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What are Keystone Species?

White Oak
Keystone species plants are plants that are essential for the performance of their ecosystem. Without their keystone species, an ecosystem would deteriorate drastically. “Key” native plants help hold our ecosystem
 together, which is why it is important to protect and increase the population of these plants.
Native keystone plants are hosts to an enormous amount of insect activity. Populations of pollinators such as; bees, butterflies and hummingbirds would drastically decrease. Without this insect activity, plants are susceptible to increased chance of bad insect damage, low pollination rate and decreased fruit / seed production. By doing our part to increase the keystone plant species population, we help to support our ecosystem for the future.
Here is a list of the many native, beneficial, keystone species plants that you can plant in Illinois (Zone 5a):

Trees / Shrubs

Perennials / Biennials