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For Your Garden - February 2014

Have you been meaning to add a few native plants to your garden? Native plants provide beauty as well as food and shelter for wildlife. 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.

prairie avens (Geum triflorum)
Photo © 2014, River Valley Photographic Resources, Ltd.,

Prairie avens, also known as prairie smoke, grows naturally in the northern one-sixth of Illinois in dry prairies. This plant of the rose family blooms in May and June. Each stem has three to six drooping flowers that are individually stalked. The flower has five red-purple sepals alternating with thin bracts. The five, small petals are white to purple-pink in color. The name "prairie smoke" derives from the long, wispy plumes on the seed pods, giving the plant a smoky look. The plant rarely grows more than one foot tall.

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: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae

Illinois Status: common, native