A drink tastier than lemonade can be made with a common, roadside plant.
The right plants on the edge of a garden can draw in bugs and butterflies to pollinate flowers and vegetables.
And an educated selection of plants can help the casual gardener's flower beds survive extreme weather conditions.
Native plants are growing in popularity as their uses multiply - edible, landscaping, pollinators, local wildlife and decoration.
Author and expert Dave Tylka will present "Native Landscaping for Wildlife and People" at 11 a.m. Thursday at Lincoln University's Scruggs Center.
As an educator, biologist, nature author and photographer, Tylka will discuss Missouri native plants and ideas that can inspire any landowner to landscape with native plants.
He teaches Native Landscaping and Ozark Ecology at St. Louis Community College at Meramec. He and his wife grow about 200 species of native plants in their own backyard in Imperial.
Free parking and a shuttle service will be available 10-10:45 a.m. at Dickinson Research Center, 1219 Chestnut Street.
Reservations should be sent via email to DowningS@LincolnU.edu.
The seminar will be followed by garden tours, native plant food samples and a book signing.
The event is open to people of all levels of interest and application with native plants, said Nadia Navarrete-Tindall, Lincoln associate professor and native plant specialist.
Professional landscapers are expected, as well as those who have attended the Lincoln extension program's native plant classes or been part of the community gardens project.
Several native plant proponents, such as the Missouri Prairie Foundation and the Native Plant Society, likely will send representatives.
Navarrete-Tindall said she hopes also to see casual gardeners who would like to hear Tylka's presentation first-hand.
The university's first-time event in August 2012 drew more than 300 people to hear expert-author Doug Tallamy.
The edible native cookies and other dishes were a big hit last year, Navarrete-Tindall said.
Because of the public interest, the local native plants program has researched additional recipes. And they are venturing into potential horticultural crops, too, she said.
"There are many different greens you can get out of the wilds," Navarrete-Tindall said.
The persimmon ice cream was a big hit as was the smooth sumac tea.
In the five years Navarrete-Tindall has been with Lincoln, she has been pleased with the community response to native plants.
"It seems everybody is interested in doing something," she said.