Saturday 3 September 2011

Indian Boundary Prairies

Stuart Goldman, Prairie Restoration Specialist

Indian Boundary Prairies consist of four high-quality restored prairie remnants in Markham south of Chicago. Although the four prairies are situated close to each other they all look very different and also inhabit various plants and animals.

The Dropseed Prairie is the smallest, the Sundrop Prairie looks most remote and wild, the Painthbrush Prairie needs more restoration and the Gensburg-Markham Prairie has perhaps the most flagrant flower displays of them all. But they are all four worth the visit and they have all a lot of interesting prairie plants to discover.

At the Gensburg-Markham Prairie I met Mr. Stuart Goldman, restoration specialist and responsible for the maintenance of the prairies in Markham. He told me that when his boss started the renovation of the Gensburg-Markham Prairie it was just a waste land with trees and shrubs and not much left of the former prairie biotope.

Today they have converted the land back to a high-quality prairie with a diverse flora. The soil here is a mixture of black soil and sand and the conditions are more or less mesic, but with both dry and moist sections. One third of the prairie is burned every third year, normally during spring.

Among plants I found in bloom at the prairies in Markham I can mention Allium cernuum, Asclepias syriaca, Asclepias verticillata, Dalea candida, Dalea purpurea, Eryngium yuccifolium, Euphorbia corollata, Liatris spicata, Monarda fistulosa, Parthenium integrifolium, Phlox glaberrima, Pycnathemum virginianum, Ratibida pinnata, Rudbeckia hirta, Silphium integrifolium, Silphium laciniatum, Solidago juncea, Verbena hastata and Vernonia fasciculata.

Liatris spicata and Solidago juncea at the Gensburg-Markham Paririe

Stuart in action with instant weeding of invasive unwanted plants

Liatris spicata and Parthenium integrifolium at the Gensburg-Markham Prairie

Vernonia at the Sundrop Prairie

Smooth Ironweed, Vernonia fasciculata

Yellow Coneflower, Ratibida pinnata

Smooth Phlox, Phlox glaberrima

Worled Milkweed, Asclepias verticillata

White Prairie Clover, Dalea candida and Nodding Onion, Allium cernuum

Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa at the Sundrop Prairie

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