Ruellia humilis – Wild Petunia
Ruellia humilis – Wild Petunia

Host plant – Common Buckeye Butterfly

Wild petunia occurs in dryish soils in open woods, glades, prairies and fields throughout the State except for the far southeastern lowlands. Typically grows to 2′ tall. Features tubular, bell-shaped, petunia-like flowers (to 3″ long), each with five shallow rounded lobes. May to October bloom period. Lavender to lilac flowers appear singly or in clusters in the upper leaf axils. Oblong to lanceolate, olive green leaves to 4″ long. Leaves and stems are hairy. This plant in on threatened list in the state of Michigan.

Available for shipping mid May

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Salix humilis – Prairie Willow
Salix humilis – Prairie Willow

This shrub is 2-8′ tall, often branching near the base and toward the tips of older stems. Woody stems are terete and variably colored – usually some shade of yellowish tan, brown, or gray. Young woody stems are often short-pubescent, but they become glabrous with age. New shoots are light green and short-pubescent. Alternate leaves occur along young stems and shoots. The leaf blades are 1¾-4″ long and ¼-¾” across; they are narrowly lanceolate, oblanceolate, or oblong-elliptic in shape and smooth to slightly crenate along their margins. The margins are often revolute (curved downward) as well. The upper surface of the leaf blades is medium green or grayish green and glabrous to sparsely short-pubescent, while the lower surface (for this variety of Prairie Willow) is short-pubescent and sometimes whitened. The petioles are ¼-½” in length and short-pubescent. At the base of the petioles, lanceolate stipules are sometimes found.

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Spiraea tomentosa – Steeplebush
Spiraea tomentosa – Steeplebush

Pink spikes of flowers mid to late summer make Steeplebush a popular species.  It grows best in moist acidic soils in full sun.  Slow rhizomatous roots help this beautiful plant to spread.

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Zizia aurea – Golden Alexanders
Zizia aurea – Golden Alexanders

Zizia aurea is one of those natives that every garden should have. It is fairly easy to grow and, although short-lived, will self-seed and persist in many sun/soil situations. Zizia is an important plant to a number of short-tongued insects that are able to easily reach the nectar in the small yellow flowers. Black Swallowtail caterpillars will feed on its leaves.

Golden Alexanders have a long bloom time, giving the garden/prairie some well-deserved early color for several weeks in late spring to early summer when many other plants have not yet flowered.  Also called Golden Zizia, Golden Alexanders will tolerate a lot of shade but prefer full sun or light shade.

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