Lincoln Conservation District

801 E 5th Street – Suite 2, Canton, SD 57013 | Office Phone: 605-987-2624 | Email:

Native Perennials

Blazing Star, Button

(Liatris aspera)


This upland prairie plant produces spikes of rosy-purple clustered flowers. Attracts butterflies. Goldfinches find the seed delicious! Makes great cut flowers. Prefers average to dry soils. Grows 2-3 feet tall. Photo credit: USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Blazing Star, Dotted

(Liatris punctata)


Native. Produces attractive purple flower spike in late summer. Often seen on dry, sandy, or gravelly soil. Grows on hillsides. Has a deep taproot. Grows 1 foot tall. Photo credit: USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center.

Blazing Star, Meadow

(Liatris ligulistylis)


Native. Monarch butterfly magnet! Produces tall purple flower stalk late summer. Grows in moist meadows, prairie, and road ditches. Good garden, rain garden, and landscape plant. Grows 3-4 feet tall.

Coneflower, Yellow

(Echinacea paradoxa)


Native in US. Large yellow flowers appear in early- to mid-summer. Petals droop down from central seedhead. Flowers similar to other Echinacea but with yellow petals. Grows 2-4 feet tall.

Milkweed, Butterfly

(Asclepias tuberosa)


Native. A hassle-free, drought-tolerant perennial, with three months of tangerine-orange blooms. Attracts scores of butterflies. Excellent long-lasting cut flowers. Breaks dormancy late. Grows to 24″.

Coneflower, Narrowleaf

(Echinacea angustifolia)


Native. Attractive flowers with dark brown spiny center and purple, pink, or sometimes white petals. Occurs in fertile prairies, rocky hillsides, and in coarse-textured soils. Drought tolerant. Roots sometimes used for medicinal purposes. Also called Black Samson. Grows 1-2 feet tall.

Mexican Hat

(Ratibida columnifera ‘Red’)


Native. Sometimes called ‘Upright Red’. Produces blood-red flowers in late summer and early fall. Drooping petals surround an upright central cone. Very similar to ‘Upright Yellow’ coneflower. Can grow to 4 feet with good moisture and little competition.

Coneflower, Prairie ‘Upright Yellow’

(Ratibida columnifera ‘Yellow’)


Native. A common prairie plant with drooping yellow petals which surround a vertical central cone. Blooms late summer to early fall. Grows to 4 feet in gardens, but shorter in prairie situations.

Coneflower, Purple

(Echinacea purpurea)


Native in US, east of South Dakota. Produces large quantities of showy pinkish-purple flowers in midsummer. Very popular garden plant. Seedheads provide winter bird food. A favorite of Monarch butterflies. Grows 2-3 feet tall.


(Amorpha canescens)


Native. Compound leaves have gray leaflets covered with dense woolly hair. Beautiful purple flower spikes. Legume. Grows in pastures, rock or sandy hills, and well-drained prairies. Develops semi-woody crown. Is deep rooted and drought tolerant. Grows 1-2 feet tall.


(Vernonia fasciculata)


Native. Blooms late summer to fall, producing many heads of red-violet flowers. Prefers moist soil. Good plant for rain garden. Good cut flower. Grows 4-5 feet tall.

Milkweed, Swamp

(Asclepias incarnata)


Native. Food for Monarch butterfly caterpillars. Beautiful pink-red flowers. Milky sap. Riparian plant. Use in gardens, rain gardens, moist sites. After flowering, remove developing seed pods in garden and landscape situations to avoid self-sowing. Grows 3-4 feet tall. Photo credit: Jennifer Anderson at USDA-NRCS Plants Database

Penstemon, Shell Leaf

(Penstemon grandiflorus)


Native. A bumblebee favorite! Beautiful light pink flowers produced in early summer atop 2-3 foot stalks from a greenish-white rosette of leaves. Grows best on well-drained sandy or gravelly soil. May not be long-lived in the garden, but worth the effort!

Prairie Clover, Purple ‘Bismarck’

(Dalea purpurea ‘Bismarck’)


Native. NRCS release from Lyman County, South Dakota. Fine-leafed legume with purple flowers at the ends of terminal spikes. Used by native pollinators and butterflies. Good landscape appeal. Needs good drainage. Grows 1-3 feet tall.

Prairie Clover,White ‘Antelope’

(Dalea candida ‘Antelope’)


Legume, similar to purple prairie clover but with white flowers and larger leaflets. Attracts native pollinators. Grows 1-2 feet tall. Photo credit: SDSU Ag Experiment Station

Prairie Smoke

(Geum triflorum)


Native. Delightful prairie plant with interesting flower stalks produced in May and June. Nodding reddish flowers produce feathery seedheads which look like smoke. Leaves form a basal rosette which is attractive the rest of the summer. Grows 6″-12″ tall.

Pasqueflower, Native

(Pulsatilla patens)


South Dakota State Flower. Earliest wildflower to bloom! Delicate cup-shaped lavender flowers appear on hairy stalks as soon as the snow melts. Tolerates dry gravelly soil. Often found growing on grassy hillsides. Grows 6″ tall.

Prairie Blue-eyed Grass

(Sisyrinchium campestre)


Native. Small grass-like plant in the Iris family which produces lavender flowers in spring when few other plants are blooming. Usually grows in fairly moist grasslands. A delight to find in prairie settings! Grows 6″-12″ tall.

Sage, White

(Artemisia ludoviciana)


Native. Also called Man Sage. This fuzzy silvery-white plant grows strongly from rhizomatous roots and has a strong sage odor. It is drought tolerant and grows in sandy soil but is adaptable to various soil conditions. Used ceremonially and medicinally for various ailments by Native Americans. Can spread rapidly. Use for background in perennial border or landscape. Grows 12″-30″ tall. Photo credit: USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center

Sunflower, Maximilian ‘Medicine Creek’

(Helianthus maximiliani ‘Medicine Creek’)


Native. Showy yellow flowers. Prefers moist soil. Grows along streams, sloughs, road ditches, and moist prairies. Large rain garden plant. Leaves fold lengthwise and curve downward. Produces seeds favored by small birds. Grows 3-6 feet tall. Photo credit: USDA-NRCS Plant Database

Sedge, Needleleaf

(Carex duriuscula)


Low-growing, grass-like plant common in dry prairie, rocky hillsides, and sandy areas. Slowly forms a colony. Blends in with grasses when mowed. Grazed early in spring when other forage is dormant. Drought tolerant. Grows 6″ -8″ tall. Photo credit: E. G. Hurd


(Yucca glauca)


Native. Spectacular cream-colored flower panicle produced in early summer from clump of lance-shaped leaves. Often grows on dry, sandy, gravelly hillsides, especially in the western half of South Dakota. Grows 2-4 feet tall.

Alexanders, Golden

(Zizia aurea)


Grows 1-3 feet tall. Prefers full to partial shade and moist soil. Has a long blooming period with yellow umbrella-shaped flowers turning purple as they dry out. Attracts Black Swallowtail butterfly whose caterpillar will use the plant for food.

Aster, Heath

(Aster ericoides)


Grows 12″-20″ tall and up to 18″ across. The many small white flowers bloom in late summer and can cover the entire plant. Up to 20 flowers on a single bract and several bracts per plant.

Aster, New England

(Aster novae-angliae)


Stout erect perennial with several branches growing 20″-40″ from a single base. Several flowers form on ends of the stems and are large blue-violet to reddish purple with yellow centers. Found on wet prairie meadows, stream banks, and boggy areas.

Aster, Smooth Blue

(Aster laevis)


Grows 1-1/2 to 3 feet tall. Has central stem that stays erect during early to late fall blooming period. Numerous lavender or light blue-violet daisy-like flowers with yellow centers. Smooth Blue aster have smooth foliage and stems, unlike other asters. Photo credit: Thomas G. Barnes

Wild Bergamot

(Monarda fistulosa)


Native. Strong plant with square stems has minty-scented foliage. Large pink to lavender flowers are produced mid-summer. Good plant for pollinators and butterflies. Spherical seedheads remain on plant over winter. Mildew may be a problem if not grown with good air circulation. Prefers moderate soil moisture. Grows 2-4 feet tall.

Sagebrush, Big

(Artemisia tridentate)


Stout, highly branched evergreen, grayish shrub. Native in extreme western South Dakota. Sage grouse and pronghorn are dependent on Big sagebrush for forage. Photo credit: J.S. Peterson

Black-eyed Susan

(Rudbeckia fulgida)


Native in the United States, east of South Dakota. Yellow-orange daisy-like flowers with dark centers cover plants late-summer to fall. Similar to Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’ but flowers later. Good cut flower. Seedheads allowed to stand over winter provide bird food. Grows 2 feet tall.

Columbine, American

(Aquilegia canadensis)


A herbaceous perennial that grows 24″ tall and wide. Flower spikes can reach 3 feet tall. Ideal for naturalizing and woodland gardens. Late spring flowers are red to orange bell-shaped with yellow eyes. Should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. Photo credit: Elaine Haug

Joe Pye Weed

(Eupatorium maculatum)


Fuchsia-colored flower buds give way to plumes of lightly-scented rose flowers at the ends of the stems. Excellent cut flowers. Blooms late summer to late fall. Grow 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Does best in full sun to partial shade. Prefers average to wet conditions. Cut back in early spring prior to green-up. Photo credit: Wildflower Farms

Rue, Purple Meadow

(Thalictrum dasycarpum)


A native forb, grows 2-4 feet tall with a stout crown and fibrous roots. Small flowers range from purplish to greenish or whitish on numerous panicles in June and July. Found in moist prairie and wet meadows in eastern South Dakota, and moist meadows and clearings in the Black Hills. Photo credit: Wasowski


(Helenium autumnale)


Grows 1-4 feet tall on a branched single stem plant. Yellow flowers appear July to September in clusters radiating from the main plant in groups of 10 to 20. Contains glycoside which can cause death in livestock, especially horses. Can also cause dermatitis in sensitive people. Photo credit: Jennifer Anderson

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