Alphabetical Plant Listing

Native Plants / South Dakota


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South Dakota

South Dakota Native Plants

A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region or ecosystem without human introduction. There are many benefits in growing native plants. First, these plants are better adapted to soils, moisture and weather than exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world. They need less fertilizers, pesticides or use less water. Second, they are unlikely to escape and become invasive, destroying natural habitat. Third, they support wildlife, providing shelter and food for native birds and insects, while exotic plants do not.


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Abronia fragrans (Fragrant Sand Verbena)

Sweetly fragrant, Abronia fragrans (Fragrant Sand Verbena) is an upright or sprawling herbaceous perennial adorned with showy snowballs, 3 in. across (7 cm), packed with 25-70 funnel-shaped flowers. Blooming from spring through early fall, the vanilla scented flowers are usually white, but are sometimes green, lavender or pink.

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Acer negundo (Box Elder)

Hardy and fast-growing, Acer negundo (Box Elder) is a suckering, vigorous, deciduous tree of upright habit with an irregular rounded canopy of widely spreading branches. The opposite, pinnately compound, light green leaves are composed of 3-7 leaflets, 6-15 in. long (15-37 cm), which turn a dull yellow in the fall.

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Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple)

Noted for its spectacular fall color, Acer saccharum (Sugar Maple) is a large, deciduous tree with a straight trunk, wide-spreading branches and a dense, oval to rounded crown. Its foliage of five-lobed leaves, 3-6 in. (7-15 cm) ranges from medium to dark green in summer, and changes to a brilliant palette of yellows, oranges, and reds in the fall.

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Achillea millefolium (White Yarrow)

Achillea millefolium (White Yarrow) is a graceful perennial wildflower which produces an abundance of huge, flat clusters, 5 in. across (12 cm), packed with 20-25 creamy-white flowers.

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Acorus calamus (Sweet Flag)

Ideal for wet areas, Acorus calamus (Sweet Flag) is a spreading, marginal aquatic perennial forming a tuft of erect, sword-shaped, bright green leaves adorned with one slightly wavy edge and a prominent midrib. In late spring, this plant bears inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers in finger-like inflorescences, 2-4 in. long (5-10 cm), which give way to tiny, reddish berries. Both the crushed foliage and rootstocks have a pleasant aromatic fragrance. A great choice for naturalizing, Sweet Flag is quite versatile in the garden and makes a decorative foliage accent in water gardens and around ponds.

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Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry)

Perfect for shade gardens, Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry) is herbaceous perennial forming bushy clumps of finely divided, bright green foliage, enhanced by clusters of small fluffy white flowers in late spring and early summer. Borne on conspicuous red stems which rise above the foliage, they give way to pea-sized glossy scarlet berries in summer.

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Adiantum capillus-veneris (Southern Maidenhair Fern)

Adiantum capillus-veneris (Southern Maidenhair Fern) is a slowly spreading, semi-evergreen fern forming a mound of gently arching or pendant, twice divided, delicate fronds adorned with wiry, black stems.

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Adiantum pedatum (Northern Maidenhair Fern)

One of the most sought-after ferns, Adiantum pedatum (Northern Maidenhair Fern) is a deciduous perennial fern with handsome, black shiny stems and graceful, bright green fronds spreading horizontally in a circular pattern.

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Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop)

Agastache foeniculum (Anise Hyssop) is an upright, clump-forming perennial with attractive spikes of small, tubular, lavender to purple flowers from early summer to early fall. Adding lovely vertical lines to the landscape, they are attractive to bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects.

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Agastache nepetoides (Yellow Giant Hyssop)

An exclamation mark in the landscape throughout the winter, Agastache nepetoides (Yellow Giant Hyssop) is a tall herbaceous perennial boasting vertical spikes, 4-16 in. long (10-40 cm), packed with tiny, pale yellow flowers. Blooming for about 1-2 months in mid summer to fall, they are borne atop stiff, square stems and attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial pollinators.

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Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot)

Ageratina altissima (White Snakeroot) is a clump-forming, spreading, herbaceous perennial boasting flat-topped clusters of small, fluffy, bright white flowers in summer and fall.

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Allium cernuum (Lady's Leek)

Native to North America, Allium cernuum is a lovely summer flowering bulb with loose, nodding umbels of tiny bell-shaped, pink to lilac or even white flowers. Each erect stem produces up to 30 flowers!

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Allium stellatum (Prairie Onion)

Allium stellatum (Prairie Onion) is a bulbous perennial forming a very compact clump of flat, slender, grass-like green leaves, 12 in. long (30 cm). In midsummer to early fall, profuse, rounded umbels, 3-4 in. across (7-10 cm), tightly packed with rose-pink to lavender flowers are borne atop leafless stems just above the foliage.

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Amelanchier alnifolia (Serviceberry)

Domesticated for fruit production, Amelanchier alnifolia (Serviceberry) is a deciduous, upright, suckering shrub with four seasons of interest. In mid spring, compact clusters of fragrant, white flowers emerge just before the leaves.

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Amelanchier stolonifera (Running Serviceberry)

Providing multi-season interest, Amelanchier stolonifera (Running Serviceberry) is a deciduous, early-flowering, stoloniferous shrub boasting showy upright clusters of 5-petaled, white flowers in spring, as the leaves are expanding. Attractive to bees and other pollinators, they are followed by abundant, edible, dark purple berries in summer. Resembling blueberries, they are often used in pies and are appreciated by both birds and humans.

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