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New Book Documents Surprising Biodiversity of Chicago Area


There are 3,149 different types of plants in the Chicago region. We know that because of wildlife biologists Laura Rericha and Gerould Wilhelm, who have spent years creating a new flora of the Chicago region. It’s called, appropriately: “Flora of the Chicago Region: A Floristic and Ecological Synthesis.”  

A flora is a detailed accounting of a region’s plant life. The region they included is made up of 22 counties in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. This region is one of the most biodiverse metro areas in the country, according to the authors. One reason for that, they say, is the more than 69,000 acres managed by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

Rericha and Wilhelm join us in discussion.

  • Acanthoscelides calvus (Photo by Laura Rericha)

    Acanthoscelides calvus (Photo by Laura Rericha)

  • Andrena accepta (Photo by Laura Rericha)

    Andrena accepta (Photo by Laura Rericha)

  • Asclepias viridiflora (Photo by Laura Rericha)

    Asclepias viridiflora (Photo by Laura Rericha)

  • Bombus bimaculatus (Photo by Laura Rericha)

    Bombus bimaculatus (Photo by Laura Rericha)

  • Carex tuckermanii (Photo by Laura Rericha)

    Carex tuckermanii (Photo by Laura Rericha)

  • Cerceris graphica (Photo by Laura Rericha)

    Cerceris graphica (Photo by Laura Rericha)

  • Eastern towhee (Photo by Laura Rericha)

    Eastern towhee (Photo by Laura Rericha)

  • Gentiana puberulenta (Photo by Laura Rericha)

    Gentiana puberulenta (Photo by Laura Rericha)

  • Hydromesophytic swamp forest (Photo by Laura Rericha)

    Hydromesophytic swamp forest (Photo by Laura Rericha)

  • Mesic, fine-textured soil prairie (Photo by Laura Rericha)

    Mesic, fine-textured soil prairie (Photo by Laura Rericha)


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