Nature  Wildflowers and grasses Some areas of the Old Plank Road Trail have never been cultivated. The right-of-way for the Oswego and Indiana Plank Road was bought around 1850, only a couple decades after the first settlers came to Will and Cook Counties and much of the land was native tall grass prairie as it ad been for centuries. Many of the plants pictured are native prairie flowers and grasses that were rediscovered in the early 1970s when the abandoned railroad right-of-way was inventoried. Over 200 plants unique only to prairies along with over 2,000 species of animals, birds (175 and counting), and insects not ordinarily seen except in prairies make up this unique trail right-of-way. 
Compass Plant - Silphium laciniatum Ox-eye Daisy - Chrysanthemum leucanthemum Shooting Star - Dodecatheon meadia Shooting Star - Dodecatheon meadia Foxglove Beardtongue -  Penstemon digitalis Gray-Headed Coneflower -  Ratibida pinnata Queen Anne's Lace (European introduction) -  Daucus carota Flowering Spurge -  Euphorbia corollata Puccoon Common Spiderwort -  Tradescantia ohiensis Yarrow Common Valerian -  Valeriana edulis Thistle Burning prairie to control weeds and shrubs Photo by Jim Nugent Dame's Rocket (European invasive) -  Hesperis matronalis Photo by Jim Nugent photo by Jim Nugent
Butterfly weed - Asclepias tuberosa
Wetland Bee on Silky Aster - Aster sericeus Spring Beauty - Claytonia virginica Spring snake sunning on the trail Bloodroot - Sanguinaria canadensis Obedient plant - Physotegia virginiana Hoary Puccoon - Lithospermum canescens Dragonfly Purple Coneflower Shooting Star - Dodecatheon meadia
Page Notes: The book, Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers: A Field Guide, was helpful in identifying the plants pictured on this page. It was written by Doug Ladd with photos by Frank Oberle and others. It was published in 1995 by the Globe Pequot Press of Guilford, Connecticut. Let me know if you have comments or corrections. Thanks for identification assistance: Tinley Park Public Library staff Keith G. Nowakowski, Landscape Architect 
photo by Jim Nugent Photo by Jim Nugent
Click Here for a listing of flora along a selected stretch of the Old Plan Road Trail in Rich Township.
Click Here for a listing of flora along a selected stretch of the Old Plan Road Trail in Rich Township.
Old Plank Road Trail
A 22-mile recreation and nature trail in northeastern Illinois
Rich Twp. Flora Inventory Rich Twp. Flora Inventory Rich Twp. Flora Inventory Rich Twp. Flora Inventory