Sites to help you identify plants, learn the distribution range, and more.

  • View all our recommended plant identification links and other resources:
  • Illinois Plants: Wild Plants of the Prairie State
  • The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens of the U.S. and its territories. It includes names, plant symbols, checklists, distributional data, species abstracts, characteristics, images, crop information, automated tools, onward Web links, and references. This information primarily promotes land conservation in the United States and its territories, but academic, educational, and general use is encouraged.
  •  NatureServe Explorer is an authoritative source for information on more than 70,000 plants, animals, and ecosystems of the United States and Canada. Explorer includes particularly in-depth coverage for rare and endangered species. A great place to learn about animals, too.
  • Illinois Natural History Survey webpages by Dr. Kenneth R. Robertson
  • Phytoimages contains cladograms, phylogenies, diagnostic keys, nomenclature, and over 90,000 images of plants and animals
  • vPlants contains data for over 80,000 plant specimens from three institutions with rich Chicago Region collections: the Field Museum of Natural History, The Morton Arboretum, and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Species descriptions and other content are added on a continual basis. Pictures of select herbarium sheets that can be downloaded and blown up to see details.
Finding and Growing Native Plants
  • Regional Native Plant Nurseries: We have assembled a list of nurseries that supply native plants throughout Illinois and the surrounding region.
  • Regional Native Plant Sales: A list of native plant sales in Illinois and the surrounding region.
  • Grow Native!: Grow Native! is a native plant marketing and education program of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. Grow Native! helps protect and restore biodiversity by increasing conservation awareness of native plants and their effective use in urban, suburban, and rural developed landscapes.
  • Landscaping for Wildlife: Illinois Department of Natural Resources booklet on backyard landscaping for native wildlife.
These sites have information you need to manage fire dependent native ecosystems and their plants in the Prairie State. Learn to burn safely and with minimal legal liability because you did it right.
  • The mission of the Illinois Prescribed Fire Council is to promote the safe and continued use of prescribed fire on the Illinois landscape. A great place to find the text of the Illinois Prescribed Burning Act and the Illinois Smoke Management Plan. Every burner should read them. Also holds conferences and training events.
  • http://www.fsi.illinois.eduAs the statutory fire academy for Illinois, the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) serves firefighters throughout Illinois and the world. Including support and training for wildland and structural firefighters, the Illinois Fire Service Institute hosts the above Fire Council’s website and has much for prescribed fire personnel.
  • Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Fire Science Consortium is composed of fire practitioners, scientists, outreach and extension specialists, volunteers, educators and enthusiasts from the Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Region (the northern tallgrass prairie, including all of central and northern Illinois. They hold conferences and distribute practical, cutting edge information about fire effects and invasive/superabundant species and their impact.
  •  Oak Woodlands and Forests Fire Consortium’s mission is to provide fire science information to resource managers, landowners, and the public about the use, application, and effects of fire. Within these pages you should expect to find information on “everything fire”. And it’s for southern Illinois and all the hill folk!


The study of plant migrations and climate changes.

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of climate and historical weather data and information. A great site to explore, you’ll find plenty to like. Try going to and at the bottom of a list of authors, click on the pollen viewer in the text ‘Williams et al. 2004 Pollen Viewer for Quaternary North America’. You have to download some software, but then it is time to play and learn.