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Plants & Trees on the Great Plains

The Great Plains area of the United States has a wide array of grasses that adorn it. However, just as many interesting shrubs, trees, and other plants are strewn about the landscape. These plants and trees of the Great Plains are just a sampling of the vast choices available to you, based on your personal preference and desired aesthetic.

Trumpet Creeper

Campsis radicans, the trumpet creeper--from the bignonia family--is a fast-growing vine that attracts both butterflies and hummingbirds to the yard. It gets 40 feet long with 4 to 12 inch long leaves in bright green. Flowers are yellow, orange or red and trumpet-like. Blooms will be seen in summer to fall and are 3 to 4 inches long. Grow a trumpet creeper in full sun or shade in moist soil. Propagate via seed or suckers in USDA hardiness zones of 6 to 10.


Asimina triloba, the pawpaw, from the annona family, gets 25 feet tall with 12-inch-long leaves. Flowers are 1 to 2 inches wide, maroon, and bloom in the spring. Grow a pawpaw in well-drained soil in partial sun or filtered shade. Propagate via seed or grafting in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9.


Sassafras albidum, the sassafras--from the laurel family--is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant tree that attracts birds and butterflies. While it can get to 80 feet, most get 20 to 30 feet tall. Leaves are elliptic and 2 to 6 inches long with flowers appearing in the spring. Grow sassafras in dry soils in shade to full sun. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9.

American Elm

Ulmus Americana, the American elm--from the elm family--is a deciduous tree with 3- to 6-inch-long leaves and non-showy spring flowers. The tree may reach up to 120 feet tall but are typically 60 to 80 feet. Grow American elm in moist soil and full sun. Propagate via seed or cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 2 to 9.

Shining Sumac

Rhus copallinum, the shining sumac (from the cashew family), is an easy-to-grow, drought-tolerant shrub that attracts birds and grows quickly. It gets up to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Leaves are 12 inches long with yellow-green flowers in clusters 6 to 10 inches long in spring, summer and fall. Grow shining sumac in full sun to partial sun. Propagate via seed or division in USDA hardiness zones of 5 to 11

Japanese Honeysuckle

Lonicera japonica, the Japanese honeysuckle from the honeysuckle family, is an easy-to-grow, fast-growing vine. It is fragrant and drought-tolerant, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. It gets 30 feet long with elliptic leaves 2 to 3 inches long. Flowers are tubular, white that will age to yellow, and are fragrant. Grow in full sun to partial shade. Propagate via seed or layering in USDA hardiness zones of 4 to 10.

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