Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) and prairie dock leaves (Silphium terebinthinaceum) growing at Rockhill Prairie. Photo by Bruce Schuette
About ROckhill Prairie
In June 2021, the Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) donated three properties to MPF, including this 68-acre property in Benton County. The other two TNC-donated properties are Goodnight-Henry Prairie in Pettis County and Shelton L. Cook Meadow Memorial Meadow in Barton County.
“As The Nature Conservancy’s global priorities have evolved to include food and water security, addressing the climate crisis, and building healthy cities—along with protecting biodiversity—we increasingly seek alliances with partners to collectively advance the conservation we all envision for the future,” said Adam McLane, The Nature Conservancy’s Missouri State Director. “We recognize the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s leadership in excellent prairie stewardship. We know that these three properties will be in good hands and that the Foundation’s supporters will enjoy them.”
Rockhill Prairie is a rolling, rocky prairie with an almost gladelike character. While the whole site was originally prairie, considerable woody encroachment has occurred in the eastern portion, and through the valleys and swales. The prairie openings, though, are very diverse and have an abundance of remnant-dependent plants. Over the past few years, MPF has removed some brush at this site in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and plans to carry out more to favor prairie-remnant dependent species.
The prairie is considered to be dry-mesic chert prairie (S3) and dry limestone/dolomite prairie (S2). A plant list for the prairie includes 305 native species (339 total species), with an average Coefficient of Conservatism of 4.06 and 34 remnant-dependent plant species, indicating high floristic integrity. The federally listed Mead’s milkweed (Asclepias meadii – G2,S2) occurs here. Rockhill Prairie was identified in a 1984 Natural Areas Inventory and was acquired by The Nature Conservancy in 1988.
Rockhill Prairie is located at the southeastern quadrant of the intersection of Hwy 65 and Hwy BB, approximately 6 miles north of Warsaw in Benton County. Legal description: S22, T41N, R22W.