Native Plant Communities

Ecosystems are native plant communities that grow in harmony with one another.

Hibiscus moscheutos Swamp Mallow

Emergent Plants

These native plants are typically found in a marsh, wetland community where trees are absent and standing water is present for most of the year. Emergent species are rooted in underlying soils. Their stems rise above water rather than float.

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Dry Prairie Plants

Plants that grow in dry prairies thrive in full sun. Soils vary from fine-textured silt and clay loams to coarse-textured sandy loams and sandy or gravelly soils. All are well-drained with relatively dry moisture conditions throughout the growing season.

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Mesic Prairie Plants

The mesic prairie ecosystem includes areas with full sun and less than 10-percent tree canopy. Soil is comparable to good garden soil and moisture is available throughout the growing season.

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Savanna Plants

A savanna is a wooded plant community with 10- to 15-percent tree canopy, providing for full sun to partial shade, and dominated by grasses and sedges. Soils are typically fine-textured or sandy. Conditions may be dry to mesic.

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Woodland Plants

With 50- to 80-percent tree canopy, woodland areas offer full to partial shade with sufficient light to support the reproduction of tree species, woodland shrubs and herbaceous layer. Woodlands typically have a higher population of spring ephemerals than what may be found in a savanna. Soil moisture can be dry to wet-mesic. Mesic woodland soils typically are more fertile than dryer woodland communities and so have different characteristics species.

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Wet Woodland Plants

Wet woodlands are found on the floodplains of rivers and streams. Plant communities are shaped by the frequency and duration of flooding. Summer conditions may be dry, and plants of dry and dry-mesic soils may succeed on slight land rises. Wet woodlands provide full shade with 80-percent tree cover.

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Wet Prairie Plants

A wet prairie has full sun and less than 10-percent tree canopy. Surface water is typically present during the winter and spring. Soil is almost always saturated through the year.

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