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Vegetation of Wilmington Shrub Prairie Nature Preserve, Will County, Illinois.


Sand deposits are relatively common in the northern half of Illinois, accounting for nearly 5% of the land surface. These deposits, the result of erosion events associated with Wisconsin glaciation, were formed about 14,500 years ago (King 1981; Schwegman 1973; Willman and Frye 1970). The Kankakee sand deposits in northeastern Illinois are the most extensive in the state, extending from Newton County, Indiana west through large parts of Iroquois, Kankakee, Will, and Grundy counties, Illinois. These deposits remained after glacial lakes were drained as glacial moraines and ice dams were breached resulting in the Kankakee Torrent (Willman 1973). This torrent carried large amounts of sand and gravel down the Kankakee and Illinois River valleys into central Illinois south of present day Hennepin, Illinois (Schwegman 1973).

The early studies of Illinois sand deposits by Hart and Gleason (1907), Gleason (1910), and Vestal (1913) mostly discuss the species associated with dry to mesic sand prairies and sand savannas. Also, more recent studies in Illinois sand deposits have mostly been concerned with dry sand prairie and sand savanna communities as these habitats are abundant, being less suitable for cultivation. Overall, dry habitats are characteristic of sand deposits, and the commonly associated species are those adapted to xeric conditions (White and Madany 1978). Plant communities of sand deposits, however, are extremely diverse and also include many differed wet and wet-mesic community types. In Will County, these wetland communities are found on the extensive outwash plains and old lake beds of Wisconsian glaciation. In these wet to mesic communities the soil has a high organic content resulting in a dark A horizon, while some of the dominant grass species (Poaceae) are replaced by sedges and rushes (Cyperaceae and Juncaceae).

Wet and mesic sand prairie communities are common in some of the nature preserves in Will County Illinois where sand areas are interspersed with "black soil" communities in some preserves and sand dunes, which are usually associated with sand deposits, are uncommon or absent. One of these preserves, Wilmington Shrub Prairie Nature Preserve (WSPNP) contains wetland communities on both fine sand and sandy loam soils. The present study was undertaken to determine vascular plant species composition, vegetation structure, and floristic quality of the major natural plant communities on this Preserve.


The 72 ha WSPNP is located in the southwestern corner of Will County about 4 km east of Braidwood, and 20 km south of Joliet (SW1/4 S2 NW1/4 S11 T32N R10E; 41.27934[degrees]N, -88.166576[degrees]W). Presently owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Preserve is located in the Kankakee Sand Area Section of the Grand Prairie Natural Division (Schwegman 1973). Dedicated in 1989, this Preserve contains remnants of dry-mesic to mesic "black soil" prairie, dry-mesic to mesic sand prairie, sedge meadows, marshes, sand savannas, shrub prairies, and shrub swamps (McFall and Karnes 1995). Extensive areas of the preserve have been degraded by past grazing and farming, and it is likely that extensive peat fires occurred in bog and sedge meadow communities in the mid 1900s. Small parts of the preserve still contain plant communities of high natural quality.

The Preserve is situated near the edge of former glacial Lake Wauponsee that drained during the Kankakee Torrent leaving sandy beaches and near shore sand deposits (Willman and Frye 1970). Characteristic sand savanna and sand prairie vegetation became established during the Hypsithermal period about 8,000 years ago (King 1981). The soils of the Preserve are mostly fine sandy loam (Gilford and Grundy) that are poorly drained and relatively high in organic material. Some Watseka and Ade loamy fine sand are also present on slightly higher ground. These fine sands developed from windblown sediments, are well drained, and relatively low in organic material (Hanson 2004). The climate is continental with warm summers and cold winters. Mean annual precipitation is 98.0 cm, with May having the highest rainfall (11.5 cm). Mean annual temperature is 9.9[degrees]C with the hottest month being July (average of 23.6[degrees]C), and the coldest being January (average of -5.7[degrees]C). Frost-free days range from 141 to 206, with the average being 174 days per year (Midwestern Regional Climate Center 2009; Kankakee, Illinois).


Floristic Composition

The Preserve was visited six to ten times each year throughout the growing seasons of 2007 to 2009. During these visits voucher specimens were collected and deposited in the herbarium of the Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, Illinois (ILLS). The designation of exotic species follows Gleason and Cronquist (1991), Mohlenbrock (2002), and Taft et al. (1997). Nomenclature follows Mohlenbrock (2002).


In mid-summer of 2009 transects were located randomly along cardinal compass directions within two mesic prairies, two shrub prairies, and a sedge meadow. Within each of these communities, two transects were located (n = 50 plots). Along each transect, 1m2 quadrats were located alternately along each transect. A random numbers table was used to determine the distance (0 to 9 m) a quadrat was located from the transect line. Species cover was determined using the Daubenmire (1959) cover class system as modified by Bailey and Poulton (1968). The modified Daubenmire cover scale is as follows: class 1 = 0 to 1%; class 2 = >1 to 5%; class 3 = >5 to 25%; class 4 = >25 to 50%; class 5 = >50 to 75%; class 6 = >75 to 95%; class 7 = >95 to 100%. Only ground layer species rooted within the quadrat frame were recorded. Mean cover was determined for each taxon using the mid-point values for each cover class, while Importance Value (I.V.) was calculated by summing relative cover and relative frequency.

The shrub swamp was sampled in late-summer of 2010 by randomly locating three transects 20 m long in various aged parts of the swamp based on the average size of the larger stems observed (swamp margin, mature swamp, old-age swamp). Along each transect five circular plots 0.001 ha (10 m2) were located at 5 m intervals, and the number of plants of Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush), and the number of individuals stems by basal diameter class was determined. From this data the density (plants/ha) of plants and the number of stems (stems/ha) by basal diameter classes determined.


Floristic Composition

The preserve supported a total of 358 vascular plant taxa in 81 families (Appendix I). Ferns, fern-allies, and gymnosperms were represented by 11 taxa in 7 families. Of the remaining taxa, 104 were monocots in 12 families, and 243 were dicots in 62 families. Non-native (exotic) species accounted for 32 taxa, about 8% of the species collected. Predominant plant families were Asteraceae (65 species), Poaceae (44), and Cyperaceae (29). The only state endangered species found was Platanthera clavellata (wood orchid). No state threatened species were encountered (Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board 2005).

Dry to Dry-Mesic Prairie

Two small dry to dry mesic "black soil" prairies were surveyed, one at the northwest corner of the Preserve (North Edge Prairie) (41.27989[degrees]N, -88.16562[degrees]W), the other in the south part of the Preserve (South Central Prairie) (41.27446[degrees]N, -88.16428[degrees]W). Both are situated on fine sandy loam soils high in organic material. On both prairies the dominant grass was Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) with Sorghastrum nutans (Indian grass) ranging from fifth to eight in I.V. while Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem) was present but not common (Table 1). Schizachyrium scoparium was distributed throughout the prairie as indicated by its high frequency, the other two species being less common. On both prairies Helianthus mollis (downy sunflower) and Parthenium integrifolium (America feverfew) were among the top three species in I.V. Other common forbs encountered were Euthamia gymnospermoides (viscid grass-leaved goldenrod), Coreopsis tripteris (tall tickseed), Solidago missouriensis (Missouri goldenrod), Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil), and Rubus flagellaris (common dewberry). Overall, less than 25 species on each prairie had an I.V. greater than 2.5 (possible 200), though 61 species were recorded for South Central Prairie and 102 were recorded for North Edge Prairie (Table 1). Only six exotic species were recorded in the plots, Poa pratensis (Kentucky blue grass), Achillea millefolium (yarrow), and Rumex acetosella (sour dock) being the most common with Importance Values between 2.5 and 8.2 (Table 1).

Shrub Prairie

Two small shrub prairies were surveyed, one at the southeast corner of the Preserve (East Shrub Prairie) (41.27183[degrees]N, -88.15765[degrees]W), the other about 250 m to the northwest in the southwest corner of the Preserve (West Shrub Prairie) (41.27307[degrees]N, -88.16689[degrees]W). At the time of the survey the East Shrub prairie had recently been brush-hogged. The vegetation survey was conducted in an undisturbed narrow section along the southern edge of this shrub prairie. Both shrub prairies were on wet to mesic, acidic sandy soils high in organic material and both were dominated by prairie shrubs, forbs, and a few grasses with mosses usually forming part of the ground-layer (White and Madany 1978). Common woody species encountered were Spiraea tomentosa (hardhack), Rubus hispidus (swampy dewberry), and Aronia melanocarpa (black chokeberry). The ferns Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern) and Osmunda regalis (royal fern) were the dominant herbaceous species encountered (Table 2). A few prairie forbs were common, many species scattered through the shrub prairie, but mostly in low numbers. Few prairie grasses were encountered, although Andropogon gerardii was found on the southeastern shrub prairie (I.V. of 8.6). Other grass-like plants included eight species sedges (Cyperaceae) and two rushes (Juncaceae). Overall, 49 species were encountered in West Shrub Prairie and 51 species from East Shrub Prairie. Three exotic species were found, all in very low numbers with Poa pratensis being the most common (I.V. of 1.8).

Mosses were relatively common in the ground layer in the shrub prairies. On East Shrub Prairie the I.V. for bryophytes was 22.0 (possible 200), on West Shrub Prairie the I.V. was only 2.9. Parts of the West Shrub Prairie had a higher concentrations of bryophytes, but in the area we surveyed mosses were not important. Species encountered included: Aulacomnium palustre (Hedw.) Schwaegr., Helodium paludosum (Sull.) Aust., Leucobryum glaucum (Hedw.) Angstr., Polytrichum formosum Hedw., and Sphagnum sp.

Sedge Meadow

This community is common in the WSPNP, one being more than 3 ha in size and located in the west-central part of the Preserve (41.27496[degrees]N, -88.16402[degrees]W). This sedge meadow was dominated by Carex haydenii (Hayden's sedge), and probably C. stricta (tussock sedge), with a combined I.V. of 29.3 and a mean cover of 27.12%. The few flowering stems found were all identified to C. haydenii though both species were probably present.

These two sedges are difficult to separate using vegetative material, and both formed hummocks on which many of the other species grow. Onoclea sensibilis was second in importance with an I.V. of 24.6 followed by Thelypteris palustris and Calamagrostis canadensis. Of the 36 species encountered in the plots, one was an exotic.

Shrub Swamp

A 3 ha shrub swamp was located at the northwest corner of the Preserve (41.21844[degrees]N, - 88.16479[degrees]W). This swamp was dominated almost exclusively by Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush) shrubs to 4 m tall that formed a nearly impenetrable thicket. Scattered throughout this thicket were a few trees of Acer saccharinum (silver maple), Salix nigra (black willow), S. interior (sandbar willow), and Fraxinus lanceolata (green ash). Buttonbush density averaged 12,400 small individuals (2 m tall) near the margin of the swamp to 8,600 larger individuals (4 m tall) in more mature areas near the middle and the eastern edge of the swamp. Here some individuals exceeded 12 cm dbh. Bidens frondosa (common beggar-tick) was the only ground layer species commonly encountered while Lemna minor (duckweed) floated on the water surface and on the sandy muck.


Dry to dry-mesic "black soil" prairies are relatively common in northern Illinois. This community, as described by White and Madany (1978), is dominated by Schizachyrium scoparium along with similar to smaller amounts of Sorghastrum nutans and Heterostipa spartea (Porcupine grass), a species not observed in our plots but observed on the prairies. In contrast, White and Madany (1978) mention that mesic prairies are dominated by Andropogon gerardii and Sorghastrum nutans. All three grasses were found on both of the dry to dry mesic prairies examined. Schizachyrium scoparium was the most important grass encountered and was well distributed throughout the prairies, occurring in nearly all plots. Sorghastrum nutans, in contrast, had a lower frequency and importance, while Andropogon gerardi was uncommon (Table 1). These three grass species were well distributed throughout the prairies, not being clumped and restricted to certain areas, an indication that the community was probably a little drier than typical dry-mesic prairies. The forbs encountered on both prairies were typical of those associated with dry-mesic prairies, and the large number of species encountered in the plots was typical of drymesic sites. The few exotic species present and the high species diversity indicated that the prairies were of high natural quality. Management should consist of occasional burns and the removal of trees and forest shrubs by cutting and the use of herbicides.

The two shrub prairies surveyed are the only shrub prairies that the authors have seen during their surveys of the Illinois glacial sand deposits during the past 12 years. Small disturbed remnants of this community type were seen at the Iroquois County Conservation Area, but these lacked many of the species encountered during the present study. This is one of the rarest community types in Illinois and management activities are undoubtedly necessary for maintenance. Burning and/or cutting and herbicide will be required to prevent the encroachment of tree species, but we know of no studies concerning management of this community type. In contrast, the sedge meadow communities are common in all glacial sand deposits in northern Illinois. Many similar examples are known from other sites in Will County, particularly Braidwood Dunes and Savanna Nature Preserve (Phillippe et al. 2008), Hitts Siding Prairie Nature Preserve (Marcum et al. 2011), and Sand Ridge Savanna Nature Preserve (Phillippe et al. 2011). All are similar in structure and floristic composition.

Presently, we have been unable to find any published literature concerning the species composition and structure of buttonbush shrub swamps other than general information from some site evaluations. Most of this information is from materials in the files of the original Illinois Natural Areas Inventory of the late 1970s (White 1978). White and Madany (1978) recognized this community with at least 50% coverage by shrubs, and less than 20% coverage by trees. A community with less than 50% shrub cover was considered a pond, while a community with more than 20% tree cover would be classified as a swamp. Most important consideration in preserving this community type in sand areas is maintaining a high water table for most of the year.


Vascular plant species encountered at Wilmington Shrub Prairie Nature Preserve, Will County, Illinois, are listed alphabetically by family under major plant groups. Collecting numbers preceded by a P were collected by Loy R. Phillippe. All specimens are deposited in the Illinois Natural History Survey Herbarium, Champaign, Illinois (ILLS). (*exotic species)



Aspleniumplatyneuron (L.) Oakes: P41187


Equisetum arvense L.: P41205 Equisetum fluviatile L.: P40104 Equisetum hyemale L.: P40315


Onoclea sensibilis L.: P39779


Botrychium virginianum (L.) Sw.: P41766 Ophioglossum vulgatum L.: P39778


Osmunda cinnamomea L.: P40045 Osmunda regalis L.: P39759


Thelypteris palustris Schott: P40319



Juniperus virginiana L.:P42136



Alisma subcordatum Raf.: P40108 Sagittaria brevirostrata Mack. & Bush: P42169 Sagittaria cuneata Sheld.: P40105


Hypoxis hirsuta (L.) Coville: P39457


Arisaema dracontium (L.) Schott: P40326


*Commelina communis L.: P42146 Tradescantia ohiensis Raf.: P39780


Bulboschoenus fluviatilis (Torr.) Sojak.: P42161 Carex bicknellii Britt.: P41837 Carex brachyglossa Mack.: P41796 Carex buxbaumii Wahlenb.: P40911 Carex cephalophora Muhl.: P41783 Carex conoidea Schk.: P39462 Carex cristatella Britt.: P40320 Carex haydenii Dewey: observed Carex longii Mack.: P40210 Carex pellita Willd.: P39768 Carex pensylvanica Lam.: observed Carex sartwellii Dewey: P41793 Carex scoparia Schk.: P39769 Carex stricta Lam.: observed Carex swanii (Fern.) Mack.: P39819 Carex umbellata Schk.: P39461 Carex vulpinoidea Michx.: P41794 Cyperus erythrorhizos Muhl.: P40110 Cyperus esculentus L.: P40109 Cyperus strigosus L.: P42150 Eleocharis ovata (Roth) Roem. & Schultes var. obtusa (Willd.) Kukenth: P41801 Eleocharis palustris (L.) Roem. & Schultes: P39767 Eleocharis verrucosa (Svenson) Harms: P41836 Eleocharis wolfii Gray: P41799 Rhynchospora capitellata (Mixhx.) Vahl: P42122 Scirpus atrovirens Willd.: P40086 Scirpus cyperinus (L.) Kunth: P39770 Scirpus pendulus Muhl.: P39815 Scleria triglomerata Michx.: P39812


Iris shrevei Small: P39766 Sisyrinchium albidum Raf.: P39468


Juncus acuminatus Michx.: P39784 Juncus anthelatus (Wieg.) R.E. Brooks: P41774 Juncus brachycarpus Engelm.: P41782 Juncus dudleyi Wieg.: P39822 Juncus effusus L.: P39756 Juncus greenei Oakes & Tuckerm.: P40124 Juncus interior Wieg.: P41842 Juncus marginatus Rostk.: P40815 Juncus tenuis Willd.: P39776 Juncus torreyi Coville: P40306


Aletris farinosa L.: P40298 * Asparagus officinalis L.: P40313 Lilium michiganense Farw.: P40816 Smilacina racemosa (L.) Desf.: P40097


Goodyera pubescens (Willd.) R. Br.: P40812 Liparis loeselii (L.) Rich.: P40112 Platanthera clavellata (Michx.) Luer: P40814 Platanthera lacera (Michx.) G. Don: P41807 Spiranthes cernua (L.) Rich.: P42149 Spiranthes magnicamporum Sheviak: P42171


Agrostis gigantea Roth: P39762 Agrostis hyemalis (Walt.) BSP.: P39793 Agrostis perennans (Walt.) Tuckerm.: P40100 Andropogon gerardii Vitman: P40073 Andropogon virginicus L.: P40329 Aristida basiramea Engelm.: P42137 Aristida purpurascens Poir.: P40297 Aristida oligantha Michx.: P42138 * Bromus inermis Leyss.: P41791 Calamagrostis canadensis (Michx.) P. Beauv.: P39755 Cenchrus longispinus (Hack.) Fern.: P42155 Cinna arundinacea L.: P40102 Dichanthelium acuminatum (Sw.) Gould & Clark: P39820 Dichanthelium clandestinum (L.) Gould: P39777 * Digitaris ischaemum (Schreb.) Schreb.: P42157 * Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.: P42144 * Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv.: P40106 Elymus canadensis L.: P40066 Elymus virginicus L.: P40111 * Elytrigia repens (L.) Desv.: P41800 Eragrostis frankii C.A. Meyer: P40128 Festuca subverticillata (Pers.) E.B. Alexeev.: P41765 Glyceria striata (Lam.) Hitchc.: P39794 Heterostipa spartea (Trin.) Barkworth: P39807 Koeleria macrantha (Ledeb.) Spreng.: P39811 Leersia oryzoides (L.) Swartz: P41191 Leersia virginica Willd.: P40325 Muhlenbergia mexicana (L.) Trin.: P40042 Muhlenbergia schreberi J.F. Gmel.: P42165 Panicum capillare L.: P40136 Panicum dichotomiflorum Michx.: P42143 Panicum rigidulum Bosc.: P41193 Panicum virgatum L.: P40077 * Phalaris arundinacea L.: P41792 * Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin.: P40322 * Poa compressa L.: P41838 * Poa pratensis L.: P39475 Schizachyrium scoparium (Michx.) Nash: P40119 * Setaria faberi R.A.W. Herrm.: P40135 Setaria glauca (L.) P. Beauv.: P42158 Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash: P40120 Spartina pectinata Link: P41208 Sphenopholis intermedia (Rydb.) Rydb.: P39801 Vulpia octoflora (Walt.) Rydb.: P41785


Smilax tamnoides L.: P42147


Typha latifolia L.: P39771



Ruellia humilis Nutt.: P39816


Acer negundo L.: P42163 Acer saccharinum L.: P39482


Rhus glabra L.: P40138 Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntze: P41203


Cicuta maculata L.: P39763 Cryptotaenia canadensis (L.) DC.: P40061 Eryngium yuccifolium Michx.: P41188 Oxypolis rigidior (L.) Raf.: P40053 Sanicula canadensis L.: P41763 Sanicula odorata (Raf.) Pryer & Phillippe: P41786 Sium suave Walt.: P40113 Zizia aurea (L.) Koch: P41840


Apocynum cannabinum L.: P41805


Asclepias hirtella (Pennell) Woodson: P40122 Asclepias incarnata L.: P39764 Asclepias sullivantii Engelm.: P40317


* Achillea millefolium L.: P39824 Ageratina altissima (L.) R.M. King & H. Robins.: P42115

Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.: P40099 Ambrosia trifida L.: P42147a Antennaria neglecta Greene: P41835 Antennaria plantaginifolia (L.) Hook.: P39473 *Arctium minus L.: P42180 Arnoglossum plantagineum Raf.: P39805 Aster dumosus L.: P40115, P40211 Aster ericoides L.: P40310 Aster lanceolatus Willd.: P42175 Aster novae-angliae L.: P40304 Aster ontarionis Wieg.: P40303 Aster pilosus Willd.: P40295 Aster praealtus Poir.: P40081 Aster puniceus L.: P40307 Bidens aristosa (Michx.) Britt.: P42121 Bidens comosa (Gray) Wieg.: P40318 Bidens frondosa L.: P42173 Bidens polylepis Blake: P42129 Cirsium discolor (Muhl.) Spreng.: P40046 *Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Tenore: P40137 Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronq.: P42156 Coreopsis tripteris L.: P40065 Erechtites hieracifolia (L.) Raf.: P40085 Erigeron annuus (L.) Pers.: P41773 Erigeron strigosus Muhl.: P41844 Eupatoriadelphus maculatus (L.) R.M. King & H. Rob.: P40084 Eupatorium altissimum L.: P40311 Eupatorium perfoliatum L.: P40038 Eupatorium serotinum Michx.: P40131 Euthamia graminifolia (L.) Nutt.: P40090 Euthamia gymnospermoides Greene: P40213 Helenium autumnale L.:P42166 Helianthus grosseserratus Maretns: P40076 Helianthus mollis Lam.: P40093 Helianthus tuberosus L.: P42154 Heliopsis helianthoides (L.) Sweet: P40139 Hieracium canadense Michx.: P42128 Hieracium gronovii L.: P40096 Krigia biflora (Walt.) Blake: P41779 Lactuca biennis (Moench) Fern.: P40067 Lactuca canadensis L.: P40121 Lactuca floridana (L.) Gaertn.: P42147b Liatris pycnostachya Michx.: P41834 Liatris spicata (L.) Willd.: P40071, P40082 Oligoneuron riddellii (Frank) Rydb.: P40308 Parthenium integrifolium L.: 39810 Prenanthes racemosa Michx.: P40302 Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium (L.) Hilliard & Burtt.: P40292 Ratibidapinnata (Vent.) Barnh.: P39818 Rudbeckia hirta L.: P39806 Rudbeckia laciniata L.: P40047 Rudbeckia subtomentosa Pursh: P40055 Rudbeckia sullivantii Boynt. & Beadle: P40129 Silphium integrifolium Michx.: P40064 Silphium laciniatum L.: P40314 Silphium terebinthinaceum Jacq.: P40059 Solidago altissima L.: P40216 Solidago gigantea Ait.: P40057 Solidago missouriensis Nutt.: P40117 Solidago nemoralis Ait.: P40214 Solidago speciosa Nutt.: P40215 Vernonia fasciculata Michx.: P40114 Vernonia missurica Raf.: P40054


Impatiens capensis Meerb.: P40083


Hackelia virginiana (L.) I.M.Johnston: P42116 Lithospermum canescens (Michx.) Lehm.: P39467


* Alliaria petiolata (Bierb.) Cavara & Grande: P39456 Arabis shortii (Fern.) Gl.: P39455 Cardamine bulbosa (Muhl.) BSP.: P39477


Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michx.) Greene: P40293 Gleditsia triacanthos L.: P41788


Campanula aparinoides Pursh: P39796 Campanulastrum americanum (L.) Small: P40051 Lobelia cardinalis L.: P40092 Lobelia siphilitica L.: P40324 Lobelia spicata Lam.: P40134


* Lonicera x bella Zabel: P39799 Sambucus canadensis L.: P39782 Viburnum lentago L.: P39775 Viburnum opulus L.: P42177 Viburnum prunifolium L.: P39478


* Stellaria media (L.) Cyrillo: P39480


* Chenopodium album L.: P41197


Calystegia sepium (L.) R. Br.: P41798


Cornus obliqua Raf.: P39758 Cornus racemosa Lam.: P40050


Corylus americana Walt.: P40101


Cuscuta coryli Engelm.: P40068:


* Elaeagnus umbellata Thunb.: P39465


Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.: P39472


Acalypha rhomboidea Raf.: P40098 Euphorbia corollata L.: P39813


Amorpha canescens Pursh: P39808 Dalea purpurea Vent.: P39814 Desmodium canadense (L.) DC.: P40123 Lathyrus palustris L.: P39765, P40079 Lespedeza capitata Michx.: P40116 Lespedeza virginica ((L.) Britt.: P41832 * Lotus corniculatus L.: P39821 Strophostyles helvula (L.) Ell.: P41195


Quercus velutina Lam.: P40328


Bartonia virginica (L.) BSP.: P40209 Gentiana saponaria L.: P40296


Ribes missouriense Nutt.: P42181


Proserpinaca palustris L.: P39788


Hypericum majus (Gray) Britt.: P41189 Hypericum sphaerocarpum Michx.: P39774 Triadenum fraseri (Spach) Gl.: P40088


Lycopus americanus Muhl.: P40062 Lycopus uniflorus Michx.: P40103 Lycopus virginicus L.: P42167 Monarda fistulosa L.: P41207 Physostegia virginiana (L.) Benth.: P40078 Prunella vulgaris L. var. elongata Benth.: P40305 Pycnanthemum virginianum (L.) Dur. & B.D. Jacks.: P40074 Scutellaria lateriflora L.: P40041 Stachys pilosa Nutt.: P39773 Teucrium canadense L.:P41804


Sassafras albidum (Nutt.) Nees: P39464


Linum medium (Planch.) Britt.: P40813


Lythrum alatum Pursh: P39792


Menispermum canadense L.: P40303.1


Desmanthus illinoensis (Michx.) MacM.: P40132


* Mollugo verticillata L.: P42148


* Maclurapomifera (Raf.) Schneider: P42170 * Morus alba L.: P41803


Nyssa sylvatica Marsh.: P39761


Fraxinus lanceolata Borkh.: P41802


Circaea lutetiana L.: P39800 Epilobium coloratum Biehler: P40044 Epilobium leptophyllum Raf.: P42118 Ludwigia alternifolia L.: P40089 Ludwigia palustris (L.) Ell.: P39790 Ludwigia polycarpa Short & Peter: P39789 Oenothera laciniata Hill: P42142 Oenothera pilosella Raf.: P39772


Oxalis violacea L.: P39459


Phryma leptostachya L.: P40056


Phytolacca americana L.: P41764


Plantago rugelii Decne: P40309


Phlox glaberrima L.: P39757 Polemonium reptans L.: P39476


Polygala cruciata L.: P41199 Polygala sanguinea L.: P40118


Antenoron virginianum (L.) Roberty & Vautier: P40060 Fallopia scandens (L.) Holub: P40069 Persicaria amphibium (L.) S.F. Gray: P42122 Persicaria coccinea (Muhl.) Greene: P42141 Persicaria hydropiperoides (Michx.) Small: P41202 Persicaria opelousana (Riddell) Small: P42125 Persicaria pensylvanica (L.) Small: P40141 Persicaria punctata (Ell.) Small: P40058 * Rumex acetosella L.: P39823


Claytonia virginica L.: P39458


Lysimachia lanceolata Walt.: P40212 Lysimachia quadriflora Sims.: P39817 Lysimachia terrestris (L.) BSP.: P39760


Caltha palustris L.: P39483 Ranunculus abortivus L.: P39479 Thalictrum dasycarpum Fisch. & Lall.: P39802


* Frangula alnus Mill.: P39798 * Rhamnus cathartica L.: P41806


Agrimonia parviflora Sol.: P40063 Aronia melanocarpa (Michx.) Ell.: P39463 Fragaria virginiana Duchesne: P39470 Geum canadense Jacq.: P39795 Geum laciniatum Murr.: P39804 Malus ioensis (Wood) Britt.: P39481 * Malus pumila Mill.: P39466 * Potentilla norvegica L.: P41787 Potentilla simplex Michx.: P41198 Prunus serotina Ehrh.: P40142 Rosa carolina L.: P42176 * Rosa multifolia Thunb.: P42117 Rosa palustris Marsh.: P39754 Rubus allegheniensis Porter: P41843 Rubus flagellaris Willd.: P41841 Rubus hispidus L.: P41780 Rubus occidentalis L.: P41767 Spiraea alba DuRoi: P39781 Spiraea tomentosa L.: P40094


Cephalanthus occidentalis L.: P39785 Galium obtusum Bigel.: P41204 Galium triflorum Michx.: P40301


Populus deltoids Marsh.: P41790 Populus tremuloides Michx.: P41797 Salix discolor Muhl.: P41769 Salix humilis L.: P42151 Salix interior Rowlee: P42168 Salix nigra Marsh.: P41789


Comandra umbellata (L.) Nutt.: P41196


Penthorum sedoides L.: P40125


Agalinis purpurea (L.) Pennell: P40291 Agalinis tenuifolia (Vahl) Raf.: P40127 Castilleja coccinea (L.) Spreng.: P41778 Chelone glabra L.: P41200 Leucospora multifida (Michx.) Nutt.: P40126 Lindernia dubia (L.) Pennell: P39786 Mimulus alatus Sol.: P40040 Pedicularis canadensis L.: P39809 Pedicularis lanceolata Michx.: P40070 Penstemon digitalis Nutt.: P40133 Scrophularia lanceolata Pursh: P41194 Veronicastrum virginicum (L.) Farw.: P39803


Solanum carolinense L.: P42145 * Solanum dulcamara L.: P39783 * Solanum dulcamara L. f. albiflorum House: P39797 Solanum ptychanthum Duanl: P40095


Celtis occidentalis L.:P42179 Ulmus americana L.: P40327


Boehmeria cylindrica (L.) Sw.: P40039 Laportea canadensis (L.) Wedd.: P42164 Parietaria pensylvanica Muhl.: P41762 Pilea fontana (Lunell) Rydb.: P40321 Pilea pumila (L.) Gray: P40300 Urtica gracilis Ait.: P41209


Phyla lanceolata (Michx.) Greene: P40107 Verbena hastata L.: P39791 Verbena urticifolia L.: P40048


Viola lanceolata L.: P39471 Viola pratincola Greene: P39469 Viola sagittata Ait.: P39460, P39474


Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch.: P40043 Vitis riparia Michx.: P40087


We would like to thank the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for a Wildlife Preservation Fund grant to complete this study, and their staff for help and encouragement. We also thank Dr. Malcolm Sargent, University of Illinois, for graciously identified the mosses, and Randy Nyboer and Cindi Jablonski, Illinois Natural Areas Inventory, for their help in locating the shrub prairie remnants.

received 9/30/10

accepted 6/4/11


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Gleason, H.A., and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Second Edition. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Hanson, K.D. 2004. Soil survey of Will County, Illinois. United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, in cooperation with the Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station, Champaign, Illinois. 537 pp.

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* Corresponding author (

John E. Ebinger *, Loy R. Phillippe, and Paul B. Marcum

Illinois Natural History Survey, 1816 South Oak Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820
Table 1. Frequency (%), mean cover (% of total area), and importance
value (I.V.) for species encountered in two dry to dry-mesic
"black soil" prairies on sandy loam soil at Wilmington Shrub Prairie
Nature Preserve, Will County, Illinois. Species with I.V. <2.4 are
listed as others. (* exotics)

                             South Central Prairie
Species                      Freq.    Mean    I.V.
                               %     Cover

Helianthus mollis             100     21.93    17.6
Parthenium integrifolium      100     19.71    16.1
Schizachyrium scoparium        94     15.78    13.4
Solidago missouriensis        100     14.22    12.6
Rubus flagellaris              62     13.02    10.5
Euthamia gymnospermoides       98      9.84     9.8
Potentilla simplex            100      8.80     9.1
Sorghastrum nutans             88      6.04     6.9
* Poa pratensis                82      3.31     4.9
Aletris farinosa               56      4.13     4.6
Phlox glaberrima              100      1.45     4.3
Scleria triglomerata           94      1.67     4.3
Coreopsis tripteris            88      1.64     4.1
Euphorbia corollata            86      1.13     3.7
Antennaria plantaginifolia     58      2.54     3.6
Spiraea tomentosa              48      3.12     3.6
Viola sagittata                88      0.54     3.4
^Achillea millefolium          72      1.26     3.3
Juncus greenei                 86      0.43     3.3
Hieracium canadense            74      0.92     3.1
Liatris pycnostachya           82      0.46     3.1
* Rumex acetosella             74      0.97     3.1
Comandra umbellata             70      0.60     2.8
Krigia biflora                 60      0.75     2.6
Lespedeza capitata             52      1.01     2.5
Thelypteris palustris          14      3.00     2.4
Solidago nemoralis             46      1.07     2.3
Cornus racemosa                32      1.72     2.2
Dichanthelium acuminatum       54      0.32     2.1
Andropogon gerardii            16      0.13     0.6
Solidago altissima              6      0.66     0.6
Eryngium yuccifolium           --        --      --
Carex umbellata                --        --      --
Liatris spicata                --        --      --
Others                         --     12.81    33.5
Totals                               154.98   200.0
Bare ground and litter                17.58

                             North Edge Prairie
Species                      Freq.    Mean    I.V.
                               %     Cover

Helianthus mollis              98     13.02    15.5
Parthenium integrifolium      100     19.71    20.9
Schizachyrium scoparium       100     19.50    20.8
Solidago missouriensis          6      0.42     0.6
Rubus flagellaris              60      4.43     6.7
Euthamia gymnospermoides       92      6.11     9.7
Potentilla simplex             36      1.12     2.8
Sorghastrum nutans             82      9.66    12.0
* Poa pratensis               100      3.67     8.2
Aletris farinosa               --        --      --
Phlox glaberrima               92      2.00     6.5
Scleria triglomerata           30      1.28     2.6
Coreopsis tripteris            90      5.96     9.4
Euphorbia corollata            42      0.71     2.8
Antennaria plantaginifolia     --        --      --
Spiraea tomentosa              --        --      --
Viola sagittata               100      2.73     7.5
^Achillea millefolium          94      1.57     6.3
Juncus greenei                 20      0.15     1.2
Hieracium canadense            --        --      --
Liatris pycnostachya           --        --      --
* Rumex acetosella             28      1.26     2.5
Comandra umbellata             --        --      --
Krigia biflora                 --        --      --
Lespedeza capitata             36      1.07     2.7
Thelypteris palustris          --        --      --
Solidago nemoralis             38      1.76     3.4
Cornus racemosa                88      9.36    12.0
Dichanthelium acuminatum       40      0.35     2.4
Andropogon gerardii            36      2.76     4.1
Solidago altissima             20      1.80     2.5
Eryngium yuccifolium           92      7.65    11.0
Carex umbellata                88      2.57     6.7
Liatris spicata                36      0.63     2.4
Others                         --      5.00    16.8
Totals                               126.25   200.0
Bare ground and litter                19.65

Table 2. Frequency (%), mean cover (% of total area), and importance
value (I.V.) for the species encountered in two shrub prairies at
Wilmington Shrub Prairie Nature Preserve, Will County, Illinois.
Species with I.V. <1.6 are listed as others. (* exotics)

                           West Shrub Prairie
Species                    Freq.   Mean     I.V.
                           %       Cover

Spiraea tomentosa           100     31.80    32.3
Rubus hispidus              100     19.02    22.7
Onoclea sensibilis           96     13.34    18.0
Osmunda regalis              52     14.20    15.0
Solidago altissima           84     10.10    14.6
Carex longii                 72      4.94     9.7
Juncus dudleyi               72      3.38     8.5
Solidago gigantea            56      4.54     8.1
Eleocharis verrucosa         56      4.16     7.8
Liatris spicata              56      3.40     7.2
Viola lanceolata             64      2.36     7.0
Euthamia gymnospermoides     44      3.52     6.3
Agrimonia parviflora         40      2.34     5.1
Scirpus cyperinus            28      3.72     5.1
Dichanthelium acuminatum     40      0.30     3.5
Vernonia missurica           16      2.40     3.1
Bryophytes                   32      0.46     2.9
Andropogon virginicus        16      1.44     2.4
Ambrosia artemisiifolia      20      0.10     1.7
Coreopsis tripteris           8      1.20     1.6
Salix humilis                 8      1.20     1.6
Bartonia virginica            4      0.02     0.3
Cornus obliqua                4      0.02     0.3
Aronia melanocarpa           --        --      --
Andropogon gerardii          --        --      --
Carex haydenii/stricta       --        --      --
Carex pensylvanica           --        --      --
Spiraea alba                 --        --      --
Lycopus uniflorus            --        --      --
Aster lanceolatus            --        --      --
Persicaria amphibium         --        --      --
Thelypteris palustris        --        --      --
Carex vulpinoidea            --        --      --
Carex scoparia               --        --      --
* Poa pratensis              --        --      --
Lysimachia terrestris        --        --      --
Others                       --      3.62    15.2
Totals                             131.58   200.0
Bare ground and litter               9.52

                           East Shrub Prairie
                           Freq.   Mean
Species                    %       Cover    I.V.

Spiraea tomentosa            64     11.24    12.9
Rubus hispidus               96     26.20    25.9
Onoclea sensibilis           76     11.40    14.0
Osmunda regalis              60     16.34    16.2
Solidago altissima            8      0.14     0.7
Carex longii                 28      1.50     3.3
Juncus dudleyi               12      0.06     1.0
Solidago gigantea             4      0.12     0.4
Eleocharis verrucosa         36      0.18     3.0
Liatris spicata              --        --      --
Viola lanceolata             36      0.38     3.2
Euthamia gymnospermoides     24      1.10     2.7
Agrimonia parviflora          8      0.14     0.7
Scirpus cyperinus             4      0.02     0.3
Dichanthelium acuminatum     24      0.12     2.0
Vernonia missurica           32      2.30     4.2
Bryophytes                   80     22.38    22.0
Andropogon virginicus        --        --      --
Ambrosia artemisiifolia      --        --      --
Coreopsis tripteris          --        --      --
Salix humilis                --        --      --
Bartonia virginica           28      0.14     2.3
Cornus obliqua               16      1.82     2.6
Aronia melanocarpa           76     20.50    20.4
Andropogon gerardii          64      4.98     8.6
Carex haydenii/stricta       56      4.16     7.7
Carex pensylvanica           32      3.68     5.2
Spiraea alba                 24      4.02     4.7
Lycopus uniflorus            48      0.74     4.3
Aster lanceolatus            40      1.18     4.0
Persicaria amphibium         40      1.08     4.0
Thelypteris palustris        20      2.04     3.0
Carex vulpinoidea            12      1.80     2.3
Carex scoparia               16      0.86     1.9
* Poa pratensis              16      0.76     1.8
Lysimachia terrestris        16      0.48     1.6
Others                       --      1.78    13.1
Totals                             143.64   200.0
Bare ground and litter               3.48

Table 3. Frequency (%), mean cover (% of total area), relative
frequency, relative cover, and importance value (I.V.) for the ground
layer species encountered in a sedge meadow at Wilmington Shrub
Prairie Nature Preserve, Will County, Illinois. (* exotics)

Species                     Freq. %    Mean    Rel.    Rel.    I. V.
                                      Cover    Freq.   Cover

Carex haydenii/stricta          100    27.12     7.9    21.4    29.3
Onoclea sensibilis              100    21.02     7.9    16.7    24.6
Thelypteris palustris            92    13.80     7.2    11.0    18.2
Calamagrostis canadensis        100    12.24     7.9     9.7    17.6
Agrimonia parviflora             92    11.90     7.2     9.5    16.7
Solidago gigantea                76     9.76     6.0     7.8    13.8
Aster praealtus                  72     8.88     5.6     7.1    12.7
Hypericum sphaerocarpum          96     5.36     7.5     4.3    11.8
Pycnanthemum virgnianum          68     1.34     5.3     1.0     6.3
Lycopus uniflorus                64     1.20     5.0     1.0     6.0
Galium obtusum                   68     0.34     5.3     0.3     5.6
Spiraea alba                     28     3.62     2.2     2.9     5.1
Lathyrus palustris               56     0.38     4.4     0.3     4.7
Helianthus grosseserratus        20     3.00     1.6     2.4     4.0
Persicaria amphibium             36     0.48     2.8     0.4     3.2
Boehmeria cylindrica             24     1.38     1.9     1.0     2.9
Lycopus americanus               32     0.36     2.5     0.3     2.8
Euthamia graminifolia            24     0.62     1.9     0.5     2.4
Solidago altissima               12     0.84     0.9     0.7     1.6
Bidens polylepis                 16     0.28     1.2     0.2     1.4
Stachys pilosa                   16     0.08     1.2     0.1     1.3
Ulmus americana                   8     0.62     0.6     0.5     1.1
Eleocharis palustris             12     0.16     0.9     0.1     1.0
Muhlenbergia mexicana             8     0.24     0.6     0.2     0.8
Epilobium leptophyllum            8     0.14     0.6     0.1     0.7
Verbena hastata                   8     0.14     0.6     0.1     0.7
Caltha palustris                  8     0.04     0.6      --     0.6
Apocynum cannabinum               4     0.12     0.3     0.1     0.4
Cornus obliqua                    4     0.12     0.3     0.1     0.4
Rubus allegheniensis              4     0.12     0.3     0.1     0.4
Scrirpis cyperinus                4     0.12     0.3     0.1     0.4
Acer saccharinum                  4     0.02     0.3      --     0.3
Epilobium coloratum               4     0.02     0.3      --     0.3
Geum laciniatum                   4     0.02     0.3      --     0.3
Liparis loeselii                  4     0.02     0.3      --     0.3
* Poa pratensis                   4     0.02     0.3      --     0.3
Totals                                125.92   100.0   100.0   200.0
Bare ground and litter                  5.50

Table 4. Plant density (#/ha) and stem density by basal diameter in
diameter classes of Cephalanthus occidentalis in three vegetation zones
of a buttonbush shrub swamp at Wilmington Shrub Prairie Nature
Preserve, Will County, Illinois.

                            Stems by Basal Diameter Classes (#/ha)
Vegetation Zones   Total    1.0-<2.5   >2.5-5.0   >5.1+   Total
                   Shrubs    cm         cm         cm     Stems
Swamp Margin
Totals             12400    17000       7000        --    24000
Mature Swamp
Totals             10400    10000      23000      7200    40200
Old-age Swamp
Totals              8600     8600      10000      8000    26600
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Author:Ebinger, John E.; Phillippe, Loy R.; Marcum, Paul B.
Publication:Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2011
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