McCune Sand Prairie

Place Category: Ecology, Geology, Nature & Outdoor Recreation, and Nature Sites

  • Profile

    This 200-acre rare prairie type was donated to the Natural Resources Conservation Service Bureau County District by Mr. and Mrs. J.D. McCune (120-acres) and the University of Illinois (80-acres). Due to the exceptionally sandy soil composition, sand prairies are exceedingly well-drained and are therefore even drier than typical Midwestern tallgrass prairies. However, the northern portion of this site supports tree and shrub growth, and is populated with sparse specimens of green ash, eastern red cedar, Osage orange, Iowa crabapple, prairie rose, red mulberry, and bur oak. Grasses and forbs common to the site include unusual prairie species such as sand bluestem and hairy grama grasses, Bicknell’s sedge, Scriber’s panic grass, hairy lens grass, clustered poppy mallow, Illinois tick trefoil, rough blazing star, marble seed, pale beard tongue, and even prickly pear cactus.

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