A prairie is an ecosystem made up mostly of grasses and forbs (flowering plants). The sand prairies of Illinois Beach are home to species such as Indian grass, little bluestem, and Prickly Pear Cactus. Other common plants in the prairie include big bluestem, bedstraws, spiderwort, phlox, sunflowers, coneflowers, anemones, star grasses, blazing stars and many others. The prairie is a nesting area for many species of grassland birds.

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