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For Your Garden - April 2010

Spring is here! Native spring wildflowers are in bloom! Are you using native wildflowers in your landscaping? Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and disease. They also provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Their brilliantly colored blossoms and interesting shapes will make your landscape a showplace. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.

Jacob’s-ladder (Polemonium reptans)
Photo © 2009, River Valley Photographic Resources, Ltd.,

Jacob’s-ladder grows throughout Illinois, mainly in prairies and woodlands. Its smooth stems are upright or spreading and may grow to nearly one foot tall. The plant has pinnately compound leaves, with from three to 13 leaflets. Flowering occurs from April through June. The flowers are pale blue and have five petals. Flowers are clustered at the tip of a stem. The fruit is a capsule that usually contains three seeds.

Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.

Illinois Range

Native Plant Information

For more information about Illinois native plants, visit our Native Habitat Descriptions, Requirements, and Plant Lists page. The following publications are available from the IDNR on our publications page.


​Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Solanales
Family: Polemoniaceae

Illinois Status: common, native