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For Your Garden - August 2021

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.

red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Photo © John Hilty

Red-osier dogwood grows in marshes, calcareous fens and along shorelines. It may be found statewide, but it is much more common in the northern one-half of the state than anywhere else in Illinois. It is a shrub that can attain a height of three to nine feet. It has red twigs that can add color to a garden in winter. Flat clusters of white flowers are borne at the tip of the stems and are produced from May through September. Its fruits are one-seeded, white berries. The flowers provide nectar and pollen for pollinators. The fruits are eaten by a variety of wildlife species, especially birds.

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: Cornales
Family: Cornaceae

Illinois Status: common, native