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Contact Information

Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

Research Natural Area

Panther Hollow

State: Illinois

County: Hardin

Forest: Shawnee

District: Elizabethtown

Established: 1989

Acres: 180

Description: Panther Hollow RNA includes two hollows. Panther Hollow is narrow with adjacent sandstone cliffs and outcroppings. Buckhart Hollow is broader and the upper reaches contain exposed sandstone bedrock which forms an intermittent stream. The southwestern bluff tops of both hollows contain dry and xeric upland forest and sandstone glade communities. The RNA contains three uncommon plant species: early saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis), white basswood (Tilia heterophylla) and strawberry bush (Euonymous americanius).

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions:

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA: Closest weather station is in New Burnside, 36 miles west of Panther Hollow.

Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution) : Annual precipitation averages about 46 inches and ranges from about 32 to 70 inches. Average annual snowfall is 10-15 inches.

Maximum and minimum temperatures : Annual temperature range is 105° F. Summer maximums reach 90 ° F during July and August. Winter minimums are -15 ° F in January and February.

Elevation: Elevation at Panther Hollow ranges from 350 feet to 600 feet above mean sea level.

Geology and Soils: Bedrock is sandstone, shale, and siltstone. Uplands have a deep veneer of silty loess. Most of the soils are stony and shallow.

Aquatic Features: Panther Hollow contains an intermittent stream with waterfalls and plunge pools.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Province: Interior Low Plateaus

Section: Greater Shawnee Hills

Plant Communities:

Post oak-white oak-sweet pignut hickory: Dry upland forest
White oak-black oak-sugar maple: Dry-mesic uplandforest
Sugar maple-white oak-beech: Mesis upland forest
Sassafras-winged sumac-little bluestem: Successional field
Christmas fern-marginal shield fern-small flowered alumroot: Sandstone cliff

SAF Cover Types (list acres): Kuchler Types (list acres):
40 Post oak-blackjack oak (40) 91 oak-hickory (160)
52 White oak-black oak-northern red oak (120)  
60 Beech-sugar maple (20)  


VIew or download Vascular Flora List (pdf)

Common Herbaceous Species: Greenbriar (Smilax bona-nox), farkleberry (Vaccinium aboreum), spring beauty (Claytonia Virginica), Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), and trilliums (Trillium spp.)

Common Mammal Species: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), coyote (Canis latrans), gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), raccoon (Procyon lotor), opossum (Didelphis marsupialis), and gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)

Common Bird Species: Cardinal (Richmondena cardinalis), yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) , mouning dove (Zenaidura macroura), blue-gray gnatcatcher (Polioptila cerulea), red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata), wood thrush ( Hylocichla mustelina), turkey vulture (Cathartes aura)

Related Reports and Publications:

McCarthy, Diane.  2012.  Systematics and Phylogeography of the Genus Tilia in North America. A Thesis submitted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences in the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Chicago, IL.  161 pp. Document on file at the Northern Research Station, Rhinelander, Wisconsin.

Hutchinson, Max D. 1987. Establishment record for the Panther Hollow Research Natural Area within the Shawnee National Forest, Hardin County, Illinois. (pdf) Unpublished report on file at the Northern Research Station, Rhinelander, and the Shawnee Supervisor's office, Harrisburg, IL. 58 pages with appendixes.

(PDF files require Acrobat Reader software, available as a free download from

Last Modified: 10/16/2014