Big Bluestem (Adropogon gerardii) is the dominant plant here, rearing up to ten feet tall with roots of equal depth. It is no wonder that survival is virtually guaranteed except when clearing is accompanied by farming or development.
Turkey Foot is its nickname which is appropriate from the seed cluster arrangement. The name leads me to ponder who saw wild turkey with their feet in the air, reminding them of this plant?
For the official information on this Illinois symbol visit: http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/symbols/grass.html.