Prairie Plants

Showing 9–12 of 92 results

  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Bearberry, Bear’s grape, Kinnikinnick Z 2-6

    Dwarf ornamental shrub



    “Dwarf ornamental shrub, ornamental in foliage, flowers and berry.”  Rand 1866.    In spring fragrant, pinkish-white bell-shaped flowers, evergreen, glossy foliage and Marlboro red berries in fall.   Great for cascading over edge of wall or groundcover.

    Size: 4” x 20” forms dense groundcover over time. Stems root to spread.
    Care: sun to part shade in moist well-drained to dry, acidic soil. Needs watering until established. Best grown with protection from wind.
    Native: No. America, Wisconsin native
    Awards: Cary Award Distinctive Plants for New England Kinnikinnick is Algonquin meaning “mixture.” Used as an ingredient in Native American smoke mixtures. For centuries leaves used to make medicinal tea as a tonic and diuretic in many parts of the world. Cheyenne drank the tea to cure back sprains. Some Native Americans used it to cure venereal disease, others to cure pimples and itching, peeling skin. Both Indians and colonists mixed leaves with tobacco for smoking. Collected by Meriwether Lewis on the Expedition.

  • Artemisia frigida Prairie sagewort, Silky wormwood, Z 3-10

    Erect stems bear silvery-white, finely-divided foliage. Leaves smell like camphor. Small yellow flowers bloom in summer. 




    Erect stems bear silvery-white, finely-divided foliage. Leaves smell like camphor. Small yellow flowers bloom in summer. 

    Size: 6-18” x 12-18”
    Care: sun in well-drained soil
    Native: all North America except the SE, CA and OR, Wisconsin native
    Wildlife Value: deer resistant, source of nesting material for native bees, food for caterpillars of several butterflies & moths
    Awards: Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit
    Size: Native Americans used this Artemisia to preserve meat, feed horses, repel insects, to remedy toothache, headache, coughing, lung ailments, heartburn, and colds. Indians in Great Basin used it in ceremonies .Chippewa made a decoction of root for convulsions.

    Meriwether Lewis collected this in early September 1804  along the Missouri River in South Dakota on October 3 1804.

  • Artemisia ludoviciana Silver sage, Wormwood Z 4-9

    Grown for its silver-grey foliage



    Artemisia ludoviciana Silver sage, Wormwood    Z 4-9
    Grown for its silver-grey foliage in the garden & dried in arrangements

    Size: 3’ x 2’ and spreading
    Care: sun in well-drained soil
    Native: Colorado south to Texas, west to California.

    Blackfoot cleaned themselves with this as part of religious rituals.  California’s Shasta Indians prepared dead bodies to be buried with the leaves.  HoChunk made a smudge to revive the unconscious.  Cahuilla Indians made baskets and roofs and walls of their homes with the stems.  First collected for gardens by Thomas Nuttall in early 1800’s.  Artemisia named for the wife of Mausolus, king of Caria, who began using another Artemisia. Miller 1768.

  • Asclepias incarnata Swamp milkweed Z 3-9

    pink umbels, like an upside down ballerina’s skirt



    Asclepias incarnata Swamp milkweed     Z 3-9
    Fragrant medium pink umbels, like an upside down ballerina’s skirt, July – September.

    Size: 3’-4’ x 2-3’
    Care: Sun in moist to moist well-drained soil, deer resistant
    Native: North America – all states (except along the Pacific coast) & eastern half of Canada, Wisconsin native
    Wildlife Value: host for Monarch caterpillars, flowers are source of nectar for several butterflies

    Named after Asclepias, a Greek god of medicine. Native American groups used Swamp milkweed – Chippewa to increase their strength & the stems made into twine; Iroquois to heal navels in babies, to increase or decrease urine and to make a person strong enough to punish witches; Meskwaki to drive out tapeworms; and Menominee used it as an ingredient in food – added to deer soup & cornmeal mush. Listed as growing in England in Miller’s Gardeners’ Dictionary, 1768. Pressed specimen in Emily Dickinson’s herbarium.