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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