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For Your Garden - March 2018

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.

wild lupine (Lupinus perennis)
Photo © John Hilty

Wild lupine is also known as old maid’s bonnet or sundial plant. This species may be found in the northern one-fourth of Illinois growing in dry or moist sandy soil, open woods and clearings. This perennial herb has leaves in an alternate arrangement along the stem. The palmately compound leaves have seven to nine leaflets. Leaves follow the sun’s path during the day and fold together at night. Flowers are produced from May through June. Blue, purple, pink or white flowers are borne on long spikes. The fruit is a fuzzy pod that is constricted between the seeds. Wild lupine may attain a height of one to two feet.

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: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae

Illinois Status: common, native