Smith Cemetery Nature Preserve

Indiana Natural Areas: Vermillion County


Smith Cemetery

Smith Cemetery

This tallgrass prairie remnant is one of the most remarkable acres in Indiana. Burials began in the early years of European settlement, as far back as the 1820s, and the ground never felt the bite of a plow. Native prairie plants hung on in this tiny refuge, popping up among tombstones and along fence lines. As part of an agreement with the township, mowing stopped in the early 1980s and DNR began managing the cemetery as a prairie. Native vegetation has since sprung back in full force, often obscuring the remaining headstones. Culver’s root, wild quinine, leadplant, coneflower, and both little and big bluestem grasses are among the species found here. Walking gingerly through this preserve is like stepping back in time, to an era when these plants ruled many millions of Midwestern acres.


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