The Vascular Flora and Vegetational Communities of Dutro Woods Nature Preserve, Delaware County, Indiana
Owned by the Red-tail Land Conservancy, Dutro Woods Nature Preserve (DWNP) is a 6.8 ha (16.7 acres) site located on State Road 32 in west-central Muncie, Indiana, Delaware County. An inventory of the vascular flora indicates that the urban site harbors considerable plant diversity with 240 taxa representing 164 genera and 63 families. Of the 240 taxa, 136 (57%) are native and 104 (43%) are non-native (exotic). The percent of non-native taxa is high when compared to other studies in east-central Indiana (typically between 18–25%). Thirty species represent Delaware County Records. In addition, seven species documented at DWNP are reported for the first time in Delaware County; however, they are not considered county records since they have not naturalized at the site. Tilia cordata represents a state record. No species occur on the IDNR list of endangered, threatened, or rare plants. The 12 families containing approximately 62% of the documented species are Asteraceae (31 spp.), Poaceae (27 spp.), Cyperaceae (16 spp.), Rosaceae (16 spp.), Fagaceae (eight spp.), Liliaceae (eight spp.), Polygonaceae (eight spp.), Brassicaceae (seven spp.), Fabaceae (seven spp.), Lamiaceae (seven spp.), Caprifoliaceae (five spp.), and Caryophyllaceae (five spp.). No species of the Ranunculaceae were observed. A physiognomic analysis reveals that the native species consist of 42 woody species, 65 herbaceous vines or forbs, 27 graminoids, and two ferns. Of the 104 exotics, 26 are woody, 61 are herbaceous vines or forbs, and 17 are grasses. The flora at DWNP is predominately low fidelity (low C-value), i.e., 87.9% (211 spp.) of the taxa have C-values ≤ 3, and only 4.6% (11 taxa) have C-values ≥ 5. For native species only, the FQI = 25.0 and the mean Coefficient of Conservatism (mean C) is 2.2. For all species FQI = 18.6 and the mean C = 1.2. These numbers suggest that DWNP lacks or has not returned to remnant natural quality. The high percentage of non-native species is discussed from the standpoint of secondary succession at the site since the early 1980s.