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For Your Garden - December 2017

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.

nodding onion (Allium cernuum)
Photo © 2002, Peter M. Dziuk, 

Nodding onion grows in northeastern Illinois in wooded areas and slopes that are moist. It prefers rocky, sandy or black soil substrates. A plant may reach one to one and one-half feet tall. Leaves and stems arise from an underground bulb. These basal leaves are long and narrow. The stems are leafless. Flowers are produced from July through September. The top of the flower stem is bent downward, and the flowers droop or nod toward the ground. Flower color may be pink, lavender or white. The flowers support a variety of bee pollinator species.

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: Liliopsida
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae

Illinois Status: common, native