Lespedeza leptostachya (prairie bush clover)

Since 2000, we have been monitoring populations of this federally threatened gravel hill prairie species at Nachusa Grasslands in Franklin Grove, Illinois, and at Harlem Hills Nature Preserve (part of Rock Cut State Park in Rockford, Illinois) to determine best management practices. In 2014, the stewards at Nachusa Grasslands introduced bison to the site, and we will be studying the response. Bison increase the spatial heterogeneity of the landscape by grazing and other activities, opening up potential habitat for prairie bush clover. We will be using remote sensing techniques to capture this landscape-scale phenomenon and integrate the findings with our ongoing population studies (Vitt, Havens-Young, and outside collaborators).

Lespedeza leptostachya in bloom