Indiana Species List
In the Forest
In the early 1800s, Indiana was home to more than 19.5 million acres of forest land. Since then, much has been lost to mining, pipelines, road construction, and other infrastructure. The remaining 4.9 million acres are looking forward to you visit.
The state tree of Indiana, is famous for its beautiful tulip-like blooms and unique four-point leaves. The fruits are cone-shaped and house winged seeds.
Easy to spot any time of year with their stunning mottled trunks, sycamores frequently boast leaves bigger than your head.
On the Prairie
Once covering 15% of Indiana land, most of the original prairie in the state has been lost to drainage, urbanization and agriculture. With less than 1% remaining nationwide, these species-rich prairies are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the country.
Typically flowering from August through November, tall goldenrod can reach up to 7 feet! Their tiny, yellow 5-pointed flowers grow in clusters and the plant often has galls mid-stem.
Milkweed is such a unique plant it's hard to miss! With large pod-like fruits, star-shaped flowers, and resident monarch caterpillars, you shouldn't miss this one!
Monarchs have orange wings with black veins and margins. The lack of a black line mid-wing distinguishes them from the viceroy butterfly. They hide a pair of legs and may appear to only have 4.
At the coastal Dunes
Spanning 23.5 square miles, Indiana Dunes is a state treasure of natural splendor. Explore the various ecosystems in this State and National Park. Did you know there are forested sand dunes in Allen County?
This flowering sedge produces spikes and in spring and produces shaggy seeds. It spreads horizontally using rhizomes, similar to roots.
Both sexes have all-black wings and legs. While the males are metallic blue and green, females tend to be bronze with white spots near the tip of their wings.
At the Wetlands
At one time, 25 percent of Indiana was covered by wetlands. That percentage has dwindled to four (4) percent. Protect these endangered and valuable natural spaces, by observing and recording the phenological data of the plants and animals you find there.
Easy to identify by its dark, furrowed bark, these trees possess yellow catkin flowers that produce small reddish-brown capsules that contain small, furry seeds. Black willows can grow to a height of 100 feet.
This fully-aquatic plant is often located about 1-6 feet above the water. It possess 1 simple, blue-green, basal leaf about 7-36" wide and its flower is yellow or light yellow, cup-like and 4-10" wide.
Dense Blazing Star
The fluffy purple flowers bloom late in the season after other blazing stars are finished blooming. The tufts of grass-like basal foliage become sparse as they move up the 3-6-foot rigid stems.
Invasive species pose a threat to the balance of our ecosystems by prolific coverage of limited niches, direct competition, and even decimating entire communities of native species. Observing the life cycles of these plants and animals helps us understand how to better manage them.
Sweet-scented blooms commonly grow in pairs on these deciduous shrubs. Hollow stems easily distinguish invasive honeysuckles from beneficial natives.
This annual invasive averages 600 seeds per plant in tube-like fruits. Flowers have four parts and leaves are toothed and triangular or heart-shaped. Edible.
Emerald Ash Borer
This destructive beetle is rarely longer than 1/3" and is distinguished from local Agrilus spp. by their red upper abdomen, visible only when its wings are open.
In the Garden
Nature is all around you, even in the big cities. Peek out your window in search of birds, grow some plants on your porch, or take a walk at your nearest park!
Live in the country? You can observe crops and help scientists and farmers determine the best times to plant and harvest!
Growing from 1 to 5 feet, coneflowers have both ray flowers (the long purple petals) and disk flowers (clustered in the center).
The state bird of Indiana, cardinals have head crests, coral-colored beaks and black face masks. The females may have red on their wings and tails while males are bright red allover.