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For Your Garden - February 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.

heath aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)
Photo © John Hilty

Heath aster grows in prairies, pastures and old fields throughout the state. Its leaves are short, thin (less than one-fourth inch wide) and numerous. Flowers are produced from July through October. These white flowers are packed in clusters at the tip of the stems. The flowers sometimes have a pink tinge. This species may grow from one to three feet tall.

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: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae

Illinois Status: common, native