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For Your Garden - May 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.

purple spring cress (Cardamine douglassii)
Photo © 2021, River Valley Photographic Resources Ltd.,

Purple spring cress grows in low woodlands in the northern two-thirds of Illinois plus Johnson County. Each basal leaf is on a long stalk, and the stem leaves are attached directly to the stem with no stalk. Flowers are produced in April and May. The flowers are in a cluster at the stem tip. Flowers are pink or purple. A single plant may be four to 12 inches 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 native Illinois plants, including where to purchase them and planting guides, view the following publications at our publications page. You can access more information on the Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant page, too.


​Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Caryophyllales

Family: Portulacaceae

Illinois Status: common, native