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Harrell Prairie Botanical Area facts for kids

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Harrell Prairie Botanical Area
Harrell Prairie Hill
Location Scott County, Mississippi
Nearest city Forest
Area 160 acres (65 ha)
Established 1980
Designated: 1976

Harrell Prairie Botanical Area or Harrell Prairie Hill is a 160-acre (65 ha) tallgrass prairie nature preserve located within Bienville National Forest near Forest, Mississippi. It is a rare remaining example of the Jackson Prairie Belt in Mississippi. It was declared a National Natural Landmark in May 1976 and a Botanical Area by the Forest Service in 1980.

Description

There are 68 identified prairies in the National Forest, locally called cedar fields, which avoided agriculture development due to their purchase by lumber companies. Harrell Hill contains the "largest and least disturbed" example of the Jackson Prairie in Mississippi. The Jackson Prairie is a disjunct of the Black Belt (or Black Prairie) physiographic area in Mississippi and Alabama.

The alkaline soils (pH greater than 7.5) ensure a unique plant ecology unlike the nearby woodlands of Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda). Common grasses include Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)), Broomsedge Bluestem (A. virginicus var. virginicus), Bushy Broomsedge (A. glomeratus), and Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). Other herbaceous plants include Yellow Coneflower (Rudbeckia pinnata), Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Blazing Star (Liatris spp.), False Boneset (Brickellia eupatorioides var. eupatorioides), Green Milkweed (Asclepias hirtella), Green Comet Milkweed (A. viridiflora), and Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa).

It is also an example of the geophysical transformation of the Mississippi River delta.

Visiting

There are no trails or facilities in the area. There is parking along the side of FS 515 and a sign indicating the area. Many of the flowering species are in bloom in late spring. Since it is a nature preserve, there is a leave no trace policy to protect the rare species.

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