Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Website Wed: Illinois Wildflowers

Missouri Evening Primrose is pollinated by Sphinx moths. AMcC
I use lots of references for my blog posts; books of course, and websites. The websites have some advantages:
  • I don't have to buy any bookshelves for them.
  • They aren't heavy.
  • They don't pile up on my desk.
  • In most cases, they're free.
One of my favorite reference websites, and the subject of this week's "Website Wednesday," is Illinois Wildflowers. True, I don't live in Illinois, but I'm only about a 20 min. drive away and our states share most plants. Written by Dr. John Hilty the home page offers categories or chapters, including, wildflowers of Prairie, Savannah and Thicket, Wetland, and Woodland. If you're not sure which category the plant fits into, scroll to the bottom of the page and use the "custom Google search" to go through the whole site. 
Once you've chosen a category, you'll see an alphabetical list of scientific names, each with an common name. Click on your plant of choice and you see a full-page article. Not only is there a color photo and written description, but he gives advice for growing the plant in a garden. Click on the hyperlink "Distribution Map" and a map of Illinois pops up, with shading on the counties in which the plant is found. My favorite part is "Faunal Association." Hilty lists the birds, mammals, and insects that use the plant for food. If you like to see butterflies in your garden, this is really helpful for finding plants that caterpillars love! 


  1. I use this website a lot also.

    I still think MissouriPlants by the late Dan Tenaglia is among the best state-level botanical sites around. Kudos to his wife for keeping it alive for us to use.

  2. I use MissouriPlants also and the search function is hard to beat. That site will be the subject of a later "Website Wednesday." Thanks for mentioning the site here and for telling the story on your site.