The Nebraska Sandhills
Sandhill Plants
The Nebraska Sandhills contain a  unique diversity of plants still functioning in healthy prairie ecosystems. The prairie has relatively high biological integrity: of the 720 species that comprise the Sandhills prairie only 7% are exotics, half the amount of most other prairie types.  This is due in part to the trouble many exotics have establishing themselves in the sandy soil. Although the Sandhills prairie falls into the mixed-grass prairie region, its unusual mixture of vegetation types warrants its own classification.  The dry, sandy upland dunes in combination with the many wetlands and subsurface water contribute to this diversity.
Sand-tolerant plants from short-grass, mixed-grass, and tallgrass prairies are found throughout the Sandhills.  There are also many plants, such as sand milkweed and sand bluestem, which can only grow in sandy areas. Hayden's (Blowout) Penstemon is an endangered species found only in the blowouts of the Sandhills.  Species of the northern boreal forest can be found throughout the Sandhills as well. Thus the Sandhills create a unique and diverse community of plants that is rarely seen anywhere else.
The Sandhills is one of the largest contiguous and least-disturbed prairies in all of the United States.  The sandy soil has made farming in the Sandhills nearly  impossible, so much of the region has been left as virgin prairie.  Because overgrazing of the plants can lead to destabalization of the soil and consequently shifting of the sand dunes, cattle have been well-managed in the Sandhills, and little of it has been overgrazed.
Click on any of the photos above to view some of the flora of the Nebraska Sandhills.
Yellow Flowers Pink Flowers White & Green Flowers Blue & Purple Flowers Red & Orange Flowers Grasses