blackbelt prairie pollinator garden header Drawn by Ashley Rude Baker
blackbelt prairie pollinator garden header black belt Mississippi
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae flower flora Blackbelt prairie garden drawing

This prairie pollinator garden replicates the plant
communities of the Black Belt prairie.

Nothoscordum bivalve flower flora Blackbelt prairie garden drawing

The garden recreates some of the
environmental services offered by natural prairies, like habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, surface water infiltration, and carbon sequestration.

SymphyRuellia caroliniensis flower flora Blackbelt prairie garden drawing

Our hope is that this garden offers a look at
regionally specific plant and insect diversity.

To visit our garden,

we recommend that all have
a parking pass.

MSU Parking and Transit Services

If coming from Hwy 12, onto Bully Blvd., take the first right onto Robert Louis Jones Circle and continue following to the right. Turn left at Clay Lyle Entomology and Plant Pathology Department. If coming from Stone Blvd., near Dorman or Thompson Hall, turn west onto Bully Blvd. and follow until you get to the first traffic light. Turn left onto Robert Louis Jones Circle. Drive around to the south side of the department and park in the gravel lot. The garden is clearly visible on the southwestern corner of the building.

The Black Belt
mississippi alabama map blackbelt prairie crescent black belt

is a physiogeographic subregion within the Eastern Gulf Coastal Plain. The region forms a large crescent that runs through east-central Mississippi and narrows at its northern and eastern ends. The region is defined by its characteristically alkaline soil and its parent material, Selma chalk formed under the region’s shallow seas during the Upper Cretaceous period. While much of this soil suppresses tree growth and promotes open prairie, some pockets are acidic and encourage open woodlands and forests. In some particularly shallow soils, exposed chalk results in resilient outcrop communities. The plants and insects of the prairies and outcrops include several species that are unique to the Black Belt and several more that are disjunct from their nearest populations in the GreatPlains.

Found in the Black Belt:


Grasses and Graminoids
Introduced Species


Horse (Equus cf. complicates)
Ass-like Horse (Equus cf. conversidens)
Horse (Equus cf. francisi)
Zebrine Horse (Equus cf. fraternus)
Horse (Equus cf. intermedius)
Zebrine Horse (Equus cf. simplicidens)
Tapir (Tapirus sp.)
Bison sp.Giant Extinct Bison (Bison cf. latifrons)
Elk (Cervus sp.)
Peccary (Mylohyus sp.)
Peccary (Platygonus sp.)
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Camel (cf. Tanupolama sp.)
Mastodon (Mammut americanus)
Mammoth (Mammuthus sp.)
Giant Armadillo (Chlamytherium septentrionalis)
Armadillo (Dasypus bellus)
Giant Ground Sloth (Eremotherium sp.)
Ground Sloth (Megalonyx ieffersonii)
Short-faced Bear (Arctodus cf. simus)
Coyote (Canis cf. latrans)
Red Wolf (Canis cf. rufus)
Small Margay Cat (Felis cf. wiedii)
Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
Gray Fox (Urocyon sp.)
Black Bear (Ursus americanus)
Beaver (Castor canadensis)
Giant Beaver (Castoroides ohioensis)
Capybara (Hydrochoerus sp.)
Muskrat (Ondatra sp.)
Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus cf. aquaticus)
Opossum (Didelphis sp.)
Man (Homo sapiens)
Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
Pond Turtle (Chrysemys nelsoni)
Eared Slider Turtle (Chrysemys scripta)
Blanding’s Turtle (Emboidia blandingii)
Wood Turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
Musk Turtle (Sternotherus carianitus)
Extinct Giant Turtle (Hesperotestudo crassicutata)
Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrocletnys temnincki)
Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina putnami)
Soft Shell Turtle (Trionyx sp.)
Turkey (Meleagris cf. gallopavo)
Oyster (Exogyra costata)
Crinoid (Dunnicrinus mississippiensis)



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Plant-Insect Interactions

Southern Dogface Butterfly insect blackbelt prairie garden

Southern Dogface Butterfly

Texas milkweed beetle insect blackbelt prairie garden

Texas Milkweed Beetle

Tetraloniella albata insect blackbelt prairie garden Drawn by Ashley Rude Baker

Tetraloniella albata

Fuzzy Olive Green Olive-green grasshopper insect blackbelt prairie garden Drawn by Ashley Rude Baker

Fuzzy Olive-Green Grasshopper

Fossils in the Black Belt:

5 years ago

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4 years ago

2 years ago

3 years ago