$title="Physical Environment - Wetlands"; include "/local/php/ismsite/midewin/header.php"; ?>
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were common in Illinois prairies where topography and climate were
suitable. They provided habitat for plant species that required
wetter conditions and attracted a variety of birds, mammals, and
insects. Several types of wetland communities occur at Midewin,
distributed across the landscape in depressions and low areas. They
include seeps or springs, sedge meadows, and marshes. Some of these
wetlands are permanently wet, whereas others are only seasonally
wet such as shallow potholes. Prairie potholes are extremely
important to the waterfowl that depend upon them for food and
resting places during migration.
Sedge meadows are some of the most beautiful wetlands on the prairie. The grass-like sedges dominate, but numerous other species occur including swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and blue vervain (Verbena hastata), a striking, blue- or purple-flowered plant. Arrowhead (Sagittaria), with its distinctive, arrow-shaped leaves, occurs in the sedge meadows, as well as fox sedge (Carex vulpinoides), black bullrush (Scirpus atrovirens), and red bullrush (Scirpus lineatus). Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) and Prairie Cord grass (Spartina pectinata) may also occur in sedge meadows as they merge with wet prairies less dominated by sedges.
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