Successional Northern Sandplain Grassland
Successional northern sandplain grasslands are dominated by areas of open sand and native grasses including big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans). Typical herbaceous species include round-headed bushclover (Lespedeza capitata), butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), wild blue lupine (Lupinus perennis) and dotted horsemint (Mondarda punctata). Stiff-leaf aster (Ionactis linariifolius), whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia) and other native herbs may be present in lesser quantities. Trees and shrubs are sparse but typically include pitch pine, scrub oaks and blueberry.
Successional northern sandplain grasslands are the earliest successional ecological community that comprises the inland pine barrens ecosystem. In the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, they typically occur where significant restoration efforts have eliminated other less desirable plant communities. If managed properly, over time, successional northern sandplain grasslands will mature into pitch pine-scrub oak barrens.
Successional Northern Sandplain Grassland Quick Facts:
• Less than 25% shrub and sapling cover
• Predominantly prairie grasses with some wildflowers and herbaceous plants
• Less than 25% tree cover