Blogs & Videos: Flowering Plants

Close-up of an orange and black butterfly perched on a group of small, unopened flowers

How Milkweeds Can Save Monarch Butterflies And Beautify Your Garden

Did you know milkweeds aren’t really weeds at all? In fact, they’re native plants with large pink, orange, or white flowers. In addition to their charm, plants in the genus Asclepias are the host plants for the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), meaning they are the only food for the monarch larvae, or caterpillars. Without milkweeds, the monarch butterfly has no chance for survival.

Three different kinds of flowers: small, bright orange flowers; bright pink flowers with a yellow butterfly perched on top; and a light pink flower with a bumblebee on it

Roll Up Your Sleeves: How to Grow Native Plants in Your Garden

If you’re gearing up to add native plants to your yard this spring, then congratulations! You’ll make your space more beautiful, with the added bonus of being hospitable to the butterflies and other pollinators (like bees, beetles, and birds) around you.  Before you start (literally) digging in, take a moment to plan the layout of the garden (or a small strip of land along a fence—the pollinators will appreciate that as well). While doing this, take the following into consideration:

A bright orange and black butterfly on a purple flower with yellow center

Every Flower Counts: Five Reasons to Add Native Plants to Your Garden

Chicagoland used to be a vast prairie buzzing with life and supporting thousands of species of insects, birds, and other animals. As the area was developed and farmed, the landscape became fragmented, leading to the demise of many animal and plant populations. A recent—and very much publicized—effect has been the decline of the monarch butterfly, an insect that migrates annually from Mexico to Canada, spending a lot of time in the Midwest along the way.

Campaigning for CHANGE! Don't be Shallow - Vote for Mallow

In our last video we got to see one of the rarest flowers in the world blooming in its habitat for the first time in over a decade. It's the Kankakee mallow (Iliamna remota), under threat of extirpation and completely unique to Illinois... and we want to make it the official state flower! Field outreach coordinator Robb Telfer kicked off the campaign and we're TAKIN' IT TO THE STREETS. It's an election year, after all. 

This flower only grows in the wild on a single tiny island... in Illinois.

The Kankakee Mallow (Iliamna remota) is a special little flower. The only place in the world it's found in the wild is on a single small island in the middle of the Kankakee River in Illinois - but until last year, it hadn't been seen in over a decade, and was feared to be extinct. Thanks to volunteer efforts, we got to be some of the first to see it back in bloom!

Group of people posing next to river

Hitting the Pavement to Save Endangered Plants

What if a rare plant is living right in your backyard? Well, it just might be. But how do you find out it’s there, and what can you do with that information? Right now, some local endangered plant species are making a surprise comeback. They grow in the Calumet region, which includes the southern part of Chicago and northern Indiana. Two kinds of sedge, a grass-like flowering plant, recently set down roots on a field of slag. This hard material comes from making steel and is usually seen as toxic to nature.  

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