A blanket of bluebells at O’Hara Woods in Will County. (Courtesy Forest Preserve District of Wall County)

These gorgeous spring ephemerals love woodland habitats near creeks, and they’ll spread like a carpet on the forest floor. But only for a couple of weeks, and then they’re gone.

Native climbing rose (l) and invasive multiflora rose (r). (Credits: Peter Chen, College of DuPage, Bugwood.org (l); James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org)

In honor of National Invasive Species Awareness Week, we’re posting daily “dupes” — invasives that can easily be confused with native species. Today brings us to a truly unexpected subject: the rose.

The Chicago Botanic Garden's orchid show is a colorful sight for winter weary eyes. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

There’s one place spring has most definitely sprung: the Chicago Botanic Garden, where the annual orchid show is now underway. WTTW News also toured the garden’s orchid greenhouse, which isn’t open to the public.

The Sawtooth Sunflower, a native perennial species, is one of late summer's towering giants in the Chicago region's natural areas. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

It’s the time of year when some of the tallest native plants are in bloom, coming into their own just as most other flora are on the wane. And by tall, we mean they could easily dunk on LeBron James.

Swamp rose mallow at Sand Ridge Nature Center, a Cook County forest preserve. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The native swamp rose mallow has hit full bloom, its super-sized six-inch blossoms bursting forth in seemingly every shade of pink from the palest blush to saturated fuschia

Skunk cabbage. (Courtesy James L. Reveal / Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)

Skunk cabbage is one of the first native plants to emerge from the frozen winter ground in the Chicago area. Its powerful aroma isn’t the only quirky thing about this plant.

When you think of something having a "sell by" date, it's often food. But most grocery stores apply similar dates to their flowers. Tonight we meet a local resident who finds a new use for those flowers before grocery stores throw them out. 

Need some ideas for what to do this weekend? Chicago Tonight knows what is going on!