Home - Checklist of the Plants from the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge


Acorus calamus; Sweet Flag; Introduced (Eurasia); Rare. To date I have not yet been able to confirm its presence in the Refuge. The CCP lists this plant as A. americanus. This is very likely a misidentification. The range of  A. americanus, a native plant, is restricted to northern Illinois and areas northwest and east. Mohlenbrock lists it as occasional to common throughout the state. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Camassia scilloides; Wild Hyacinth; Native; Also classified in Hyacinthaceae or Liliaceae. Herbarium record: Mark Basinger, 1992, along Devil's Kitchen Road, accession no. 124383. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Alliaceae (or Amaryllidaceae)

Allium canadense; Wild Onion; Native; Locally common in dry forests, roadsides, and fields. It can be distinguished from the more abundant A. vineale by its flat, rather than hollow leaves. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Allium sativum; Garlic; Introduced (Eurasia); Locally common along roadsides, fields, and disturbed areas. Often occurs in impressive stands. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Allium tricoccum; Wild Ramp; Native; Herbarium specimen, W.W. Thomas, 1982 in CONWR, accession no. 90244. This species is occasional throughout the state. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Allium vineale; Field Garlic; Introduced (Europe); Our most abundant Allium. Ulaszek (1988) accurately lists this species as ubiquitous. The plant is considered an agricultural weed, popping up in fields and lawns everywhere. Easily recognized by its hollow leaves. New growth is very visible in woods and grassy places in late fall and winter. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Nothoscordum bivalve; False Garlic; Native. This pretty early-spring flower is locally common on glades along Devil's Kitchen Lake. Occasionally it will bloom again in the fall. Photos PhytoImages; USDA Plants


Alisma subcordatum; Synonym: Alisma plantago-aquatica var. parviflorum. Small-flowered Water Plantain; Native; CCP and Ulaszek (1988) list this plant under its former synonymous name. Locally common in wet habitats, such as in the Observation Pond wetland area west of Hwy 148. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Echinodorus berteroi; Upright (Tall) Burhead; Native; Rare. In Observation Pond area, west of Hwy 148. This plant is listed as threatened in Kentucky. As its common name suggests, this taxon can be distinguished from E. cordifolius by its erect, rather than creeping inflorescences. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Echinodorus cordifolius; Creeping Burhead; Native; Uncommon. In Observation Pond area, west of  Hwy 148. It also grows in muddy shallows of Crab Orchard Lake.  Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Sagittaria brevirostra; Short-beaked Arrowhead; Native; Herbarium specimen Bailey & Swayne 1949, Crab Orchard Lake and L. Umbright, 1981, at Grassy Lake boat ramp. The 1949 specimen (accession no. 97402) is clearly this species.  We can expect it to occur in the wetland areas of the Refuge. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Sagittaria calycina; Synonyms: Sagittaria montevidensis; Hooded Arrowhead; Native; Occasional. CCP and Ulaszek consider it rare. It can be found on muddy shores of Little Grassy Lake and in the A-41 wetland area. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Sagittaria latifolia; Common (Broad-leaved) Arrowhead; Native; Uncommon, even though this species is reputed to be the common Sagittaria in our area. It occurs along muddy shorelines of Crab Orchard Lake, e.g., at the northeast corner of the 148 Causeway. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Hymenocallis caroliniana; Synonyms: Hymenocallis occidentalis; Spider Lily; Native; Herbarium specimen Ugent & Mibb 1982, CONWR, accession no. 97518.  This is at the northern edge of this plant's range. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Narcissus poeticus; Poet's Narcissus; Introduced (Europe); Uncommon in woods, old fields and abandoned homesites. Fairly extensive stands can be found in the forests along Tacoma Lake Road. It tends to bloom a little later than N. pseudo-narcissusPhotos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Narcissus pseudonarcissus; Daffodil; Introduced (Europe); Always a welcome sight in the spring, this imported, naturalizing species is locally common along edges of woods, fields, abandoned homesites, and grassy areas. Throughout the Refuge. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Arisaema dracontium; Green Dragon; Native; Uncommon in woods. Its clusters of bright red berries render this plant more conspicuous in the fall. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Arisaema triphyllum; Jack-in-the-Pulpit; Native; Common in woods throughout the Refuge. The leaflet shape is variable. A number of subspecies have been proposed.  Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Lemna minor; Lesser Duckweed; Native; Common, locally abundant, in stagnant water, especially at edges of ponds and bays. Neither Ulaszek (1988) nor CCP lists a Lemna species. Mohlenbrock (2104) lists eight species of Lemna for our region. No doubt several of these occur in the Refuge. Identification is always a challenge. Closer and wider observation is needed.
Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Spirodela polyrhiza; Greater Duckweed; Native; Locally abundant in stagnant shallow water throughout the Refuge.  The two or more roots per frond allow one to easily distinguish this species from LemnaPhotos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Spirodela punctata; Greater Duckweed; Native; This plant occurs in abundance in the shallows of Crab Orchard Lake at the northeast corner of the Hwy 148 Causeway. The frond is much smaller and shaped differently than that of its larger relative, and it has no more than two or three roots. Floating the plant in a glass jar clearly reveals this feature. Apparently introduced as an aquarium plant.  Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Wolffia brasiliensis; Brazilian Watermeal; Native; Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Wolffia columbiana; Columbian Watermeal; Native; CCP reports this tiniest of all flowering plants as locally abundant. This judgment appears to be based on Ulaszek (1988) who reports the plant as locally abundant in one pond. Wolffia often appears as a mass at the surface of stagnant water. Given the miniscule size of each individual plant, any observation will find this species "in abundance." Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Wolffiella gladiata; Mud Midget; Native; CCP and Ulaszek (19888) also report this plant as locally abundant "in one pond." Mohlenbrock (2014) lists it as "not common." It is a very small linear plant, floating at or near the surface of stagnant water, easily overlooked. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Asparagus officinalis; Asparagus; Introduced (Europe); Common along roadsides and in fields throughout the Refuge. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Manfreda virginica; Synonyms: Agave virginica; False Aloe, Rattlesnake Master; Native; Uncommon. Ulaszek lists this plant -- omitted in CCP -- as locally common. It occurs in woodland roadsides at the north end of Devil's Kitchen Lake. The common name derives from the rattling of its seeds in the dry capsules. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Polygonatum biflorum; Small Solomon's Seal; Native; Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Polygonatum commutatum; Great Solomon's Seal; Native; Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Maianthemum racemosum; Synonyms: Smilacina racemosa; False Solomon's Seal; Native; Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Yucca flaccida; Synonyms: Yucca smalliana, Y. filamentosa var. smalliana; Yucca, Adam's Needle; Native; Uncommon, in abandoned homesites, e.g., the north side of the Harmony Trail forest, and roadsides, e.g., Rocky Bluff Trail. The taxonomy is unclear. Ulaszek (1988) identified the plants as Y. flaccida. The Flora North America treatment by Hess and Robbins (2002) treats Y. filamentosa of the SE US as distinct from Y. flaccida (including Y. smalliana) from the SE and Midwest. (Mohlenbrock (2014) distinguishes between Y. flaccida and Y. smalliana, using the presence or absence of pubescence in the inflorescence as a criterion, whereas in 2002 he judged them to be synonyms of Y. filamentosa. Jones considers Y. flaccida to be a distinct species, separate from Y. filamentosa var. smalliana. Yatskievych (1999) sees Y. filamentosa and Y. flaccida as synonyms for Y. smalliana. He sums all this up by saying "The taxonomy of Y. smalliana, Y. filamentosa, and Y. flaccida requires further study."  Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants


Commelina communis; Common Dayflower; Introduced (Asia); Locally common in moist disturbed areas and in woods and fields throughout the Refuge. The lower of its three petals is white Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Commelina diffusa; Small Dayflower; Native; Occasional. It can be found in the Wolf Creek Causeway area.  All three of its petals are blue. A dainty plant. Native. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Commelina virginica; Virginian Dayflower; Native; Rare. It can be found along the shore of South Grassy Bay. Like C. diffusa, its three petals are blue. The flowers and leaves are larger than those of C. diffusa, the plant as a whole sturdier and more upright. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Tradescantia ohiensis; Ohio Spiderwort; Native; Uncommon. In fields along Pigeon Creek Road, across from Harmony Trail. Its stem and leaves are decorated with a whitish bloom (glaucous). Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Tradescantia subaspera; Broad-leaved Spiderwort; Native; Locally common in woods. Easily found along Rocky Bluff Trail.  This species blooms throughout the summer. A relatively tall Spiderwort, recognized by its zig-zag stem. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants

Tradescantia virginiana; Virginia Spiderwort; Native; Common in dry woods. A beautiful spring flower. Photos Phytoimages; USDA Plants