Native Plants

Over the season more than 50 wildflowers bloom in the Native Plant Garden. You can locate a plant or re-order the table by using the search bar. For example, searching for “August” will show the plants flowering in August at the beginning of the table. The link to “more information about” at the end of the description leads the more detailed photos and plant information found on Glen Lee’s website.

PlantDescription
Prairie Crocus
Anemone patens
Blooms: May
Photos and information about the Prairie Crocus
Tufted Fleabane
Erigeron caespitosus
Blooms: May
The fleabane family is a large family with many similar species all with flowers resembling their close cousins the asters and daisies. Fleabanes usually have more than fifty petals, actually known as florets, on each two to three centimeter flower head. Asters and daisies have fewer than 50 ray florets on each flower head. Each one of the florets is actually a complete flower in itself with a set of petals, stamens and corolla. The corolla has white or mauve coloured ray shaped florets around the outside of each flower and disc shaped florets in the yellow centre. The tufted fleabane usually grows no more than twelve inches tall with several stems growing from the taproot. Although we don’t know if fleabanes actually repel fleas, we do know that butterflies and bees are attracted to these flowers especially early in the season when there is a shortage of nectar bearing plants.
More information about Tufted Fleabane
Three-Flowered Avens
Geum triflorum
Blooms in May.
More about Three Flowered Avens
Golden Bean
Thermopsis rhombifolia
Golden Bean

Golden Bean

Blooms in May.
More about Golden Bean
Missouri Milkvetch
Astragalus missouriensis
Blooms in May, June
More about Missouri Milk Vetch
Blue-eyed Grass
Sisyrinchium montanu
Blooms in May
More about Blue-eyed Grass
Silverweed
Potentilla anserine
Blooms in May
More about Silverweed
Alumroot
Heuchera richardsonii
Blooms in May
A relatively common plant on native prairies, alumroot gets its name from its astringent properties when its scaly rootstock is chewed or drunk in a decoction as a remedy for diarrhea or for treating minor wounds. The frilly heart shaped leaves are clustered around the base of the plant so never get very high. The flowers, on the other hand, appear on 50 to 60 cm stalks above the leaves. The small flowers are not showy because the small purple petals of the flowers are almost hidden by the green sepals that cover them so that even though the plant is in full flower, the flowers still appear to be only partly out of the bud. This plant is a long-lived perennial and is a valuable part of the Native Prairie Garden.
More about Alumroot
Slender Beardtongue
Penstemon procerus
Slender Beard Tongue

Slender Beard Tongue

Blooms in May
This relatively short plant, (maximum of 12 inches), has many small deep blue flowers growing in an interrupted pattern on spikes. Each flower is less than ten millimeters long, but because there are many on a spike and there are often many spikes, they put on a beautiful show. The plant blooms for a long time from late May until August. The scientific name “Penstemon” refers to the fact that there are five stamens. The common name “ beardtongue” refers to one of the stamens being sterile and bearded as well as the lower lip of the flower. Although the slender beardtongue, although a perennial, normally only lives a few years but we have enjoyed this prairie beauty in the Native Plant Garden for over a decade.
More about Slender Beardtongue
Smooth camas
Zygadens elegans
Blooms in May
About Smooth Camus
Canada Anemone
Anemone canadensis
Blooms in May
Canada Anemone photos and description
Northern Bedstraw
Galium boreale
Blooms in May
Early Blue Violet
Viola adunca
Blooms in May
Early Blue Violet photos and description
Common Yarrow
Achillea millefolium
Blooms May - June
Common Yarrow photos and description
Long-Fruited Anemone
Anemone cylindrical
Blooms May - June
Long-Fruited Anemone photos and description
Scarlet Mallow
Malvastrum coccineum
Blooms May - June
Smooth Wild Strawberry
Fragaria glauca
Blooms May - June
Ground plum
Astragalus crassicarpus
Blooms May - June
Ground Plum photos and description
Rough Cinquefoil
Potentilla norvegica
Blooms: June
Rough Cinquefoil photos and description
Giant Hyssop
Agastache foeniculum
Blooms: June
Giant Hyssop photos and description
Western Red Lily
Lilium philadelphicum
Blooms: June
Western Red Lily photos and description
Green Needle Grass
Stipa viridula
Blooms: June
Wild Blue Flax
Linum lewisii
Blooms: June
Up close, this wild plant closely resembles the cultivated flax that, when grown as an agricultural crop, turns fields into a shimmering blue lake of petals during mid summer. The wild flax is a gangly plant with slim stems, linear grass like leaves and many branched flower stems with a single two centimeter blue flower at the end of each branch. The flowers, each of which only lasts a day, form a loose terminal cluster. Individual flowers are quite distinct in their tendency to have five of everything - petals, sepals and stamens. The seed heads, like their cultivated cousin’s, are round capsules that have four or five compartments each containing two seeds. With its deep woody root, wild flax prefers dry prairies and suffers like some of the other plants when the Native Plant Garden receives too much artificial watering. Wild Blue Flax photos and description
Heart-leaved Alexanders
Zizia aptera
Blooms: June
Whereas some of the plants in the Native Plant Garden are fuzzy, gray shaded or bristly to help them cope with their tough life on the prairie, the heart-leafed alexanders is smooth and shiny in its general appearance. It gets its name, “heart leafed” from the shape of the leaves growing on long stalks at the base of the plant. The leaves farther up the erect stem are three lobed. The flower is made up of a number of small bright yellow florets grouped in a flat umbrella shaped head approximately five centimeters across. In the wild, the favoured habitats for this plant are moist meadows and edges of aspen groves. You can look for this pretty thirty-centimeter tall plant in early June at the Native Plant Garden. It will be peeking up through the grass along with the Alumroot in the bed closest to the parking lot.
Heart-Leaved Alexanders photos and description
Silvery Groundsel
Senecio canus
Blooms: June
Blanket Flower
Gaillardia aristata
Blanket Flower and Harebells

Blanket Flower and Harebells

Blooms: June - July
Blanket Flower photos and description
Harebell
Campanula rotundifolia
Blanket Flower and Harebells

Blanket Flower and Harebells

Blooms: June - July
Harebell photos and description
Nodding Onion
Allium cermium
Blooms: June - July
Nodding Onion photos and description
Indian Breadroot
Psoralea esculenta
Blooms: June - July
Prairie Coneflower Ratibida colomnifera
Prairie Coneflower

Prairie Coneflower

Blooms: June - July
Prairie Coneflower photos and description
Prairie Onion
Allium textile
Blooms: June - July
Prairie Onion photos and description
White Cinquefoil
Potentilla arguta
White Cinquefoil

White Cinquefoil

Blooms: June - July
Foxtail Barley
Hordeum jubatum
Blooms: June - July
Canadian Milk-Vetch
Astragalus canadensis
Blooms: June - July
Showy Milkweed
Asclepias speciosa
Showy Milkweed

Showy Milkweed

Blooms: July
This somewhat coarse, robust plant, growing to as much as a meter in height, has many unique properties that make it stand out in the Native Plant Garden. The most notable is the white sticky sap contained in the stem and leaves that gives this group of plants their name, milkweed. The beautiful pink flowers although individually only about a centimeter in size, appear in umbrella shaped groups of five to eight centimeters in diameter. The flowers have a sweet fragrance and have the effect of making both insects and humans sleepy. On the other hand, one insect, the monarch butterfly selects the milkweed above all others for its caterpillars to feed on. The bitter taste imparted by the milkweed sap makes the milkweed caterpillar and butterfly very distasteful to birds and other predators so they leave them alone. The seeds of the milkweed are also quite unique. They are born in seven to ten centimeter long, oblong shaped pods resembling a fish in shape. If the papery pod is opened the fish resemblance of the material inside is even more pronounced as the flat round seeds and their filamentous appendages resemble the scales of a fish. When the seeds ripen and dry in the fall, the filamentous appendages form a little parachute for each seed so that it can be carried by the wind to a suitable location to germinate and grow. Milkweeds benefit from plenty of moisture and rich soil and in such cases can multiply quickly to form large clumps.
Showy Milkweed photos and description
Dwarf Milkweed
Asclepias ovalifolia
Blooms: July
Brittle Prickly-Pear Cactus Opuntia fragilisBlooms: JulyBrittle Pricky-Pear Cactis photos and description
Western Bergamot
Western Wild Bergamot

Western Wild Bergamot

Blooms: July
Western Bergamot photos and description
Meadow Blazing-Star
Liatris ligulistylis
Blooms: July
Meadow Blazing Star photos and description
Tufted Flea-bane
Erigeron caespitosus
Blooms: July
The fleabane family is a large family with many similar species all with flowers resembling their close cousins the asters and daisies. Fleabanes usually have more than fifty petals, actually known as florets, on each two to three centimeter flower head. Asters and daisies have fewer than 50 ray florets on each flower head. Each one of the florets is actually a complete flower in itself with a set of petals, stamens and corolla. The corolla has white or mauve coloured ray shaped florets around the outside of each flower and disc shaped florets in the yellow centre. The tufted fleabane usually grows no more than twelve inches tall with several stems growing from the taproot. Although we don’t know if fleabanes actually repel fleas, we do know that butterflies and bees are attracted to these flowers especially early in the season when there is a shortage of nectar bearing plants.
Tufted Flea-Bane photos and description
Late Yellow Loco-Weed
Oxytropis gracilis
Blooms: July - August
Rhombic-leaved Sunflower Helianthus laetiflorus
Rhombic-Leaved Sunflower

Rhombic-Leaved Sunflower

Blooms: July - August
Umbrellawort
Mirabilis hirsute
Blooms: July - August
Blue Gramma Grass Bouteloua gracilisBlooms: July - August
Closed Gentian
Gentiana andrewsii
Blooms: July - August
The gentians are said to have the most truly blue flowers of any plant. The closed gentian is named from the fact that the flowers, although a beautiful blue, usually remain closed in a tight tube rather than opening their petals to the sun. These 2 –3 centimeter flowers are born near the end of tough stems among smooth edged oblong shaped leaves. In the Native Plant Garden, the gentian plants don’t exceed 25 centimeters in height but often sprawl out to a width of 30 – 40 centimeters. The flowers are one of the later ones to appear in the garden in August and are often hidden by other taller plants, but the reward of finding them is well worth the trouble of looking. Gentians are not known to have any medicinal properties but are sometimes cultivated in floral gardens for their visual beauty. In the wild, the closed gentian grows up from its root each year, (perennial), in its favored habitat along the edges of woods and streams.
Closed Gentian photos and description
Black-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia serotina
Blooms: July - August
Black-eyed Susan photos and description
Dotted Blazing Star Liatris punctataBlooms: July - August
Colorado rubberweed
Hymenoxys richardsonii
Blooms: July - August
Colorado Rubberweed photos & description
Yellow Flax
Linum rigidum
Blooms: July - August
Yellow Flax photos and description
Purple Prairie- Clover
Petalostemon purpurium
Blooms: July - August
White Prairie- Clover
Petalostemon candidum
Blooms: July - August
Prairie Rose
Rosa arkansana
Blooms: July - August
Prairie rose photos and description
Lindley’s Aster
Aster ciliotus
Lindley's Aster

Lindley's Aster

Blooms: August
Strawberry Blite
Chenopodium capitatum
Blooms: August
Stiff Goldenrod
Solidago rigida
Stiff Goldenrod

Stiff Goldenrod

Blooms: August
Stiff Goldenrod photos and description
Many-flowered Aster
Aster pansus
Blooms: August
Prairie Sage
Artemisia ludoviciana
Blooms: August
When one sees a plant with whitish, often woolly leaves and stems on the prairies, there is a good chance the plant is some kind of Artemisia or sage. The prairie sage usually branches from close to ground then growing up to 15 centimeters to a meter in height. The leaves are broader and longer than its close relative, pasture sage, Artemisia frigida which can also be found in the Native Prairie Garden. The prairie sage leaves grow to be one to seven centimeters in length and are more woolly on the under surface than on the top of the leaf. The tiny brown flowers grow in dense spikes from the axils of leaves and can cause hay fever in some people. Like most members of the Artimesia family, the plants have a strong aromatic smell. This plant has many medicinal properties most notable being its ability to repel insects when the leaves are crushed and rubbed on the skin.
Pasture Sage
Artemisia frigida
Blooms: August
Wild Licorice
Glycyrrhiza lepidota
Blooms: August
Wild Licorice photos and description
Prairie Buttercup, (Ranuculus rhomboideus)Blooms: May
The buttercup family is large with many species and subspecies that are at times hard to tell apart. The prairie buttercup and its closely related cousin, shining-leaved buttercup both bloom in early May and are some of the first flowers to bloom each spring in the Native Plant Garden. Both plants are low growing, seldom exceeding 15 centimeters in height and have dark green, rounded or oval shaped leaves that are two to three centimeter in diameter and without stalks at the base. There are also unstalked, deeply clefted leaves growing further up the stalk. The individual yellow, (often with a touch of lavender), flowers, each having five somewhat widely spaced petals, are ten to twenty millimeters across. Each flower has a green center that makes up the globe shaped seed head consisting of a number of round seed capsules, each with a beak. The flowers are relatively numerous on each plant but this plant is relatively inconspicuous and many people miss it.
Prairie Buttercup photos and description
Goat's Beard
Tragopogon dubius
Goat's Beard Seed Head

Goat's Beard Seed Head

Blooms: July
Goat's Beard photos and description

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