Rare flowers are sprouting in Cook County’s forest preserves: ‘It was like a dead zone and now it’s come alive’

Read the full story in the Chicago Tribune.

An almost tropical-looking pink flower in the hibiscus family grows tall at the edge of a wetland in the Cook County forest preserves near Palos Park.

The flower, a swamp rose mallow, is a rare sight in the Chicago area because its habitat has been damaged by development and generations of settlers who brought nonnative plants to the area from Europe and Asia, experts say.

But the swamp rose mallow and other rare flowers are increasingly returning to county forest preserves as crews work to restore the habitats that allow such plant life to grow. Ecologists have identified dozens of them over this summer.

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