The Plants

        Lakeside Park West Native Plant Garden

(Information from Prairie Nursery, Missouri Botanical Garden and other sources)



1.       Hypericum kalmianum  -  Shrubby St. John’s wort

  This compact, easy-to-grow shrub forms nice masses and should be placed where the bright yellow flowers show to full advantage. The flowers bloom for about 6 weeks and have a showy tuft of yellow  stamens. Butterflies, bumblebees, and other pollinators love the nectarThe semi-evergreen leaves are dark blue-green all season and last into late fall. This shrub is a good source for nectar.


2 .      Black Chokeberry  -  Aronia melanocarpa

        Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants have a wide range of soil tolerance including boggy soils. Best fruit production usually occurs in full sun. Remove root suckers to prevent colonial spread.


3.     Prairie Dropseed – Sporobolus heterolepis

        Has emerald-green leaves in the spring and golden seeds in the fall. The Plains  

        Indians ground the seed for flour. Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates wide range of soils, including heavy clays. Prefers dry, rocky soils. Good drought tolerance. Slow-growing and slow to establish. May be grown from seed but does not freely self-seed in the garden. Fine-textured, hair-like, medium green leaves (to 20" long and 1/16" wide) typically form an arching foliage mound to 15" tall and 18" wide. Foliage turns golden with orange hues in fall, fading to light bronze in winter. Open, branching flower panicles appear on slender stems which rise well above the foliage clump in late summer to 30-36" tall. Flowers have pink and brown tints, but are perhaps most noted for their unique fragrance (hints of coriander). Tiny rounded mature seeds drop to the ground from their hulls in autumn giving rise to the descriptive common name. Ground cover for hot, dry areas. Prairies, meadows, native plant gardens, wild areas or slopes. Also effective in large rock gardens. Accent for foundation plantings or borders.

4.     Little Bluestem – Andropogon scoparium

        The blue-green foliage provides a backdrop for flowers in summer and then turns   crimson in fall. Erosion control: Little bluestem has moderate drought tolerance and broad adaptation to diverse sites. It can form mats from short rhizomes on wetter sites although this species is usually thought of as a bunchgrass (clumps) on dry, upland sites. It is deep-rooted, and somewhat slow to establish from seed. Landscaping: Little bluestem is becoming more popular for home landscaping because it is a colorful and easy- care addition.

Forbs:  (flowers)

5.      Red milkweed – Asclepias incarnate

        Red Milkweed attracts butterflies of all kinds and the leaves are a preferred food  

source for the Monarch Caterpillar. Asclepias incarnata thrives along ponds, streams and detention basins. It preferes moist soil but also does wel in average, well-drained garden sites. Full sun is best and some light shade is tolerated. No butterfly garden is complete without Red Milkweed, also known as Swamp Milkweed or Marsh Milkweed. (Prairie Nursery)

6.    Butterflyweed – Asclepias tuberosa

        It is commonly known as Butterfly Weed because of the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its copious production of nectar. It is also the larval food plant of the Queen and Monarch butterflies. Hummingbirds, bees  other insects are also attracted.

7.     Rough blazingstar – Liatris aspera

Rough blazing star is an upright, clump-forming, Missouri native perennial which typically grows 2-3' tall (less frequently to 5') and which commonly occurs in dryish soils on prairies, open woods, glades, meadows and along roads and railroad tracks. Features rounded, fluffy, deep rose-purple flower heads (each 3/4" across) which are crowded into long, terminal flower spikes atop erect, rigid, leafy flower stalks. Stalks arise from basal tufts of rough, very narrow, lance-shaped leaves (to 12" long). Flowers open somewhat at the same time, which makes this species a particularly good fresh cut flower for floral arrangements. Blooms later (late summer to fall) than most other Liatris species. Liatris belongs to the aster family, with each flower head having only fluffy disk flowers (resembling "blazing stars") and no rays. This species is distinguished from other Liatris species by its rough appearance (aspera meaning rough in Latin) and rounded, outflaring involucral bracts.

8.    Gayfeather – Liatris pycnostachya

Some species are used as ornamental plants, sometimes in flower bouquets.They are perennials, surviving the winter in the form of corms. Liatris species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the flower moths Schinia gloriosa and Schinia sanguinea, both of which feed exclusively on the genus, and Schinia tertia and Schinia trifascia.

9.      Foxglove beardtongue – Penstemon digitalis

Features white, two-lipped, tubular flowers (to 1.25" long) borne in panicles atop erect, rigid stems. Flowers bloom mid-spring to early summer. Basal leaves are elliptic and stem leaves are lance-shaped to oblong. Penstemon in Greek means five stamens (four are fertile and one is sterile). Penstemon is sometimes commonly called beard tongue because the sterile stamen has a tuft of small hairs.

10.    Prairie phlox – Phlox pilosa

        Phlox pilosa, commonly known as prairie phlox or downy phlox, is native from Connecticut to Ontario and Manitoba south to Louisiana and Florida. In Missouri, it is typically found in rocky or dry open woods, valleys, thickets, meadows, prairies and glades (Steyermark) throughout most of the State. This is an upright perennial that grows in a clump to 12-16" (less frequently to 24") tall on stiff stems clad with opposite, widely-spaced, sharp pointed, linear to linear-lanceolate, stalkless, deep green leaves (each to 4" long and 3/4" wide) with prominent central veins. Leaves are often finely pubescent. Fragrant, tubular, pink to pale purple flowers (to 3/4” diameter) are loosely packed in rounded terminal clusters (cymes). Flowers bloom from May to July with a possible sparse rebloom in fall. Each individual flower has a long corolla tube and five flat petal-like lobes which lack notches. Stems, leaves and corolla tubes are often covered with soft white hairs, hence the specific epithet of pilosa means soft hairy and the sometimes used common name of downy phlox. Butterflies love the flowers. USDA currently lists nine different subspecies for this plant (deamii, detonsa, fulgida, latisepala, ozarkana, pilosa, pulcherima, riparia and sangamonensis). The genus name of Phlox is derived from the Greek word for flame.

11.     Prairie cinquefoil – Potentilla arguta

        The inflorescence occurs as a tight cluster of the flowers at the apex of the plant, sometimes with smaller side clusters. A flower has 5 white petals, 5 light green sepals, 20 or more golden stamens, and a small golden reproductive structure in the center. It is about ¾" across and resembles the flower of a strawberry plant. There is no floral scent. The blooming period occurs during mid-summer and lasts about a month – only a few flowers are open at the same time. The small seeds are distributed to some extent by the wind. The root system consists of a central taproot, and there are rhizomes that help to spread the plant, although it is not particularly aggressive.

12.      Mountain mint – Pycnanthemum virginianum

        Mountain Mint attracts many insects to its flowers, including various bees, wasps, flies, small butterflies and beetles. The leaves are very fragrant; when crushed they have a strong minty odor. The flowers will be white to shades of light purple, some with purple spots.

Pycnanthemum means "densely flowered," an attribute that enables Mountain Mint to accommodate many pollinators at once.  The long bloom time, a month or more in July and August, is another reason Mountain Mint is a great choice for those interested in feeding pollinators.  The light green foliage of all Mountain Mint species is visually pleasing, too, making it a nice garden choice even when not flowering.

13.     Black-eyed susan – Rudbeckia hirta

        Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is a hallmark of prairies and meadows with an extravagant floral display! A biennial, it is easy to grow from seed. Transplants bloom the year they are planted, and will self-sow onto open soil. Butterflies are frequent visitors to this bright sunny wildflower.

14.     Showy goldenrod – Solidago speciosa

The sculpted flower spikes of Showy Goldenrod create a spectacular show. The foot long golden wands add a distinctive flourish to the autumnal prairie landscape. Solidago speciosa blooms August – September and is an important late season nectar source for butterflies and other pollinators.

15.     Riddell’s goldenrod – Solidago ridellii

Riddell's Goldenrod is an erect native perennial forb growing 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 feet high on smooth thick unbranched stems. The leaves are alternate, narrowly lance-like with smooth edges and pointed tips. The lower leaves are long (10x as long as wide), tapering to a winged stem. The upper leaves become stalkless to actually sheathing the stem. All leaves are usually folded along the midrib (forming a 'V-shaped' cross section). The longer basal leaves and many of the stem leaves are usually recurved. Lower leaves may have whithered by flowering time. The inflorescence is a flat-topped branched cluster composed of smaller cymes with the cluster stems and flower stalks frequently with fine hair. Depending on the robustness of the plant there may be 30 to over 400 flower heads. Flowers: Flowers are very small, like most goldenrods, and of two types: An outer ring of 7 to 9 yellow ray florets which are pistillate and fertile. These surround 6 to 10 disc florets which have tube shaped yellow corollas with 5 pointed lips that flare outward and reflex when in flower. The disc florets are bisexual and fertile. The flower head is enclosed with 3 to 4 series of phyllaries that are of unequal length, broad with rounded tips and without hair

16.    Spiderwort – Tradescantia ohiensis

This species of spiderwort is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial which grows up to 3' tall with dark bluish-green, arching, grass-like leaves up to 1.5' long and 1.75" wide which are folded lengthwise forming a channel or groove. Clusters of blue (less frequently rose), three-petaled flowers (0.75-1.5" diameter) bloom from late May into early July. Each flower opens up for only one day. Can self-seed and become somewhat aggressive in ideal growing conditions.

17.     Leadplant – Amorpha canescens

This pea/bean family member is a somewhat ungainly, deciduous shrub growing 1-3' tall and featuring slender, dense, 4-8" spike-like clusters of tiny, bluish-purple flowers with gold anthers which bloom in May-June. Amorpha also features alternate, pinnately compound leaves with grayish green leaflets and densely hairy twigs. The genus Amorpha is often called false indigo because of its resemblance to plants of the genus Indigofera. Common name of lead plant refers to the once held belief that the plant was an indicator of the presence of lead in the ground.

18.      Wild white indigo – Baptisia leucantha

This 2-4 ft., mound-shaped perennial holds its white, pea-like flowers in erect clusters. Velvety, trifoliate leaves turn from bluish-gray to black in the fall. A bushy perennial with smooth leaves and white or cream-colored pea flowers in stiffly erect clusters; stem covered with whitish bloom. Clusters of large, black seedpods often remain attached to the naked winter stems.

19.      New Jersey tea – Ceonothus americanus

New Jersey tea is a compact, dense, rounded shrub which typically grows 2-3' tall (less frequently to 4'). Cylindrical clusters (1-2" long) of tiny, fragrant, white flowers (1/8") appear on long stalks at the stem ends or upper leaf axils in late spring. Toothed, broad-ovate, medium to dark green leaves (to 4" long) are gray and hairy below. Young twigs are noticeably yellow and stand out in winter. Dried leaves were used as a tea substitute, albeit without caffeine, in American Revolutionary War times, hence the common name.

20.     Purple prairie clover – Petalostemum purpureum

        The flowers attract many kinds of insects, including long-tongued bees, short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, small butterflies, skippers, beetles, and plant bugs. The Plasterer bees Colletes albescens and Colletes robertsonii are oligoleges of this plant. Other bee visitors include honeybees, bumblebees, Cuckoo bees, Miner bees, Leaf-Cutting bees, Green Metallic bees, and other Halictine bees. The caterpillars of the butterfly Colias cesonia (Southern Dogface) are sometimes found on the leaves, but this species often fails to overwinter successfully in Illinois. Bean Weevils (Acanthoscelides spp.) sometimes infest the seeds, while a treehopper (Vanduzea triguttata) feeds on the foliage. Purple Prairie Clover is palatable and high in protein, therefore mammalian herbivores of all kinds eat this plant readily. It can be difficult to establish in some areas if there is an abundance of these animals. It is possible that small rodents carry the seeds to their dens, which may aid in the distribution of this plant.

21.    Culver’s root – Veronicastrum virginiatum

The most common visitors to the flowers are long-tongued and short-tongued bees, which collect pollen or suck nectar. This includes honeybees, bumblebees, Mason bees, Green Metallic bees, Masked bees, and others. Other kinds of insect visitors include Sphecid wasps, butterflies, moths, and Syrphid flies. The latter include species that feed on pollen only and are non-pollinating. Culver's Root doesn't appear to be bothered by leaf-chewing insects or mammalian herbivores to the same extent as other plants. The seeds are too tiny to be of much interest to birds.