Plants & Animals

Ninety-seven Loess Hills plant and animal species are of special interest to experts because they are either eastern species on the western edge of their range, western species on the eastern end of their range, or are among the 39 listed by the state of Iowa as endangered, threatened or of special concern.  In fact, this region has one of the largest concentrations of rare species in the state.

The grounds of the center contain a wide variety of plant species, including the following. Those underlined are endangered, threatened or of special concern.


American Linden (Basswood) Dogwood Red Elm
Black Cherry Eastern Red Cedar Red Mulberry
Black Walnut Eastern Juniper Red Oak
Bitternut Hickory Green Ash Shagbark Hickory
Bur Oak Hackberry Siberian Elm
Chestnut Honey Locust Willow
Chinkapin Oak Ironwood White Ash
Coffee Tree Prickly Ash White Elm
Cottonwood Red Bud White Poplar


Blackberry Chokecherry Honeysuckle
Black Raspberry Gooseberry Multiflora Rose
Buckbrush Gray Dogwood


Carrion  Flower Poison Ivy Virginia Creeper
Greenbrier Moonseed

With government assistance, a number of timber and prairie improvement projects have been undertaken on the site over the years.  Scrub trees have been thinned and many invasive plants removed. Original prairie grasses have re-sprouted in areas where cedars were cut back.  In 2008-2010 all tilled agricultural lands, approximately 20 acres in total, were planted in native Iowa prairie grasses and forbs (flowers), many of which were originally found in this part of the Loess Hills centuries ago. Some of the prairie and timber plants now there include the following:

Forbes/Flowering Plants

Alumroot Ironweed Rose Milkweed
Black-eyed Susan Jack-in-the-Pulpit Rosin Weed
Black Snakeroot Joe Pye Rough Blazing Star
Blue Flag Iris Jumpseed Round-headed Bush Clover
Blue Vervain Large-flowered Beardtongue Rugel’s Plantain
Boneset Lead Plant Sawtooth Sunflower
Bottle Gentian Long-headed Coneflower Scurf Pea
Butterfly Milkweed Maximilian Sunflower Showy Goldenrod
Canada Anemone Meadow Blazing Star Silky Aster
Canadian Milk Vetch Motherwort Sky Blue Aster
Catchweed Bedstraw Mountain Mint Small-flowered Crowfoot
Cinquefoil Milk Vetch Smooth Blue Aster
Compass Plant New England Aster Sneezeweed
Cross Cleavers New Jersey Tea Solomon’s Seal
Culvers Root Orange Daylily Spiderwort
Dotted Blazing Star Nodding Bur Marigold Stiff Goldenrod
Downy Blue Violet Pale Purple Coneflower Stinging Nettle
Downy Gentian Panicled Aster Tansy Mustard
Downy Yellow Violet Partridge Pea Thimble Weed
Dutchmen’s Breeches Pasque Flower Timber Phlox
Early Sunflower Pennycress Water Pod
Evening Primrose Pokeweed Wild Bergamot
False Boneset Prairie Blazing Star Wild Garlic
False Dragonhead Prairie Cinquefoil Wild White Indigo
Fawn Lily Prairie Coreopsis Winged Loostrife
Figwort Prairie Larkspur Wingstem
Garlic Mustard Prairie Phlox White Avens
Golden Alexanders Prairie Sage White Prairie Clover
Goldenrod Prairie Spiderwort White Vervain
Great Blue Lobelia Prairie Violet Whorled Milkweed
Grey-headed Coneflower Prairie Wild Rose Wood Betony
Hoary Vervain Purple Meadow Rue Wood Nettle
Illinois Bundle Flower Purple Prairie Clover Velvetleaf
Indian Plantain Rattlesnake Master


Big Bluestem Hard Stem Bulrush Rice Cut Grass
Blue Grama Indian Grass Rough Dropseed
Brome Grass June Grass Sand Dropseed
Buffalo Grass Kentucky Blue Grass Scribner’s Panic Grass
Canada Wild Rye Little Bluestem Sideoats Grama
Cheat Grass Muhlenbergia Switch Grass
Dwarf Grama Porcupine Grass Virginia Wild Rye
Fowl Manna Grass Prairie Dropseed Western Wheatgrass
Foxtail Prairie Cordgrass Wool Grass
Hairy Wild Rye Purple Top


Aggregate or Heavy Sedge Hitchcock’s Sedge Stellate Sedge
Blunt Scaled Oak Sedge Hop Sedge Upright Sedge
Few-fruited Sedge Long-beaked Sedge Woodland Sedge
Fox Sedge Owl-Fruited Sedge


Fragile Fern Rattlesnake Fern Maidenhair Fern


Scouring Rush
(Horsetail Plant)
Torrey’s Rush

The Green Hollow Center hosts a large variety of birds and animals.   In addition to the species listed below, a mountain lion was reportedly seen nearby.  Seven wild Eurasian boars, an invasive species and apparently the descendants of escapees from a wild game reserve some years ago, have been caught on the property, one weighing 300 pounds.  A herd of four-horned feral goats have been spotted on a few occasions.


Bobcat Coyote Eastern Cottontail
Eastern Mole FoxSquirrel Gray Squirrel
Plains Pocket Mouse Red Fox Striped Skunk
Woodchuck Raccoon White-Tailed Deer



Acadian Flycatcher American Crow American Goldfinch
American Kestrel American Redstart American Robin
American White Pelican Bald Eagle Baltimore Oriole
Barn Swallow Bank Swallow Barred Owl
Black-capped Chickadee Blackpoll Warbler Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-headed Vireo Blue Jay Broad-winged Hawk
Eastern Bluebird Eastern Kingbird Eastern Meadowlark
Eastern Phoebe Eastern Towhee Eastern Wood-pewee
European Starling Field Sparrow Grasshopper Sparrow
Gray Catbird Great Blue Heron Great Crested Flycatcher
Great Horned Owl Hairy Woodpecker Harris’s Sparrow
House Finch House Wren Indigo Bunting
Kentucky Warbler Red-bellied Woodpecker Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-eyed Vireo Red-shouldered Hawk Red-tailed Hawk
Red-winged Blackbird Ring-necked Pheasant Rock Pigeon
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Rough-winged Swallow Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Scarlet Tanager Sharp-shinned Hawk Song Sparrow
Summer Tanager Tennessee Warbler Brown Creeper
Brown-headed Cowbird Brown Thrasher Canada Goose
Carolina Wren Cedar Waxwing Chimney Swift
Chipping Sparrow Clay-colored Sparrow Cliff Swallow
Common Grackle Common Nighthawk Common Yellowthroat
Coopers Hawk Dark-eyed Junco Dickcissel
Double-crested Cormorant Downy Woodpecker Killdeer
Lark Sparrow Least Flycatcher Louisiana Waterthrush
Mourning Dove Nashville Warbler Northern Bobwhite
Northern Cardinal Northern Flicker Northern Harrier
Northern Parula Northern Waterthrush Orange-crowned Warbler
Orchard Oriole Osprey Ovenbird
Prothonotary Warbler Tree Swallow Tufted Titmouse
Turkey Turkey Vulture Warbling Vireo
Whip-poor-will White-breasted Nuthatch White-throated Sparrow
Whip-Poor-Will Willow Flycatcher Wood Duck
Wood Thrush Yellow-billed Cuckoo Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-rumped Warbler Yellow-throated Vireo Yellow Warbler


American Toad Great Plains Skink Plains Leopard Frog
Black Snake Bull Snake Cope’s Gray
Treefrog Eastern Garter Snake Eastern Gray Treefrog
Milk Snake Northern Cricket Frog Northern Leopard Frog
Plains Spadefoot Toad Prairie Ringneck Snake Plains Spadefoot Toad
Racer Six-lined Racerunner Western Chorus Frog
Western Worm Snake


Black Swallowtail Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Mourning Cloak
Buckeye Giant Swallowtail Orange Sulphur
Cabbage White Gray Hairstreak Least Skipper
Checkered White Great Spangled Fritillary Red Admiral
Clouded Sulphur Hackberry Emperor Red-spotted Purple
Cloudless Sulphur Hairstreak Silver-spotted Skipper
Common Checkered Skipper Juniper Hairstreak Spring Azure
Common Roadside Skipper Least Skipper Summer Azure
Common Sootywing Little Glassywing Tawny Emperor
Common Wood-Nymph Little Yellow Tawny-edged Skipper
Delaware Skipper Little Wood-Satyr Variegated Fritillary
Eastern Tailed-Blue Monarch

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Black Saddlebags Ebony Jewelwing Red Saddlebags
Blue Dasher Familiar Bluet Saffron-winged Meadowhawk
Blue-fronted Dancer Flag-tailed Spinyleg Red Saddlebags
Bluet Fragile Forktail Spot-winged Glider
Common Baskettail Halloween Pennant Spreadwing
Cobra Clubtail Lyre-tipped Spreadwing Twelve-spotted Skimmer
Common Sanddragon Meadowhawk Variegated Meadowhawk
Common Whitetail Orange Bluet Violet Dancer
Eastern Amberwing Plains Clubtail Wandering Glider
Eastern Forktail Powdered Dancer Widow Skimmer
Eastern Pondhawk Prince Baskettail