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General Information about
Prairie Types

Wet Prairies

Saturated soils are found at these sites through much of the growing season. There is often abundant standing water with soil types ranging from leached sand or gravel to organic peat and muck.
Typical Plants
Swamp Milkweed, Blue Flag, Joe Pye Weed, Cardinal Flower, Great Blue Lobelia, Boneset, Thickspiked Gayfeather

Mesic Prairies

Mesic prairies are found on sites that have relatively good drainage but also has high moisture available most of the growing season. They can be best described as being luxuriant and contain some of our most diverse prairie wildflower displays. Mesic prairies are the most threatened prairie because most were converted for agricultural use.
Typical Plants
Leadplant, Blazingstar, Purple Prairie Clover, Rattlesnake Master, Goldenrods, Big Blue Stem and Switchgrass.

Hill Prairies

These prairies are found at the tops of hills, bluffs and ridges. It is not uncommon to find exposed rock on many of the steep slopes or cliffs. Hill prairies have excessive drainage and often the plants have to tolerate near drought conditions.
Typical Plants
Prairie Smoke, Pasque Flower, Cream False Indigo, Foxglove Beardtongue, Western Sunflower, Wild Lupine, Butterfly Plant, Little Bluestem, Indian Grass, Side-Oats Grama Grass

Dry Prairies

Dry Prairies are found on slopes and well-drained uplands. Many times scattered within them are small mesic prairies, found in the lower areas. They range from very dry to somewhat wet. (The moister ones are sometimes referred to as dry-mesic prairies.)
Typical Plants
Round-Headed Bush Clover, Pale Purple Coneflower, Butterfly Plant, Wild Lupine, Fame Flower, Leadplant, Prairie Clovers, Asters, Bird's Foot Violet and Side-Oats Grama Grass

Sand Prairies

These prairies range from the wet depressions along the Great Lakes region to the dryer hills in the Great Plains. Sand prairies, although diverse, share some common characteristics such as the flowers that will grow there.
Typical Plants
Sand Milkweed, Wild Lupine, Prickly Pear, Fame Flower, Butterfly Plant, Leadplant, Coreopsis, Little Bluestem


Found mostly in the tallgrass region, savannas are areas scattered with trees, grasses and wildflowers. In the northern regions typically Bur and Black Oaks are found while in the southern regions Black and Post Oaks are the common trees.
Typical Plants
Goat's Rue, Hoary puccoon, Rattlesnake Master, Shooting Star, Leadplant, Alum Root, Big Bluestem, Indian Grass, Little Bluestem

("Typical Plants" are examples of some species that can be found in these prairie types.)

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