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For Your Garden - January 2011

Native plants provide not only beauty but food and shelter for wildlife. Are you using native plants in your yard and garden? Native species are adapted to the Illinois climate. They require little or no watering and are resistant to drought, insects and most diseases. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year.

swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor)

Swamp white oak grows throughout Illinois. It thrives in soil that is poorly drained as well as in soil that is dry. The tree may reach 100 feet in height. Leaves are up to six inches long and four inches wide. The leaves have rounded teeth and shallow lobes. Leaves turn yellow/brown in the fall. The tiny flowers do not have petals. Male flowers develop in drooping clusters. Female flowers are in bunches of two to four. Acorns are one to one and one half inches long and provide food for wildlife. The wood of this tree is very strong.

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: Fagales
Family: Fagaceae

Illinois Status: common, native