April 7th, 2010: Prairie Dropseed

April 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm Leave a comment

2 days post burn at the International Crane Foundation

I took the above picture 2 days after a 30 acre prescribed burn at the International Crane Foundation.

12 days post burn at the International Crane Foundation

The second picture is one I took today. Less than two weeks post burn and the blackened earth is sprouting green. I was chatting with Shannon, one of the other naturalists here at ICF, and we thought that a lot of the green seen in the above picture may be invasive, cool-season grasses. But the photo posted below is definitely an image of a native prairie plant.

Spring sprouts of Prairie Dropseed

Peeking out from a blackened exterior, signs of spring (even on a dreary day like today). Prairie Dropseed (Sporobalus heterolepis) grows in clumps. One of the ecologists here calls it “Cousin It” grass, because it looks like an Adam’s Family character has been buried in the prairie soil, with just its head sticking out. The recent burn should trigger flowering in this year’s Prairie Dropseed plants, which are apparently very fragrant when in bloom. I’m excited!

I was lucky enough to experience ICF’s “burn school”, a two day course taught by our staff ecologists on the ecology and logistics of using prescribed fire as a restoration tool. Looks like the burn on ICF’s property is already working its magic on the landscape.

Entry filed under: General plants, Habitats, Restoration. Tags: .

March 20th, 2010: Sweet Home Wisconsin Wetland Birding in Lake County, Illinois

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