Prairie Plants

Printable Prairie Plants List

Although Illinois is called "the Prairie State," the amount of prairies that currently exist are just a fraction of what once was. While in 1820 Illinois had 22 million acres of prairie, by 1978 less than 2,300 acres of high quality prarie remained. In addition to supporting conservation on a larger scale, you can also help the cause by planting native prairie species in your own yards and gardens. Prairie plants are not only beautiful, but they also bennefit local wildlife and polinators, as well as soil and water quality. 

Note About Scientific Names:
 
The scientific name has been included for all plants on this list. Many species have been hybridized and are commercially available. However, these hybrids and cultivars are not truly native species. Depending on your goal this may not matter to you; however, if you are attempting a restoration, it is important to acquire only plants with the exact scientific name listed. The reason for this is that many hybrids will not reproduce and spread.

Note About Aggressive Species: 
Several species have been labeled “aggressive” or “potentially aggressive.” If your goal is a tidy formal bed, these species may not suit your needs. On the other hand, if you are planning a restoration or beautification, where rapid spreading is desirable, these plants should not be problematic.

Prairie Plants

bushclover
Bush Clover (Lespedeza capitata)
Bloom Time: Aug-Sept
Height:
2′-4′

Cream-Indigo-Bystricky
Cream Indigo (Baptisia leucophaea)
Bloom Time:
  May-Jun
Height:  1′-2′

Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata
Bloom Time:
Jul- Aug
Height:  2′-4′
Comments:  Leaves turn red in August

New-Jersey-Tea
New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)
Bloom Time:  Jul-Aug
Height:  2′-3′
Comments:  Small Woody Shrub, hummingbird and butterfly friendly

Shooting-Star
Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia)
Bloom Time:
  May-Jun
Height:  1′-2′
Comments:  Flower color varies from pink to white

white indigo

White Indigo (Baptisia leucantha)
Bloom Time:
  May-July
Height:  3′-5′

White-Prairie-Clvr
White Prairie Clover (Petalostemum candidum)
Bloom Time:  Jun-Aug
Height:  12″-30″

Quinine-Flwr
Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium)
Bloom Time:  Jun-Sep
Height:  2′-5′


Black-eyed-group
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Bloom Time:
Jul-Sept
Height:  1′-3′
Comments:  Butterfly Friendly

Butt-weed-flwr-side
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Bloom Time:
  Jun-Aug
Height:  2'-3'
Comments:  Butterfly friendly; showy orange flowers

Compass-Plant-flwr
Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)
Bloom Time
: Jun-Sep
Height:  3′-10′
Comments:  Seeds are food source for birds

Golden-Alex
Heartleaf Golden Alexanders (Zizia aptera)
Bloom Time
: May-Jun
Height:  1′-2′

Prairie-Coreopsis
Prairie Coreopsis (Coreopsis palmata)
Bloom Time: 
Jun-Aug
Height:  2′-3′

Prairie-Dock-Flwr - Copy
Prairie Dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum)
Bloom Time: 
Jul-Sep
Height:  3′-10′
Comments:  Butterfly Friendly, Seeds are food source for birds

prairie sunflower
Prairie Sunflower (Helianthus rigidus)
Bloom Time:  Jul-Oct
Height:   3′-6′
Comments:  Butterfly Friendly; Possibly Aggressive

prickly pear cactus
Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa)
Bloom Time:  Jun-Jul
Height:  8″
Comments:  Edible fruit, Rock Gardens

Rosin-Weed - Copy (3)
Rosin Weed (Silphium integrifolium deamii)
Bloom Time:
  Jul-Sep
Height:  2′-6′
Comments:  Possibly Aggressive

Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)
Bloom Time:  Jul-Oct
Height:  1′-3'
Comments:  Butterfly friendly

Western Sunflower (Helianthus occidentalis)
Bloom Time:  Jul-Aug 
Height:  2′-3′
Comments:  Butterfly friendly, Rock garden

Yellow-Cnflwr
Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
Bloom Time:  Jul-Sep
Height:  3′-6′

Aromatic-Aster-flwr
Aromatic Aster (Aster oblongifolius)
Bloom Time:  Aug-Oct
Height:  1′-2′
Comments:  Mound of flowers

Bergamot
Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Bloom Time:  Jul-Sep
Height:  2′-5′
Comments:  Hummingbird and butterfly friendly

Birds-Foot-Violet-1
Bird’s Foot Violet (Viola pedata)
Bloom Time:  Apr-Jun
Height:  6″-8″
Comments:  Butterfly friendly

blue eyed grass
Prairie Blue-Eyed Grass  (Sisyrinchium campestre)
Bloom Time:  May-Jun
Height:  12″
Comments:  May have white flowers

Lead-Plant - Copy
Lead Plant  (Amorpha canescens)
Bloom Time:  Jun-Jul
Height:  2′-3′
Comments:  Orange stamens; Shrub; Butterfly friendly

Pale-Purple-Coneflwr
Pale Purple Coneflower  (Echinacea pallida)
Bloom Time:  Jun-Jul
Height:  2′-3′
Comments:  Butterfly friendly

prairie blazingstar
Prairie Blazingstar  (Liatris pycnostachya)
Bloom Time:  Jul-Aug
Height:  2′-4′
Comments:  AKA Gayfeather, Hummingbird & butterfly friendly

purple prairie clover
Purple Prairie Clover  (Petalostemum purpureum)
Bloom Time:  Jul-Aug
Height:  1′-3′
Comments:  Butterfly friendly

Silky Aster  (Aster sericeus)
Bloom Time:  Sep-Oct
Height:  1′-2′
Comments:  Butterfly friendly

sky blue aster
Sky Blue Aster  (Aster azureus)
Bloom Time:  Sep-Oct
Height:  2′-3′
Comments:  Butterfly friendly

Spiderwort-plt
Common Spiderwort  (Tradescantia ohiensis)
Bloom Time:  May-Jun
Height:  2′-4′

Alum-Root
Prairie Alumroot (Heuchera richardsonii)
Bloom Time:  Sep-Oct
Height:  2′-3′

Rattlesnake-Master-flwr
Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
Bloom Time:  Jun-Aug
Height:  3′-5′
Comments:  Exotic globe-like flower
big bluestem
Big Bluestem  (Andropogon gerardii)
Bloom Time:  Sept-Oct
Height:  3′-8′
Comments:  Purple fall color

Indian-grass2
Indian Grass  (Sorghastrum nutans)
Bloom Time:  Aug-Sep
Height:  3′-5′
Comments:  Aggressive

Lil-Blue
Little Bluestem  (Andropogon scoparius)
Bloom Time:  Aug-Oct
Height:  2′-3′
Comments: Great fall color

Prairie-Dropseed
Prairie Dropseed  (Sporobolus heterolepis)
Bloom Time:  Aug-Sep
Height:  2′-3′
Comments:  Beautiful fountain-like form; Great fall color

Side Oats Grama  (Bouteloua curtipendula)
Bloom Time:  Jul-Oct
Height:  2′-3′
Comments:  Unique seed structure formation

Switch Grass  (Panicum virgatum)
Bloom Time:  Aug-Sep
Height:  3′-6′
Comments:  Spreads aggressively; Beautiful seed heads