Find the most plant species in Illinois in 2016 and rejoice in your victory!

The Results Are In!
And the winner is…

Evan Barker with 877 species!

Person Research Grade Species Research Grade Observations
1st: Evan Barker (evan8) 877 1249
2nd: Erin Faulkner (elfaulkner) 749 863
3rd: Mark Kluge (sanguinaria33) 737 1037
4th: Corey Lange (coreyjlange) 646 1162
5th: Jason Miller (hikebikerun13) 322 399

It was a close race between the top four; Evan, Erin, Mark, and Corey were each in 1st place at some point during the year. Many thanks to all who participated in this friendly competition. We had 11,203 observations added by 395 people. Of those, 9,360 observations reached research-grade. That is, they were wild or naturalized, had a photo/date/GPS point, and were verified by at least one other person. A total of 1,365 species were identified, including subspecies. Browse all the species here. At least one, Stellaria corei (Tennessee starwort), was the first documentation of that species growing in Illinois.

The most observed native plants were Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern, 67 observations), Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed, 63), Trillium recurvatum (prairie trillium, 61), Claytonia virginica (Virginia spring beauty, 61), and Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple, 57). The most observed non-native plants were Taraxacum officinale (dandelion, 71 observations), Lotus corniculatus (birdsfoot trefoil, 48), Trifolium repens (white clover, 40), Trifolium pratense (red clover, 39), and Securigera varia (crown vetch, 36).

Thank you to all who helped identify plants for others throughout the year, especially Evan Barker/evan8 (a whopping 3,715 identifications!), Corey Lange/coreyjlange (1,816), Mark Kluge/sanguinaria33 (1,717), Erin Faulkner/elfaulkner (873), and cassi saari/bouteloua (696).

These statistics were pulled from research-grade observations of plants in Illinois in 2016 as of 1/23/2017. You can still help the community by identifying unknown plants or confirming them to help reach research-grade. Help identify on iNaturalist!

Want to participate in 2017? It’s easy. Simply add your observations to the website or iPhone/Android app. Here is the new Illinois Botanists Big Year 2017 page.

Sign up for! Citizen science!

How to join in the fun: Add your plant observations to the website or iPhone/Android app and it’ll automatically count if it meets the rules below. Join the conversation on the Illinois Botanists Big Year Facebook group.


  1. Must be a plant (bryophytes and vascular plants – native and non-native species are accepted)
  2. Observation must be within Illinois
  3. Must be observed between the dates of January 1st, 2016 and December 31st, 2016
  4. Observation must be “research grade.” That means it must be “wild/naturalized” and that you need a photo, date, species identification, location, and for someone else to confirm your observation!

Nature newbie? No worries – we will help identify any plants you see. Dumbphone user? You can upload photos through the website without need for a smartphone. Just snap a photo and upload it to and identify as best as you can, even if that’s just “plant.”

Help others get to research grade by confirming their observations!


Can you help promote the Illinois Botanists Big Year in 2017? Know a nearby state or region that should set one up? Have a great idea? Contact cassi saari,