MPF’s Linden’s Prairie. Photo: R.S. Kinerson
Visit a Prairie
Help celebrate National Prairie Day by visiting a prairie near you.
Missouri Public Prairies
List of Public Prairies
Boone County, Arkansas. Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission / The Nature Conservancy. Baker Prairie is representative of the prairie that once existed on the Springfield Plateau of the Ozark Mountains. It is the largest known tract of Ozark prairie that occurs on a chert substrate. The prairie harbors several species of plants and animals of special concern in Arkansas. Baker Prairie’s timely protection was especially important due to its location within the growing city of Harrison.
Brazos Bend State Park
Fort Bend County, Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife. This park comprises 400 acres of fairly good Indian grass-little bluestem tall grass coastal prairie and is managed through periodic prescribed burning and mowing. It is the best example of coastal prairie on department lands, and is an important aspect of the park interpretive program. Future plans call for introduction of population of Attwater’s Prairie Chicken, common here about 40 years ago.
Pettis County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. The Bruns Tract is located in Pettis County on Hope Dale Road, about 10 miles southwest of Sedalia. This project involves converting a crop field to a diverse mix of grasses and forbs under the Conservation Reserve Program’s Conservation Practice 25– Restoration and Management of a Declining Habitat. The 160-acre property is located within the Green Ridge Grasslands Coalition Focus Area in Pettis County and lies between two properties managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Buffalo Gap National Grassland
Fall River / Pennington / Jackson / Custer County, South Dakota. US Forest Service. Buffalo Gap National Grassland, located in Wall, South Dakota, is part of the badlands area in southwest South Dakota. Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 600,000-acre prairie includes a visitor center that offers information on all 20 national grassland areas, along with an educational exhibit about Buffalo Gap National Grassland. The grassland is free to visit and is open 24 hours year-round. Guests can enjoy dirt-bike trails, hiking areas and horseback riding throughout the grassland. A developed trail offers 5.5-mile and 15-mile loops that include educational markers. There are many opportunities for nature and wildlife photos throughout this large grassland area, where visitors might find black-footed ferret, prairie dogs, deer, coyotes, badgers, gophers, red fox and a variety of birds.
Newton County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. Carver Prairie is a 160-acre tract in Newton County that was acquired by the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) in December 2015 with funding from a 2013 award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serve and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Award funds were made available as a result of a Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) settlement with ASARCO, a lead mining and smelting company whose operations created environmental damage while it operated in Jasper and Newton Counties over the last century.
Franklin County, Arkansas. Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. Cherokee Prairie Natural Area is one of the largest remaining tracts of tallgrass prairie in the Arkansas Valley. Located just north of Charleston, this tract is a high-quality prairie representative of the more extensive Cherokee Prairies that once occurred across the western portion of the Arkansas Valley. The natural area contains a diverse array of forb species (herbaceous species other than grasses) including compass plant, purple prairie clover, and Indian paintbrush. It also supports a number of plant and animal species that are now considered rare, or even endangered. Prairie Creek flows through the center of the natural area.
Dade County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. Coyne Prairie is an 80-acre original prairie in Dade County, an important high quality prairie anchor in the Golden Grasslands Conservation Opportunity Area. MPF purchased Coyne Prairie in June 2006. Coyne lies one-half mile southwest of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Niawathe Prairie Natural Area (320 acres) and less than two miles southeast of Stony Point Prairie Conservation Area (960 acres).
Cressmoor Prairie Nature Preserve
Lake County, Indiana. Shirley Heinze Land Trust. Cressmoor Prairie Nature Preserve, located in Hobart, Indiana, is a rare, 36-acre prairie ecosystem that is composed of pure silt-loam soil and provides a rich growth bed for natural prairie flowers. Cressmoor has a 2-mile mowed trail through the 5-foot-tall prairie grass. Visitors will see prairie flower specimens that include varieties of indigo, gentian, prairie dock and compass plant. Other prairie species that bloom throughout the summer and fall include asters, blazing star, goldenrod, lily and sunflowers. The preserve is free to the public and has a parking lot near the start of the trail system.
Franklin County, Texas. Native Prairies Association of Texas. A spectacular and pristine 922 acres of rare Silveus’ Dropseed-Longspike Tridens Prairie northeast of Mount Vernon. Also present are plentiful big bluestem, little bluestem, switchgrass, and indiangrass. Picturesque mima mounds, the tallest in the state, are a feature of alfisol prairies and support a different suite of plants which prefer the slightly drier, better drained soil on the mounds. Depressions within the native prairie create vernal wet areas which are dominated by hydrophilic forbs. Owned by BF Hicks. Conservation easement by Native Prairies Association of Texas. Please sign up for our newsletter to learn of open days.
Barton County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. The Denison and Lattner Prairies are adjacent to each other, encompassing 440 contiguous acres on the Vernon and Barton County line, three miles west of Sheldon. The original 240 acres at the site were acquired in 1993 and are high quality native prairie with a total of 320 recorded plant species. Since that time an additional 200 acres, sometimes called the Rader tracts, were acquired and restoration is underway. Edgar and Ruth Denison were members of MPF. Mr. Denison is most known in Missouri for his work with native wildflowers for the Missouri Department of Conservation. The Forrest Lattner family was a major financial contributor to MPF.
Story County, Iowa. Story County. Doolittle Prairie is a 40-acre tract of pothole prairie. It is a blaze of color from May through October as prairie wildflowers and grasses bloom. The pothole areas provide valuable habitat for wetland wildlife. Doolittle Prairie is utilized by the Environmental Education Program as an outdoor classroom, with many classes using it as a destination for their field trips.
Pettis County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. Located in Pettis County approximately 10 miles south of Sedalia, this 80 acre site is named for the cattle drovers who historically came through the region. The property was saved by MPF in 1981. A total of 257 plant species have been recorded here, including Michigan lily, prairie hyacinth, seedbox and cord grass in some of the wetter areas. Greater prairie-chickens have historically utilized Drovers Prairie. Drovers Prairie is a key part of the Grasslands Coalition’s Hi Lonesome Focus Area. It is approximately two miles southwest of Paint Brush Prairie Conservation Area (314 acres) and four miles northwest of Hi Lonesome Prairie Conservation Area (627 acres).
Pettis County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. Friendly Prairie is named for the historic use of the site as an informal stop for travelers. A total of 257 plant species have been recorded from Friendly Prairie and 52 bird species have been identified here, including greater prairie-chickens. Friendly Prairie is approximately one mile north of Drovers Prairie, less than two miles west of Paint Brush Prairie Conservation Area (314 acres) and approximately five miles northwest of Hi Lonesome Prairie Conservation Area (627 acres). It is included in the Grasslands Coalition’s Hi Lonesome Focus Area.
Vernon County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. This 116 acre site in Vernon County was saved by MPF in 1976. MPF owns 76 acres here and the Missouri Department of Conservation owns an addition 40 acres that it purchased in 1984. The name is derived from the showy prairie flowers of the genus Liatris. A total of 305 plant species have been recorded from the site. Gay Feather Prairie is cooperatively managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation and MPF.
Barton County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. This site forms the anchor of the Grasslands Coalition’s Golden Focus Area in Barton County. The original 320 acres of Golden Prairie were saved by MPF between 1970 and 1975 and was declared a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in May 1975. A total of 310 acres were added in 2002 and are being restored. In addition, 480 acres to the west of the original Golden Prairie is cooperatively managed by the neighboring private landowner. In effect, 1,100 acres are now managed as a unit. A total of 345 plant species have been recorded at Golden Prairie and greater prairie-chickens have been photographed extensively on the site.
Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park
Shelby County, Iowa. Museum of Danish America.
Enjoy a commanding view of the lush Iowa hills and 30 acres of recreated prairie surrounding the Museum of Danish America in the Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park. Designed in 2011 and installed in 2012, the park is intended to celebrate the life and work of Jens Jensen, a Danish immigrant who became one of America’s leading landscape architects. A colleague of Frank Lloyd Wright, Jensen pioneered the “Prairie School” of landscape architecture and is celebrated today as an early advocate for native plants and the conservation of natural spaces.
By restoring native plant life and hydrology, the park aims to provide wildlife and pollinator habitat and to increase plant diversity. It also has the potential to emulate an Iowa prairie in the manner that homesteaders may have encountered when they first settled here, before all of the changes that those same homesteaders brought.
Kirchoff Family Farm
Wilson County, Texas. Native Prairies Association of Texas.
Kirchoff Family Farm features three geologic formations (Leona Formation, Wellborn Formation, and Cadell Formation) and five soil mapping units (Coy clay loam, Buchel clay, Saspamco fine sandy loam, and Loire and Divot soils). The property supports reestablished grasslands in the fields that were previously utilized for agriculture then reseeded as well as a dense, woody plant community commonly found in South Texas. Native prairie habitat has been restored on blackland prairie of the Kirchoff Family Farm. Two natural riparian areas exhibit Tamaulipan floodplain habitat containing few invasive species.
Geary / Riley County, Kansas. Kansas State University. Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS) is located on a 3,487 hectare native tallgrass prairie preserve jointly owned by The Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University. The KPBS is located in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas, a grassland region of steep-slopes overlain by shallow limestone soils unsuitable for cultivation.
La Petite Gemme Prairie
Polk County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. This small prairie in Polk County takes its name, meaning the Little Gem, from the French heritage of the area. It lies along the Ozark Highroad Trail that runs from Willard to Bolivar. The entire site has been declared a state Natural Area by the Missouri Department of Conservation. A total of 321 plant species occur here. The site was saved by MPF in 1974 and has slowly been surrounded by development. It is cooperatively managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation and MPF.
Vernon County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. The Denison and Lattner Prairies are adjacent to each other, encompassing 440 contiguous acres on the Vernon and Barton County line, three miles west of Sheldon. The original 240 acres at the site were acquired in 1993 and are high quality native prairie with a total of 320 recorded plant species. Since that time an additional 200 acres, sometimes called the Rader tracts, were acquired and restoration is underway. Edgar and Ruth Denison were members of MPF. Mr. Denison is most known in Missouri for his work with native wildflowers for the Missouri Department of Conservation. The Forrest Lattner family was a major financial contributor to MPF.
Lawther – Deer Park Prairie
Harris County, Texas. Native Prairies Association of Texas. A 51 acre example of one of the most endangered ecosystems and called a “platinum prairie” with over 300 native species of plants. Animals that live here include pocket gophers, three-toed box turtles, Eastern meadowlarks, black bellied tree ducks, red-winged blackbirds, black-shouldered kite and many others. Less than 1 % of the 9 million acres of coastal prairie of Texas and Louisiana remains. Only a few of the remaining ones are high quality and even fewer can be found within an urban area. This prairie is located in the heart of industrial oil centered Houston metroplex within the city of Deer Park.
Falls County, Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife. An 11-acre Blackland Prairie remnant with gilgais conserved by Correne (Lehmann) Dragoo’s as a family hay meadow for several generations, Conservation easement by Native Prairies Association of Texas. Please sign up for our newsletter to learn of open days.
Lawrence County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. Linden’s Prairie is a 171-acre original prairie in Lawrence County near the town of Mount Vernon. It was purchased in 2014 and named for Ms. Linden Trial, a Missouri Prairie Foundation member and dragonfly and damselfly researcher for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Funds from a generous bequest from Linden Trial and a grant from the Robert J. Trulaske, Jr., Family Foundation made the purchase possible. The prairie had been owned, protected and managed by the Cox Family for generations. The prairie is known for its high native prairie plant quality.
Maddin Prairie Preserve
Mitchell County, Texas. Native Prairies Association of Texas. Maddin Prairie Preserve features remnant and restored mixed-grass prairie, mesquite savanna, and riparian areas. A tributary of Champion Creek passes through the property and features a diverse riparian area.
Mary Talbot Prairie
Bowie County, Texas. Native Prairies Association of Texas. Mary Talbot Prairie (formerly known as Godley Prairie) is a rare *Silveus’ dropseed prairie that NPAT was able to acquire through the efforts of numerous parties. Jason Singhurst, TPWD botanist and NPAT board member first brought this property to our attention. It had recently been listed for sale and the prospect of losing another example of Texas living history was a major concern.
Matagorda County, Texas. US Fish and Wildlife Service. An estimated 500-750 acres of barrier island strand / seacoast bluestem prairie are fenced in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to exclude grazing so that the tract can be managed as a natural community. Sometimes called salt meadow, this narrow grassland occurs in the high sandy ridges behind the dunes and above the marsh grasslands. Very little of this community type remains in Texas.
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
Will County, Illinois. US Forest Service. The Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (MNTP) is a tallgrass prairie reserve and United States National Grassland operated by the United States Forest Service. The first national tallgrass prairie ever designated in the U.S. and the largest conservation site in the Chicago Wilderness region, it is located on the site of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant between the towns of Elwood, Manhattan and Wilmington in northeastern Illinois.
Monahans Sandhills State Park
Ward County, Texas. Texas Parks and Wildlife. The park features a very interesting tall grassland community within the Chihuahuan Desert. Tall grasses such, as giant sandreed, sand bluestem, Havard panicum and little bluestem exist together in mosaic with Havard oak on deep windblown sands. This community type is related to those found on deep sands elsewhere in the Trans-Pecos (e.g., The Nature Conservancy’s Gypsum Dunes Preserve) and eastward in deep sands throughout the Rolling Plains. However, few good undisturbed examples remain.
Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie
Wabaunsee County, Kansas. Mount Mitchell Prairie Guards. The Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie is a 45-acre public park in Wabaunsee County given to the people of Kansas in 1953 as a memorial to the Freestate Beecher Bible and Rifle Colony and one of its leaders, Captain William Mitchell. Ruts and swales from the territorial Topeka/Fort Riley Road are also a feature of the park.
Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
Jasper County, Iowa. US Fish and Wildlife Service. Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge (tallgrass.org), located in Prairie City, Iowa, features more than 5,000 acres of restored prairie grass, including tallgrass prairie, oak savanna and sedge meadow. Many of the grass varieties were seeded from plants rescued within the refuge and other prairie areas in the state. Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge includes a Prairie Learning Center building that includes an exhibit about the prairie, a movie theater and bookstore. The center is free to the public and open seven days per week. The outdoor refuge is free for the public to visit throughout the year from dusk to dawn, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Noah Brown’s Prairie
Newton County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation.
Noah Brown’s Prairie is a 19-acre tract in Newton County that was acquired in 2017. The prairie includes many rarer wildflowers that in Missouri, range only into the southwest part of the state, including Barbara’s buttons (Marshallia caespitosa) and Tharp’s spiderwort (Tradescantia tharpii). Prior to European settlement, more than one-third of Missouri’s landscape was native prairie. A large swath of prairie extended southeast of Joplin and eastward where the town of Diamond would be built. This prairie, locally called Diamond Grove Prairie, was 14 miles long and up to 5 miles wide. Today, only scattered remnants remain, but they are vital habitat for many prairie plants and animals and beautiful areas for people to enjoy.
Ojibway Prairie Complex
Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The Ojibway Prairie Complex is a collection of five closely situated natural areas totaling more than 340 acres (835 hectares) within a 10 minute drive from downtown. The Ojibway Nature Centre administers four of these areas which are owned by the City of Windsor – Ojibway Park, Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park, Black Oak Heritage Park, and Spring Garden Natural Area, collectively designated as the Ojibway Prairie Remnants Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI), as well as the Ontario Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, owned by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. The most striking aspect of the Ojibway Prairie Complex is the tremendous variety of vegetation and animal life. Wetlands, forest, savanna and prairie provide habitat for a great number of rare plants, insects, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Paul Mathews Prairie
Franklin County, Texas. Native Prairies Association of Texas. A 100-acre Blackland Prairie remnant north of Floyd that is an excellent example of a vertisolic (gumbo clay) prairie with very pronounced gilgai formations. Vigorous populations of tallgrass species such as eastern gamagrass, switchgrass, and indiangrass. Owned by Native Prairies Association of Texas. Conservation easement by The Nature Conservancy. Please sign up for our newsletter to learn of open days.
Pawnee National Grasslands
Weld County, Colorado. US Forest Service. Pawnee National Grasslands is located in Briggsdale, Colorado, about 35 miles east of Fort Collins. The grassland area in the northeastern part of the state is about 193,000 acres of natural grasses and wildlife. Trails are scattered throughout Pawnee National Grasslands for hiking, bird-watching and viewing geological features of the prairie. Guests might see raptor nesting areas, mountain plover and burrowing owl. Animals that live in the grassland include mule deer, prairie dogs, swift fox and coyote. Camping and horseback riding are allowed in the grasslands. The Pawnee National Grasslands area does not have a learning or welcome center.
Dade County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. This 160-acre site was saved by MPF in 1971 and lies approximately one mile southwest of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Niawathe Prairie Natural Area (320 acres) and less than two miles southeast of Stony Point Prairie Conservation Area (960 acres). Heavily invaded by brush when purchased, MPF’s prairie operations manager has restored this original prairie to its open splendor. A total of 288 plant species have been recorded from Penn-Sylvannia, which is named for historical towns in the area. Check out our 2015 Floristic Integrity Assessment Report, which documents the rich diversity found at this prairie (35 different species were found in one quarter meter plot!). In June 2006, MPF purchased 80 acres to the north of Penn-Sylvannia, called Coyne Prairie. MPF helps manage the 80 acres of original prairie between Coyne and Penn-Sylvania, which is owned by a private individual.
Pleasant Run Creek Prairie
Vernon County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. Pleasant Run Creek is a 180-acre tract located across the road from Denison Prairie. It includes 84 acres of original, dry-mesic sandstone prairie and prairie swale communities. The wooded corridor that bisects the prairie includes a drainage that contributes to nearby Pleasant Run Creek. MPF purchased this land in 2014.
Prairie Fork Expansion
Callaway County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation / Missouri Department of Conservation. MPF and the Missouri Department of Conservation are working together with the University of Missouri and the private Prairie Fork Trust to create a 1,000 acre conservation area in Callaway County. MPF owns 200 acres of former crop fields that are being restored to a rich mix of native wildflowers and grasses. To date, 120 acres have been planted and restoration continues. Seed collected from the University of Missouri’s Tucker Prairie, the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Whetstone and Danville Conservation Areas and other area prairie remnants have been used to supplement seed purchases from vendors who raise local ecotype seed.
Prairie State Park
Barton County, Missouri. Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Tallgrass prairies once covered more than a third of Missouri; today, less than one percent remains, much of it preserved at Prairie State Park. Visitors to the park see panoramic vistas of swaying grass and ever-changing wildflowers. They also may spot an elk or the park’s resident bison herd. The park’s Regal Tallgrass Prairie Nature Center offers exhibits and interpretive programs designed to inform visitors about the special place.
Falls County, Texas. Native Prairies Association of Texas. A 5-acre gem of Blackland Prairie east of Waco.
Adair County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. Runge Prairie is located in Adair County on Timber View Trail, about 12 miles southwest of Kirksville.
San Jacinto County, Texas. Native Prairies Association of Texas. This property contains several ecotypes found throughout east Texas including pocket prairies and Catahoula barrens surrounded by pine, hardwood, and bottomland forest. This lush forest and grassland region on the banks of Lake Livingston will not only be conserved in perpetuity itself but also connects several other conservation easements into a larger, contiguous conserved area.
Saint Clair County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. This 240-acre site was saved by MPF in 1991. It is named for conservation pioneers Charles W. and Elizabeth R. Schwartz. More than 390 native plants, including Geocarpon minimum, known from fewer than 50 sites on earth, have been recorded at Schwartz Prairie. Other rare species found on the site include prairie mole crickets and prairie fringed orchids.
McLennan County, Texas. Native Prairies Association of Texas. After growing up in the area and learning about prairies, Mike remembered seeing prairie before the area of Simpson Prairie became overgrazed. Mike then searched for and found part of the overgrazed prairie, purchased it, and restored Simpson Prairie. Mike has used seed hay from Simpson Prairie in area prairie restoration and plantings. Simpson Prairie is a prairie remnant of the Grand Prairie (Lampasas Cut Plains of the Cross Timbers and Prairies) on a gently sloping hillside. Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), and Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) are dominant grasses.
Snowball Hill Prairie
Cass County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. This 22 acre prairie, within a 76 acre tract, was acquired and saved in 2015 by the Platte Land Trust and Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF), and is owned by MPF. The prairie is named for the isolated hill on which the prairie occurs. This high quality prairie ranges from the drier hilltop to a mesic prairie at the base of the hill. Snowball Hill Prairie is one of the highest quality prairies remaining in the Greater Kansas City Region. Plans call for prairie reconstruction on some of the adjacent land.
Stark Family Prairie
Hickory County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. Stark Family Prairie is located approximately 5 miles east of Cross Timbers in Hickory County. It is accessible at the intersection of Highways P & F (the south side of P and east side of F.) The 34-acre Stark Family Prairie was bequeathed to MPF in 2013 from the Ann Louise Stark Trust, who loved prairie wildflowers and wished to protect the land. To guide stewardship of this new acquisition, MPF will develop a management plan, which will include invasive species control.
Vernon County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. In 1995 the Kansas City Southern Railroad donated 376 acres in Vernon County to MPF. Approximately half of the acreage is high-quality native prairie and the rest is in need of restoration, including heavy tree removal. The site is named for Arthur Stilwell, founder of the railroad that forms the western boundary of the site. More than 350 plant species have been recorded at Stilwell.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Chase County, Kansas. National Park Service / The Nature Conservancy. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve was established in 1996. It is the only unit of the National Park System dedicated to the rich natural and cultural history of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. This 10,894 acre portion of the once vast tallgrass prairie is being preserved as a critical resource for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of this and future generations. It is a unique private/public partnership between the National Park Service (the primary land manager) and The Nature Conservancy (the primary landowner).
Tallgrass Prairie Preserve
Osage County, Oklahoma. The Nature Conservancy. The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, located in Osage County, Oklahoma near Foraker, Oklahoma, is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. It is protected as the largest tract of remaining tallgrass prairie in the world. The preserve contains 39,000 acres (160 km2) owned by the Conservancy and another 6,000 acres (24 km2) leased in what was the original tallgrass region of the Great Plains that stretched from Texas to Manitoba.
Tandy Hills Natural Area
Tarrant County, Texas. Tandy Hills Natural Area (THNA) is a 160-acre indigenous remnant of Fort Worth prairie located in the heart of Fort Worth, Texas. The land was obtained by the City of Fort Worth Parks and Community Services Department in 1960 and designated a “natural area” in 1987. Noted for its unusually complete collection of prairie flora, THNA contains more than 600 native plant species. The show of spring wildflowers is unsurpassed in the DFW Metroplex. The land is a living example of how most of Fort Worth and the Great Plains appeared in predevelopment times. The fact that it has never been plowed or developed and survived into the 21st century in relatively pristine condition is remarkable.
Lee County, Texas. Native Prairies Association of Texas. The Tanglewood site is a very good example of post oak savanna grassland. It is dominated by native perennial midgrasses, has high species diversity but only a few exotics, and might readily be managed with fire during periods of westerly winds. The only reservation about a quality assessment is that there is nothing to compare the site to, since the botanical and conservation communities have paid scant attention to post oak savanna communities in Texas and thus qualitative assessments of other sites are lacking.
Callaway County, Missouri. University of Missouri. This prairie contains hardpan soil that means it contains a claypan that restricts drainage. During the winter and spring months the water table is often perched just a foot below ground on the flattest portion of the prairie. In the summer and fall this soil can become quite dry. Characteristic prairie plants found here include big bluestem, rattlesnake master, downy gentian, downy sunflower and prairie blazing star. The hardpan soil with its seasonal saturation supports populations of grassland crayfish whose burrows are used by northern crawfish frogs.
Twenty-Five Mile Prairie
Polk County, Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation. This prairie was part of a larger prairie known to early settlers as the twenty-five mile prairie. Today this prairie remnant is the best and largest high quality piece left. Most prairies that occurred on soils developed in loess deposits over limestone and shale bedrock were converted to row crops and or exotic cool-season grasses (mainly tall fescue). This prairie was spared that and was maintained for decades as a hay meadow. Unlike most remnant prairies in the Ozarks and Osage Plains ecoregions, the surface soils of this prairie range from just slightly acidic to neutral in reaction. Because of this, many plant species that require higher levels of nutrients in the soil, including calcium, are more prevalent here than on prairies developed over sandstone bedrock. Prairie turnip, scurfy pea, white upland aster, prairie dock, aromatic aster, Missouri coneflower, and narrow-leaved milkweed all are characteristic of soils with a calcareous influence. Prairie turnip was an important native plant food in the diet of Native Americans in portions of the Midwest. In addition to plants, keep a lookout for the rare regal fritillary butterflies that make their home here. Their caterpillars feed only on violets that grow on prairies, such as prairie, arrow-leaved and bird’s foot violets. Because of this picky diet, regal fritillaries live in few other places. Dickcissel and field sparrow are common grassland birds here.
Dade County, Missouri. Missouri Prairie Foundation. Purchased in 2010 thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Clifford Welsch, the 80-acre Welsch Tract lies immediately west of MPF’s Coyne Prairie.Since 2010, MPF has performed intensive restoration of the tract, which contained a historic but degraded 16-acre savanna, 17 acres of impenetrable brush and invasive exotic plants, and a 47-acre crop field. The savanna has been thinned, revealing the its original canopy structure. In early 2013, 15 mixes of locally harvested prairie plant seed were seeded to the former crop field. Brush, honeysuckle, and other invasives have been tackled. Additional work is needed to complete restoration, including seeding herbaceous plants in the savanna. Witnessing the recovery of this tract of land is exciting, and we invite others to tour the land.