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Prairie Grasses

Past and Potential for Ontario's Natural Heritage - Page 1

No living man will see again the long-grass prairie,
where a sea of prairie flowers lapped at the stirrups of the pioneer.

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

Members of the grass family, Poaceae, are represented throughout Ontario and can be found in Ontario's characteristic ecological communities, from Great Lakes wetlands to rich deciduous forests to northern tundra (Dore and McNeill 1980). Virtually unknown to most, there are ecological communities in the province in which Poaceae is the characteristic and dominant plant family. Collectively called tallgrass communities, these include prairies and savannas in southern Ontario. These ecological communities and their resident flora and fauna have an interesting if somewhat tragic history, and this story deserves to be told to and learned by the millions of Ontarians that currently live on or near "tallgrass Ontario." A small but growing contingent of people is working to let Ontarians know about the part that tallgrass played in our natural and cultural history, and of the beauty and special attributes of tallgrass flora and fauna. Tallgrass restoration work may provide a way to re-engage people with nature in a positive, non-destructive way while helping to heal the natural landscape.
Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 References Appendix 1

| What are plant families? | How do we distinguish them? | How and why do we study them? | Selected vascular plant families of Ontario | Reading List | Course outline |

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Page design © 1999 T. A. Dickinson; essay text and illustrations © 1998 Lindsay Rodger except as noted.
Please send your comments to tim.dickinson@utoronto.ca; last updated 7-May-99

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