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Special Collections

Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie

This collection profiles wildflowers of the tallgrass prairie. Stretching over 250 million acres, the tallgrass prairie was once the largest ecosystem in the United States. Its deep rich soils made excellent farmland. By 1860, most of the tallgrass prairies had fallen to the plow. Today, only about one million acres remain, making tallgrass prairie one of the most threatened natural communities. Native grasses form the prairie framework, comprising 50 to 95 percent of the vegetation. The four dominant species in the tallgrass prairie are little bluestem, big bluestem, Indiangrass, and switchgrass. Forbs (broadleaf herbs), an integral part of the prairie, provide most of the species diversity. Most prairie species are perennials that die back in the winter. The wildflowers included in this collection are some of the most common tallgrass prairie species.

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scientific namecommon name(s)image gallery
Amorpha fruticosaIndigo bush
False indigo bush
False indigo
Desert false indigo
Anemone canadensisCanadian anemone
Round-leaf thimbleweed
Canada anemone
Windflower
Meadow anemone
Anaphalis margaritaceaWestern pearly everlasting
Pearly-everlasting
Asclepias tuberosaButterflyweed
Butterfly milkweed
Orange milkweed
Pleurisy root
Chigger flower
Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaeaLongbract wild indigo
Cream false indigo
Plains wild indigo
Cream wild indigo
Large-bracted wild indigo
Castilleja sessilifloraDowny painted cup
Downy paintbrush
Great Plains paintbrush
Great Plains indian-paintbrush
Coreopsis palmataStiff tickseed
Stiff coreopsis
Finger coreopsis
Delphinium carolinianum ssp. virescensCarolina larkspur
Prairie larkspur
Plains larkspur
Eryngium yuccifoliumButton eryngo
Button snakeroot
Rattlesnake master
Beargrass
Bear's grass
Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianumTexas bluebells
Texas bluebell
Bluebell
Showy prairie gentian
Prairie gentian
scientific namecommon name(s)image gallery

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