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For Your Garden - January 2020

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 wild rye (Elymus canadensis)
Photo © John Hilty

Nodding wild rye is a perennial herb. Its smooth, upright stems grow to six feet tall. Its leaves are long and may be one inch wide. Flowers are arranged in dense spikes that are usually curved or nodding down when mature. Nodding wild rye grows in many habitats, including beaches, roadsides, dry prairies and woods. This plant flowers from June through September. It provides food for several animal 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: Cyperales
Family: Poaceae

Illinois Status: common, native