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People who go looking for beauty in the woodlands of central Illinois tend to get excited about the months of April and May, when showy beauties like Virginia bluebells carpet the woodland floor. But if you wait until April to get out, you may already be a month late for the emergence of the…

The use of native plants in landscape design is a growing trend as gardeners and landscapers learn more about sustainability and the important ecological role native plants provide in the environment. But though the concept may finally be gaining momentum, it is not new to landscaping.

There is a growing body of research supporting the use of native plants in landscaping to preserve local biodiversity and sustain native wildlife populations. Currently, much of our urban plant composition is not composed of native species, based on a historical preference for non-native, ex…

Staff writer Paul Wood chats with the retired UI Geography Department staff cartographer and lecturer and latest winner of the Illinois Arts Legacy Award. He's had a long relationship with Japan House, whose gardens he designed, donated, and constructed and continues to maintain.

Partridge pea, an annual native plant that frequents prairies, has special nectar glands outside its flowers that attract ants, which defend it against leaf herbivores and seed predators through aggressive, defensive behavior or by removing herbivore eggs directly from the plant.