2020 Fall Plant List
Prairie (Full Sun): These conditions are found
where tree cover is zero to about twenty percent during the growing
season. The prairies and meadows around here were historically
kept shade free by the periodic hot fires racing through them keeping
any existing trees in a herbaceous state (dying back to the ground
annually/periodically). Herbaceous (grasses and flowers) growth
occurs during the entire growing season due to the unrestricted
Savanna (Part Shade): Savannas are characterised
by tree cover of twenty to about 75 percent. These habitats
developed in areas with more protection from fire - so they burned
less frequently and cooler (with less fuel) then prairies. Herbaceous
growth is reduced because of the increase in shade.
Woodland (Full Shade): Woodlands exist where
tree cover is greater then about 80 percent - this can also describe
conditions in other environments too, like north facing ravines.
These areas burned infrequently. Woodlands are home
to the "spring ephemerals", the beautiful flowering plants
that complete their life cycle before the deciduous trees have fully
leafed out. Herbaceous plant growth during the rest of the
season is severly limited by the lack of sunlight, leading to very
patchy and sparse plant coverage.
Wet: Wet conditions are are found in a variety
of areas commonly refered to as wetlands; sedge meadows, fens, bogs,
flatwoods, and marshes with emergent vegetation. The soils
are saturated for at least a couple weeks during the growing season
and then have a water table no deeper then about six inches below
the surface the rest of the season.
Common plants found here include, tussock sedge, blue flag iris,
marsh marigold, cord grass, and blue joint grass.
These areas also harbor invasive species like reed canary grass,
common reed grass, and purple loosestrife.
Mesic: Mesic conditions are typically associated
with ecosystems like the tall grass prairie. The soil is well
drained but there is a rich organic black soil layer that retains
moisture throughout the season, thus protecting the plants from
drought. Typical plant species include, big bluestem grass,
indian grass, prairie blazing star, and wild quinine.
Dry: Dry conditions are found in very well drained
areas like sand dunes (depending on the water table) and gravel
hill prairies. These areas may also be refered to as short
grass prairies, the grasses and flowers being particularly well
adapted to the often droughty conditions. Typical plant species
include little bluestem grass, side oats grama grass, cylindric
blazing star, and purple prairie clover.