Plant Communities of the Green River Lowlands in Northwestern Illinois

John E. Ebinger, Loy R. Phillippe, William C. Handel, Connie J. Cunningham, William E. McClain, Randy N. Nyboer, Todd Bittner

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


A few high quality prairies still exist in the sand deposits of the Green River Lowlands on a few state protected lands. The most extensive natural remnants are in the Green River State Wildlife Area, Lee County, Illinois, where some sand communities of high natural quality exist. Three upland prairie communities were surveyed; a dry sand prairie dominated by Schizachyrium scoparium, Ambrosia psilostachya, and Amorpha canescens; a dry-mesic sand prairie dominated by Sorghastrum nutans, Schizachyrium scoparium, Antennaria plantaginifolia, and Liatris aspera; and a mesic sand prairie where Sorghastrum nutans and Andropogon gerardii were the dominant grasses with Parthenium integrifolium, Fragaria virginiana, Liatris pycnostachya, and Euthamia gymnospermoides the common forbs. The lowlands, which include about 325 ha, were dominated by the exotic Phalaris arundinaceae, but high natural quality wet sand prairie, sedge meadow, and marsh communities exist. The wet sand prairies were dominated by Spartina pectinata, Helianthus grosseserratus, and Solidago canadensis; the sedge meadowswere dominated by Carex haydenii, Calamagrostis canadensis, and Persicaria coccinea; while the marsh communities were divided into distinct vegetation zones. These vegetation zones were surveyed in 2002, and were subjected to a destructive fire in 2005. Surveys completed 2006 and 2007 were used to determine successional changes resulting from the 2005 fire.
Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jul 31 2008

Publication series

NameINHS Technical Report 2008 (21)


  • INHS


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