Nebraska is located on the Central Great Plains and is a heavily agricultural state with natural open meadows filled with native plants growing in the same place they have for generations. Recreate the feeling of the Nebraska Plains by planting commercially available species of native plants and enjoy their flowers, the wildlife they attract and the edible fruits they bear.
Meadow garlic (Allium canadense) is also known as wild onion and is a perennial member of the lily family. The plant grows from 8 to 12 inches tall and produces leaves that resemble grass and pink or white star-shaped flowers growing in clusters from May through July. The underground bulb that the plant grows from is edible and tastes like an onion. Plant meadow garlic in full sun and a soil that is rich moist and well drained. The plant is deer-resistant, but wild turkeys will make a meal of the bulbs and leaves.
Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is also known as butterfly milkweed or orange milkweed and is a member of the milkweed family. The perennial bush grows from 1-1/2 to 2 feet tall and produces dark green, lance-shaped leaves that grow up to about 2 inches long The flat-topped clusters of bright-orange or yellow flowers grow from 2 to 5 inches across at the top of the stems and bloom from May through September. Plant butterflyweed in partial shade or full sun and a soil that is moist to dry. Butterflies and hummingbirds will stop by for the nectar and the flowers work well in cut-flower arrangements.
Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata) is also known as purple poppy mallow and is a member of the mallow family. The plant has a spread of about 3 feet and grows up to 1 foot tall producing round, hairy, gray-green leaves and chalice-shaped white, pink or purple flowers that grow up to 2-1/2 inches wide and bloom from March through June. Plant winecup in full sun or partial shade and in a soil that is moist to dry. The plant is a favorite of butterflies.
Wild strawberry (Fragaria virginiana Duchesne) is also knows as Virginia strawberry and is a member of the rose family. The plant grows low to the ground and produces hairy stems, each one with a single leaf and a hairy flower stalk that produces clusters of small white flowers that bloom in April, May and June and give way to the edible fruit. Plant wild strawberry in full sun or partial shade and in a dry soil. Butterflies and other wildlife are attracted to the flowers.