typically grows to 8-20’ (less frequently to 30′) tall. It is particularly noted for its aromatic late spring flowers and its edible fruits (elderberries).” – Missouri Botanical Garden

    “The flowers provide only pollen as a floral reward to insect visitors. This attracts a variety of insects, including honeybees, little carpenter bees (Ceratina spp.), Halictid bees, Syrphid flies, bee flies (Bombyliidae), Muscid flies, other miscellaneous flies, long-horned beetles (Cerambycidae), tumbling flower beetles (Mordellidae), and other miscellaneous beetles. Little carpenter bees and mason bees (Osmia spp.) also construct nests for their larvae by tunneling into the soft pith of broken stems…” – Illinois Wildflowers 

  • Schizachyrium scoparium, Little Blue Stem (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • “Warm-season bunch grass common in dry fields and roadsides, reaching about 4′ tall in full-height. Fall and Winter interest for short meadows and open fields. Best planted in mass, but can double as a short specimen grass.” – Kohl Gardens

    “Little Bluestem is an excellent plant for wildlife. The caterpillars of several skippers feed on the foliage, including Dusted Skipper, Cobweb Skipper, Ottoe Skipper, Indian Skipper, Swarthy Skipper, and the Crossline Skipper. Other insects that feed on Little Bluestem include grasshoppers, Prairie Walkingsticks, the leaf-mining beetles, thrips, spittlebugs, and leafhoppers. The seeds of this grass are eaten by songbirds, and the foliage is eaten by a number of mammals.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

  • Senna hebacarpa, Northern Wild Senna (sun/pt.sun, moist)
  • “Wild Senna is a versatile plant that we think deserves more recognition as a great choice for garden or restoration projects. Its lovely, bright yellow flowers bloom July-August, attracting many bees and butterflies.  Autumn brings beautiful leaf colors and the formation of long black pods with seeds favored by larger birds like wild turkeys.  A horizontal root system provides strength against winds, allowing the plant’s stately (4-6′) beauty to be appreciated even after the storm. Some gardeners use this sun-loving plant to form a hedge.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “The flowers atttract bumblebees primarily, which seek pollen. Halictid bees also visit the flowers for pollen, but are less likely to achieve cross-pollination. The extra-floral nectaries, on the other hand, attract primarily ants and a few other insects, including ladybird beetles and flies. It is possible that some of these insects protect the plant from other insects that would attack the foliage. The caterpillars of some Sulfur butterflies rely on the foliage of Senna spp. (Sennas) as a source of food. In Illinois, this includes Eurema nicippe (Sleepy Orange), Phoebis philea (Orange-Barred Sulfur), and Phoebis sennae eubule (Cloudless Sulfur)… caterpillars of the moths Ascalapha odorata (Black Witch) and Pleuroprucha insulsaria (Common Tan Wave); caterpillars of the last species feed on the flowers. Mammalian herbivores usually avoid consumption of the foliage, which has purgative properties. The seeds may be eaten by some upland gamebirds…” – Illinois Wildflowers 

  • Sisyrinchium montanum, Strict Blue-eyed Grass (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • Sisyrinchiums are small relatives of Iris and have similar, ribbonlike leaves in overlapping fans that grow from the dozen from a miniscule rhizome. The flowers worship the sun, remaining tightly closed until warmed by its rays…” – William Cullina.

    “Halictid bees, including green metallic bees, are probably the most important visitors of the flowers, where they collect pollen or suck nectar. Bumblebees, other kinds of bees, and bee flies are less frequent visitors seeking nectar, while Syrphid flies feed on pollen or suck nectar.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Solidago caesia, Axillary Goldenrod (shade/sun, moist/dry) 
  • “A dainty, dangling Goldenrod usually found in dappled afternoon or bright morning-light situations. Among the last Goldenrods to flower. Blooms simultaneously with Heart-leaved Aster (Symphotrichum cordifolium), or for offset blooms try Solomon’s Plume (Maianthemum racemosa) and Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)” – Kohl Gardens

    “The nectar and pollen of the flowers can attract a wide variety of insects, especially short-tongued bees, wasps, and flies. The caterpillars of Gnorimoschema gallaeastrella and other species of moths feed on goldenrods (see Moth Table). Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod is one of the host plants of the leaf beetle Microrhopala xerene, the leafhopper Prescottia lobata, and the larvae of such polyphagous leaf-miner flies as Calycomyza jucunda, Nemorimyza posticata, and Ophiomyia texana. Other insects that feed on goldenrods (Solidago spp.) include aphids, treehoppers, spittlebugs, plant bugs, stink bugs, the larvae of fruit flies, and grasshoppers. The seeds of goldenrods are eaten sparingly by the Indigo Bunting, Slate-Colored Junco, Tree Sparrow, Eastern Goldfinch, and other songbirds. White-Tailed Deer are especially likely to feed on the foliage of goldenrods in woodlands.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Solidago flexicaulis, Zig-Zag Goldenrod (shade/sun moist/dry)
  • “A graceful goldenrod usually found in shade/pt. shade in the the wild, but does well in full-sun. Growing only to 3′ tall. Zig-Zag self-seeds and the colony will slowly expand but don’t be afraid!… This is not your ‘Canada Goldenrod’. Blooms simultaneously with Eurybia divaricata, White Wood Aster” – Kohl Gardens

    “The flowerheads are pollinated by many kinds of insects, including long-tongued bees, small-tongued bees, wasps, flies, and butterflies. Several bees are oligoleges of Solidago spp. (Goldenrods). These species include: Andrena hirticincta, Andrena nubecula, Andrena placata, Andrena simplex, Andrena solidaginis, and Colletes simulans armata. Many insects feed on the leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots of goldenrods. These insect feeders include plant bugs, stink bugs, aphids, leaf beetles, and the caterpillars of many moths. These insects are a source of food to many woodland songbirds and some upland gamebirds. White-tailed Deer readily browse on the foliage of Zigzag Goldenrod.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Solidago odora, Licorice Goldenrod (sun/dry)
  • “…commonly called sweet goldenrod, is easily identified by its anise-scented leaves. It is native to dry, sandy, open woods in the eastern U.S.” – Missouri Botanical Garden

    “Wonderfully fragrant leaves give off an anise scent when crushed, reminiscent of licorice candy! The lance-shaped leaves are a glossy, smooth dark green. S. odora has a tidy, clump-forming habit and is not weedy or aggressive in the garden. Attracts butterflies, bees, ladybugs, lacewings and other beneficial insects. Its high ecologial value and handsome appearance make it a valuable addition to wildflower gardens, meadows and naturalistic borders.” – North Creek Nursery

  • Solidago speciosa, Showy goldenrod (sun/pt.sun, moist/dry)
  • “Showy Goldenrod tends to bloom a little later than most Goldenrods. It is indeed one of the showiest of the genus with a feathery plume comprised of a dense clump of pale yellow to deep yellow flowers atop an attractive red stem.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “The flowers attract honeybees, bumblebees, ants, beetles, and the occasional moth or butterfly. Among the beetles, are such visitors as Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus (Goldenrod Soldier Beetle) and Epicauta pensylvanica (Black Blister Beetle). These insects seek nectar primarily. The caterpillars of many moths feed on various parts of this goldenrod and others. Other insect feeders include various leafhoppers, lace bugs, plant bugs, and beetles. To a limited extent, the seeds are eaten by the Eastern Goldfinch…” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Sorghastrum nutans, Indiangrass (sun/pt.sun, dry)
  • “Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerant of a wide range of soils including heavy clays. Does well in poor, dry, infertile soils. Tends to open up and/or flop in moist, rich soils however. …A warm season… native perennial grass which typically occurs in prairies, glades and open woods…. It was one of the dominant grasses of the tallgrass prairie which once covered large parts of the Midwest. Typically grows 3-5′ tall (less frequently to 6′) and is noted for its upright form and blue-green foliage. It forms upright clumps (to 2-3′ tall) of slender, blue-green leaves (to 1/2″ wide and 2′ long). Foliage turns orange-yellow in fall and usually retains hints of color into the winter. Stiff, vertical flowering stems, topped with narrow, feathery, light brown flower panicles (to 12” long) highlighted with yellow stamens, rise well above the foliage clump in late summer to 5-6′ tall. Panicles darken to bronze/chestnut brown in fall as they mature, later fading to gray. Panicles continue to provide some interest well into winter. – Missouri Botanical Garden

    “Several species of grasshoppers feed on the foliage of Indian Grass…; this grass is a preferred host plant of …(Velvet-striped Grasshopper), … (Little Pasture Grasshopper), and … (Handsome Grasshopper). These grasshoppers are an important source of food to many insectivorous songbirds and upland gamebirds. Other insects that feed on Indian Grass include the leafhopper…, the Issid planthopper , and the caterpillars of  (Pepper-and-Salt Skipper); … The foliage is also palatable to hoofed mammalian herbivores, including bison and cattle. … it provides nesting habitat and protective cover for many kinds of birds, including the …Greater Prairie Chicken, Northern Bobwhite, Mourning Dove, and Field Sparrow…” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Swida racemosa, Gray Dogwood  (sun/pt.shade, dry/moist)
  • “Drought-tolerant Dogwood with many fine qualities. Best as a hedge or mown around in circles to control clonal nature. White fruits pop against the purple-red fall foliage, and are loved by many species of birds.” – Kohl Gardens

    “These berries are also eaten by many mammals, including the Black Bear, Raccoon, Striped Skunk, Fox Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Eastern Chipmunk, and White-Footed Mouse. Both the Cottontail Rabbit and White-Tailed Deer browse on the branches and leaves. Because of its dense branching structure, Gray Dogwood is often used as a nesting site by several songbirds. When it forms dense thickets, this provides good cover for many birds and small mammals.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Symphyotrichum laeve, Smooth Aster (sun/pt.sun, dry/moist)
  • “A tough, adaptable species with lovely blue-gray leaves… The 1″-wide-flowers (Violet-color) emerge from a loose panicle. I would rate it as one of the best (Asters) for gardens… very drought-tolerant… grows to 3′ tall” – William Cullina

    “The nectar and pollen of the flowerheads attract honeybees, bumblebees, cuckoo bees …, digger bees …), leaf-cutting bees …, Halictid bees .., Andrenid bees (including the oligolectic bee, Andrena asteris), Sphecid wasps, Syrphid flies …, Muscid flies, butterflies, and skippers… ” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Symphyotrichum novae-angliae , New England Aster (sun/pt.sun, moist)
  • “Maturing to 5′ tall, it is rich with purple flowers with orange-yellow centers from late summer to October. Popular with pollinators, it thrives in full sun or light shade in all but the driest soils.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “The flowers are visited primarily by long-tongued bees, bee flies, butterflies, and skippers. Short-tongued bees and Syrphid flies also visit the flowers…. Among the long-tongued bees, are such visitors as bumblebees, honeybees, Miner bees, and large Leaf-Cutting bees. ” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Thalictrum dioicum, Early Meadow Rue (shade, moist)
  • “…an early meadow rue that grows 1-2′ tall. It features lacy, fine-textured, gray-green, compound foliage (superficially resembling columbine or maidenhair fern) and panicles of tiny, drooping, greenish-white flowers often with a purple tinge which appear in late spring (April-May). Male flower has yellowish stamens and female flower has purplish pistils.” – Missouri Botanical Garden

    “Graceful rue of small stature native to rich-mesic forests. Blooms alongside other spring ephemerals taking advantage of the early Spring canopy opening. Flowers are wind-pollinated.” – Kohl Gardens

    “The caterpillars of the following Noctuid moths feed on Thalictrum spp. (Meadow Rue species) – Calyptra canadensis (Canadian Owlet), Papaipema unimoda (Borer Moth sp.), and Pseudeva purpurigera (Straight-Lined Looper Moth). White-Tailed Deer browse on the foliage of Early Meadow Rue sparingly. – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Thalictrum pubescens, Tall Meadow Rue (sun/shade, moist/wet)
  • “Large, puffy white-flowering clouds on top of softly tiered, divided foliage appearing in June and lasting for many weeks. Looks great in a woodland border where the flowers pop against a darker backdrop” – Kohl Gardens

    “The Iroquois used this plant externally to treat nosebleeds, and internally to treat gall conditions. The Montagnais used the leaves as a spice to flavor salmon.” – Go Botany

  • Tiarella cordifolia var. cordifolia , Running Foamflower (shade/moist)
  • “This attractive wildflower, which spreads by underground stems, forms colonies, and makes excellent groundcover for shady, wooded sites. The tiny flowers and fine texture of the stamens resemble foam and account for the common name.” – Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

    “With attractive medium-green lobed leaves and 8-10” tall stems covered in tiny white to pinkish-white flowers, Tiarella cordifolia stands out in the garden as one the best native plants for use as a shade groundcover. Tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions from dry to moist but well-drained soils, this undemanding plant performs reliably in the garden. ” – Mt. Cuba Center

  • Tridens flavus, Purple-top Grass (sun/pt.sun, dry/avg.)

  • “Perennial warm-season…bunchgrass that when planted en masse puts a stunning reddish-purple top onto fields and meadows in mid-summer to early autumn. …tolerant of road salt…This species is the larval host of a number of butterflies and moths… Seeds are eaten by birds.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    “The caterpillars of several skippers feed on the foliage of Purpletop, including Poanes hobomok (Hobomok Skipper), Poanes zabulon (Zabulon Skipper), Polites origenes (Crossline Skipper), and Pompeius verna (Little Glassywing); the caterpillars of the butterfly Cercyonis pegala (Common Wood Nymph) also feed on the foliage of this grass (Wagner, 2005; Bouseman et al., 2006). Other insect feeders include the seed-eating larvae of Contarinia sorghicola (Sorghum Midge), the stem-boring larvae of Eurytomocharis triodiae (Purple-top Borer), and such aphids as Hysteroneura setariae (Rusty Plum Aphid) and Hyalopteroides humilis (Orchard Grass Aphid);… Among mammals, the Prairie Vole feeds on foliage of Purpletop …, and it is also palatable to livestock. Because of its size and tendency to form colonies, this grass provides significant cover for wildlife.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Verbasina alternifolia, Wingstem Crownbeard (sun/pt.sun, moist)
  • “Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Thrives in consistently moist, organically rich soils, but also tolerates some dry conditions.” – Missouri Botanical Gardens

    “Sometimes this plant is called ‘Yellow Ironweed’ because of its fancied resemblance to Ironweed (Vernonia spp.). Both kinds of plants bloom at about the same time of year, share a similar height, have similar leaves, and like moist conditions. Their composite flowers, however, are dramatically different from each other in appearance. The flowers are visited primarily by long-tongued bees, especially bumblebees. Some short-tongued bees, butterflies, and skippers also visit the flowers; the long tubes of the disk florets make the nectar inaccessible to many insects with shorter tongues, such as flies and wasps. Several kinds of insects feed destructively on Wingstem and other Verbesina spp. Caterpillars of the butterfly Chlosyne nycteis (Silvery Checkerspot) feed on the foliage, while caterpillars of Basilodes pepita (Gold Moth) feed on the flowers and developing seeds The caterpillars of two Gracillariid moths, Cremastobombycia ignota and Cremastobombycia ambrosiaeella, are leaf-miners. Other insects that feed on Wingstem include the leaf beetle Brachypnoea clypealis, larvae of the gall flies Cecidomyia verbesinae and Neolasioptera verbesinae, the aphid Uroleucon rurale, and Acrosternum hilaris (Green Stink Bug). Because of the bitterness of its leaves, Wingstem isn’t consumed by deer, rabbits, and other herbivores to the same extent as many other plants. Animals may distribute the awned seeds to some extent.” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Verbena hastata, Blue Vervain (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet)
  • “The small, tubular, blue-violet flowers of Blue Vervain bloom from the bottom up in July’s heat.  The numerous crowning spikes of blossoms give a candelabra-like appearance to this graceful, widely-distributed plant. …Vervain likes wet, even soggy, conditions but also will grow in medium soils.  Full sun to partial sun are its preferred sun conditions.” – Prairie Moon Nursery

    The flowers …attract many kinds of long-tongued and short-tongued bees, including honey bees, bumblebees, cuckoo bees…, digger bees …, Halictid bees, and dagger bees …, including the oligolectic Verbena Bee (Calliopsis verbenae)…Various songbirds …eat the seeds, including the Cardinal, Swamp Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Slate-Colored Junco – Illinois Wildflowers

  • Vernonia noveboracensis, New York Ironweed (sun/pt.sun, moist/wet) 
  • “New York ironweed is a robust wildflower with saturated-violet and narrow petaled flowers. Clusters of…flowers, …top a 5-7’ clump-forming plant. Normally found in nature in wet swales, …also grows well in drier sites in the garden without extra care. The intense purple flowers bloom for most of the month of September and attract many butterflies.” – Mt. Cuba Center

    “The nectar of the flowers attracts bee flies, butterflies, skippers, and various bees (primarily long-tongued bees). Some bees also collect pollen for their larvae. The caterpillars of various moths feed on Vernonia spp. (Ironweed species), particularly the pith of their stems and their roots. These species include Carmenta bassiformis (Eupatorium Borer Moth), Papaipema cerussata (Ironweed Borer Moth), Papaipema limpida (another Ironweed Borer Moth), Perigea xanthioides (Red Groundling), Polygrammodes flavidalis (Pyralid Moth sp.), and Polygrammodes langdonalis (Pyralid Moth sp.). Another insect, Aphis vernoniae (Ironweed Aphid), sucks juices from the upper stems and leaf undersides. Other insects feeders include the larvae of Asphondylia vernoniae (Ironweed Bud Midge) and Youngomyia podophyllae(Ironweed Blossum Midge), which form galls on the buds and flowerheads respectively. Both Oecanthus quadripunctatus (Four-Spotted Tree Cricket) and Conocephalus brevipennis (Short-winged Meadow Katydid) have been observed feeding on the flowerheads of Tall Ironweed (Gangwere, 1961). Because of the bitter foliage, mammalian herbivores shun Ironweed species as a food source.” – Illinois Wildflowers (on Vernonia gigantea)

  • Vitis labrusca, Fox Grape (sun/pt.sun, moist)
  • “The vines are native to eastern North America and are the source of many grape cultivars, including Catawba, Concord, Delaware, Isabella, Niagara, and many hybrid grape varieties such as Agawam, Alexander and Onaka. Among the characteristics of this vine species in contrast to the European wine grape Vitis vinifera are its “slip-skin” that allows the skin of the grape berries to easily slip off when squeezed, instead of crushing the pulp, and the presence of tendrils on every node of the cane. Another contrast with European vinifera is the characteristic “foxy” musk of V. labrusca, best known to most people through the Concord grape.[1] This musk is not related to the mammalian fox, but rather to the strong, earthy aromas characteristic of the grapes that were known by early European-American settlers in the New World.” – Wikipedia

    “Fox Grape and other wild grapes (Vitis spp.) are highly beneficial to wildlife. The flowers are cross-pollinated by bumblebees, honeybees, long-horned bees (Synhalonia spp.), and probably other long-tongued bees. These insects usually collect pollen from the flowers. A wide variety of insects feed on the foliage, bore through the woody stems, or suck plant juices from these vines. Wild grapes are also beneficial to many birds and mammals… Because of the dense leafy cover that these vines provide, they provide hiding places for many kinds of wildlife and nesting habitat for birds. The many insects that wild grapes attract also provide a source of food to many insectivorous birds.” – Illinois Wildflowers 

  • Zizia aurea, Golden Alexanders (sun/pt.sun, moist)
  • “Important spring-flowering member of the Apiacaea (Carrot family). Golden Yellow-orange flowers supply nectar for early-emerging pollinators; coarsely divided leaves are a host for the Black Swallowtail Butterfly” – Kohl Gardens

    “The flowers are attractive to many kinds of insects seeking pollen or nectar, especially short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, and beetles. Among the short-tongued bees are such visitors as Green Metallic bees, Masked bees, and Andrenid bees … Wasp visitors include Eumenine wasps, spider wasps, Ichneumonid wasps, and Crabronine wasps. Such long-tongued bees as bumblebees, cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.) also visit the flowers, as do some small butterflies and true bugs” – Illinois Wildflowers

  • plus not yet listed… Apios americana, Lupinus perennis, Allium tricoccum, Polygonatum pubescens, Ilex opaca, Crotalaria saggitalis, Rosa carolina, Rosa nitida, Hypericum kalmianum, Hylodesmum glutinosum,