The Vascular Flora and Vegetational Communities of Mississinewa Woods in Randolph County, Indiana


  • Donald G. Ruch Ball State
  • Kemuel S. Badger Ball State
  • Brittney C. Daugherty Ball State
  • Byron G. Torke Ball State
  • Paul E. Rothrock Taylor University


Mississinewa Woods, owned by the Red-tail Conservancy, is located in the northwest corner of Randolph County, Indiana. The preserve is part of a long, thin riparian corridor along the Mississinewa River in the Midwest Corn Belt region. Except for the riparian corridor and a few small nearby wooded lots, Mississinewa Woods is surrounded by agricultural fields for miles in every direction. The inventory of the vascular flora indicates that the 15.4 ha site harbors significant regional plant diversity with 311 species and varieties representing 215 genera and 77 families. The 12 families containing, 59% of the documented species were Apiaceae, Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, Cyperaceae, Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Liliaceae, Poaceae, Polygonaceae, Ranunculaceae, Rosaceae, and Scrophulariaceae. Of the documented flora, 233 (74.9%) were native, 78 (25.1%) were adventives, and 128 represented Randolph County Records. A detailed physiognomic analysis revealed that of the 233 native species, 49 species were woody, 146 were herbaceous vines or forbs, 37 were graminoids, and one is a fern or fern allies. Of the 78 adventives, seven are woody, 53 were herbaceous vines or forbs, and 18 were grasses. The Floristic Quality Index (FQI) for native species was 46.2 and a mean Coefficient of Conservatism (mean C) was 3.0. The FQI indicates that the site is of nature preserve quality but the low mean C indicates that it has few higher quality species. Although none of the plants documented at the site have state or federal status, there were two species which are uncommon to east-central Indiana, i.e., Hibiscus laevis and Schoenoplectus pungens var. pungens.






Plant Systematics and Biodiversity