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For Your Garden - October 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.

purple sneezeweed (Helenium flexuosum)
Photo © John Hilty

Purple sneezeweed can be found commonly in southern Illinois. It is present in central and northern Illinois, but the occurrence decreases greatly in those areas. It grows in fields, ditches, wet prairies, pastures and other locations where the soil is moist and somewhat acidic. This member of the aster family may grow to three feet in height. Flower heads are produced at the stem tip from June through September. Each flower head has a brown-purple center of disk flowers surrounded by 8-14 yellow ray flowers. The flowers provide nectar and pollen to a variety of insects. 

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
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae

Illinois Status: common, native