Tag Archives: prairies

Wildflowers…Following Nature’s Design

By: Howard Bright aka Earthyman http://ionxchange.com/

In nature, certain species are found growing together and they form a specific community called a “plant community”. Native plants always grow in association with other native plantsto create plant communities that are essentially associations of indigenous species that have evolved over thousands of years and adapted to the specific geography, hydrology and climate of a particular area. The resulting “communities” are really groups of plants that exist together because of the given conditions.

We can use these native plant communities as a prescription from nature in designing our wildflower gardens or landscapes.  There are four broad categories of native plant communities here in the Midwest and hundreds of sub categories as we break each of them down into more specific site conditions.  It is important to recognize which one of the four categories you would like to create or reconstruct.  The four major plant communities of the Midwest are:

  • Prairies
  • Savannas
  • Wetlands
  • Woodlands

In this article, we are only going to discuss the Prairie sub communities.

Within each of these categories we narrow down our site conditions and begin our design of what native species of wildflowers, grasses and sedges will work best for our site. For instance, if we have an open area that gets full sunlight, we have a perfect opportunity to create a “Prairie”.  Within the Prairie Community, we can further break down our site conditions to reflect:

  • Wet Prairie
  • Wet-Mesic Prairie
  • Mesic Prairie
  • Dry-Mesic Prairie
  • Dry Prairie

Now this may sound too complicated for the normal gardener but it really isn’t.  Here are a few tips to allow you to identify where your site fits in.  First of all let’s talk about your soil.  You may say that you don’t know anything about soils and that’s o.k.  You can still come close to what your soil is like by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. When you walk across your site with tennis shoes on, do your feet get wet throughout the growing season?  If so, you can bet this is a site for a Wet Prairie Plant Community.
  2. Is the ground soggy at times but eventually dries out and then becomes soggy again?  This could be a good place to establish your Wet-Mesic Plant Community.
  3. Would your site be a good place for a vegetable garden, not too wet, not too dry with fertile rich soil?  Here I would select a Mesic-Prairie Plant Community.
  4. If you think your site is a little bit on the dry side but not extremely dry, you would choose a Dry-Mesic Plant Community.
  5. If your site is really dry and maybe has no topsoil, maybe rocky or sandy I would choose a Dry Prairie Plant Community.

Now, after you have decided which plant community you want to create, here are some examples of wildflowers and grasses to consider for each community:

1.     Wet-Prairie Plant Community

  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Swamp Aster
  • Turtlehead
  • Boneset
  • Blue Flag Iris
  • Marsh Blazingstar
  • Great Blue Lobelia
  • Monkey Flower
  • Mountain Mint
  • Buttonbush
  • Sneezeweed
  • Sweet Black-eyed Susan
  • Ironweed
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Riddell’s Goldenrod
  • Blue Vervain
  • Mana Grasses
  • Wool Grass
  • Dark Green Bulrush
  • Bottlebrush Sedge.

2.  Wet-Mesic Plant Community

  • Canada Anemone
  • Sneezeweed
  • Boneset
  • Great St. John’s Wort
  • Wild Quinine
  • Nodding Onion
  • Great Blue Lobelia
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Sawtooth Sunflower
  • Blue Flag Iris
  • Blue Vervain
  • Mountain Mint
  • Swamp Milkweed
  • Prairie Cordgrass
  • Fox Sedge
  • Big Bluestem
  • New England Aster
  • Prairie Blazingstar
  • Marsh Blazingstar

3.  Mesic Plant Community

  • Anise Hyssop
  • New England Aster
  • Partridge Pea
  • Cream Gentian
  • Prairie Blazingstar
  • Foxglove Beardtongue
  • Wild Senna
  • Foxglove Beardtongue
  • Yellow Coneflower
  • Compass Plant
  • Pale Purple Coneflower
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Ox-eye Sunflower
  • White Prairie Clover
  • Purple Prairie Clover
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Canada Milkvetch
  • Prairie Coreopsis
  • Sweet Black-eyed Susan
  • Smooth Blue Aster
  • Golden Alexanders
  • Rattlesnake Master
  • Big Bluestem
  • Indiangrass
  • Little Bluestem
  • Prairie Dropseed
  • Canada Wild Rye

4.  Dry-Mesic Prairie Plant Community

  • Anise Hyssop
  • Sky Blue Aster
  • Smooth Blue Aster
  • Showy Goldenrod
  • White Prairie Clover
  • Purple Prairie Clover
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Stiff Goldenrod
  • Prairie Alum Root
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Ohio Spiderwort
  • Pale Purple Coneflower
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Yellow Coneflower
  • Leadplant
  • Partridge Pea
  • Little Bluestem
  • Sideoats Grama
  • Rough Dropseed
  • Canada Wild Rye

5.  Dry Prairie Plant Community

  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Sky Blue Aster
  • Silky Aster
  • Cream Wild Indigo
  • Partridge Pea
  • Flowering Spurge
  • Showy Sunflower
  • Old Field Goldenrod
  • Alumroot
  • Rough Blazing Star
  • Wild Lupine
  • Spotted Bee Balm
  • Large-flowered Beardtongue
  • Purple Prairie Clover
  • Ohio Spiderwort
  • Hoary Vervain
  • Lead Plant
  • Wild Senna
  • Little Bluestem
  • Side-oats Grama
  • Sand Love Grass
  • June Grass
  • Blue Grama

Remember, nature has these self-made recipes for your wildflower gardens and reconstuction areas.

 To Purchase Native Wildflowers & Prairie Plants Visit Us At http://ionxchange.com/

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Native Plant Communities Of Iowa Article

By: Howard Bright

The Plant Communities of Iowa are vast but we will limit them to four major communities knowing there are many subgroups of these four.  What is a plant community? In nature, certain species are found growing together and they form specific colonies of plants called  “plant communities”. Native plants always grow in association with others to create plant communities that are essentially associations of indigenous species that have evolved over thousands of years and adapted to the specific geography, hydrology and climate of a particular area. The resulting “communities” are really groups of plants that exist together because of the given environmental conditions. 

Why is it important to know about natural plant communities?  It is very important because we can use these native plant communities as a prescription from nature in designing our wildflower gardens or landscapes.  There are four broad categories of native plant communities here in the Midwest and hundreds of sub categories as we break each of them down into more specific site conditions.  It is important to recognize which one of the four categories you would like to create or reconstruct.  The four major plant communities of the Midwest are: Prairies, Savannas, Wetlands and Woodlands.

When the white man drove deeper through the hardwood forest driving westward until they eventually broke through the dark shadows of trees and the shrubs of that forest land and peered out onto the blinding light of the open prairie, it was a sight to behold waving in the wind and appearing as a sea of rolling grasses dotted with the colors of blooming flowers.  Indeed this was a strange land to these new visitors.  Steeping out onto this sea of grass, the pioneer disappeared and kept moving westward.  This land was covered with Buffalo, Elk, Deer, Bear, Cougars, Prairie Chickens, Beaver and all kinds of wildlife.

It wasn’t long before this land was discovered, occupied and changed forever. In the 1800s, Iowans reworked the face of their new state with a speed and to an extent perhaps unparalleled in human history.  At the beginning of the century, a blanket of prairie cloaked three-quarters of this “land between two rivers.”  Pothole marshes dotted the flatter north-central part of the state, while a network of streams laced the rolling hills elsewhere across Iowa.  Dense forests engulfed some valleys in the east and groves of bur oaks climbed out of the river corridors and onto the ridges to form savannas.

Thousands of Native Americans lived on the land, harvesting wild plants and animals, growing crops, and occasionally managing the vegetation with fire.  By 1900, however, Euro-American settlers had claimed nearly all of Iowa’s 36 million acres as farmland. Non-Indian settlement officially began on June 1, 1833, when pioneers first were allowed to claim new land in the 6-million-acre Black Hawk Purchase along the west side of the Mississippi River.  By 1846, when Iowa became a state, census records listed 96,088 people.  The population doubled to 192,914 by 1850 and topped one million before 1870.  In 1900, Iowa had 2.2 million people, compared to 2.9 million people today.  Most lived on the state’s 200,000 farms, working land where 95 percent of the prairie, two-thirds of the woodlands, and most of the wetlands had been converted to agriculture.  This dramatic, swift, almost complete change of diverse prairie to a monoculture of cropland profoundly altered the ecosystem.  Twenty-eight million acres of bluestem, dropseed, compass plants, coneflowers, gentians, and hundreds other species were transformed, in a relative eye-blink, into a patchwork of corn, wheat, oats, hay, and pasture.  Those plots have expanded to the huge roadside-to-roadside corn and soybean fields that we see today.

Before Iowa was settled a map depicts the vegetation that was present around 1850.  Note the majority of the landscape was tall grass prairie.  There were thousands of acres of wetlands, especially in Central and Northwest Iowa.  The Woodlands were confined to the steep areas along streams and in the Driftless area of Iowa.  Rolling and steeper hills were occupied by Savannas.

It only took 60 to 70 years to almost completely change the ecosystem of Iowa.  It is said that this was one of the quickest and largest annihilations of a natural ecosystem.  Oxen with wooden and steel plows developed by John Deere ripped up the prairie sod and crops were planted.

Glacial deposits occurred over the entire state of Iowa during a period of 2.5 million years and as recent as 10,000 years ago.  The only region not affected by glaciations is northeast Iowa where bedrock is exposed in many areas.

A multitude of events were occurring simultaneously during the last glacial period known as the Wisconsian Glacial Age.  Notably, while the older glaciers of the Nebraskan, Kansan and Illinoinian had long retreated and left their heavy loads across the state, a new glacier advanced from the north covering the north central and central pars of the state.  At the same time huge amounts of silt were blowing in from the northwest from the exposed glacial plains due northwest of Iowa’s western border. Loose materials much younger than the bedrock beneath dominate the present land surface across Iowa. These materials consist of sediment originating from ice sheets, melt water streams, and strong winds during a series of glacial events between 2.5 million and 10,000 years ago (Quaternary). This familiar “dirt” consists of pebbly clay, sand, gravel, and abundant silt, which over time have weathered into Iowa’s productive loamy soils. These easily eroded “Ice Age” deposits account for the gently rolling appearance of much of the Iowa (and Midwestern) landscape.

During the Ice Age, glaciers advanced down into the mid-continent of North America, grinding underlying rock into a fine powder like sediment called “glacial flour.” As temperatures warmed, the glaciers melted and enormous amounts of water and sediment rushed down the Missouri River valley. The sediment was eventually deposited on flood plains downstream, creating huge mud flats. During the winters the melt waters would recede, leaving the mud flats exposed. As they dried, fine-grained mud material called silt was picked up and carried by strong winds. These large dust clouds were moved eastward by prevailing westerly winds and were redeposited over broad areas. Heavier, coarser silt, deposited closest to its Missouri River flood plain source, formed sharp, high bluffs on the western margin of the Loess Hills. Finer, lighter silt, deposited farther east, created gently sloping hills on the eastern margin. This process repeated for thousands of years, building layer upon layer until the loess reached thicknesses of 60 feet or more and became the dominant feature of the terrain.

Even though the prairie is gone, it has left us with a black treasure, our soil.  Over the eons of time the plants that grew on the prairie formed the richest soil on this planet.  Millions of acres are blanketed with black earth known as prairie soils.

What makes soils the way they are?  How did Iowa end up being the most fertile land in the world?   A unique combination and interaction of all of these factors formed our soils.  How are the soils of Iowa different?  By changing just one factor, we affect a major change in the soil.

Factors that interacted to form our soils can be simplified to: Parent Material, Climate, Topography, Vegetation, Time and Human Beings.

Soils are conceived, as we are, from our Parent Material.  Parent materials are composed of the raw earth that lays exposed to the elements. Major parent materials in Iowa consist of bedrock, glacial deposits called glacial till, water deposited material or alluvial deposits, and wind blown silt known as “loess”.  In other parts of the world, soils may be formed in volcanic ash or rock.

Climate has a profound effect on our soils as they are influenced by rainfall, temperature, freezing and thawing, sunlight and day length.

The way the land lays called Topography greatly influences our soils.  From the steep hills along river corridors to the level bottomlands, slope of the land can change the characteristics of our soils.

Vegetation and Organisms dramatically affect our soils.  Within a very localized area, we can note the effect of our past vegetation and what influence it has had on soils.  From the deep rich organic prairie soils developed under the influence of the tall grass prairie to the soils developed under a woodland condition depth of topsoil and fertility vary greatly.

We probably forget about a factor that is ever present and that factor is Time.  It is obvious when we think about the sediment deposited by a river or stream, which is in geologic times, is extremely young.  What a contrast when we sit atop a rock out crop that has been exposed for eons of time.  The stream deposited material stays forever young while the bedrock of a long ago sedimentized ocean bottom gets older and older.  Soils can’t hide their age either.

On the recent geologic scene came Humans and they have now joined the forces of soil forming factors.  By plowing, the natural vegetation and protection of the soil has been removed increasing erosion to an alarming rate.  Topsoil is destroyed, texture of the soil, which allows infiltration of water, is altered, soil forming organisms are eliminated, fertility is diminished as organic matter is washed away and soil tilth is destroyed.  Man has and is having his influence on our soils.  Fallow land and row crops now occupy land that was once a lush sponge to absorb water and cleanse it.

Once we understand the importance of our geologic past, recent history and soil forming factors, we can start to put together nature’s puzzle.  This intricate puzzle laid down over the eons is now at our fingertips for those who pay attention.

What other questions do we need to ask to get this right combination of plants that will fit our site?

  • What direction is your site facing, called Aspect?  A north and northeasterly direction may receive much less sunlight on a steeper slope than those facing south or west on the same steepness of slope due to the angle of the sun.
  • Is your site level, rolling or steep?  Slope as a steep south slope may be hot and dry while a steep north slope may be cool and moist.
  • How much Sunlight does your site get?  If it is dense shade versus full sunlight, you will need entirely different plants to suit your situation.
  • What is the condition of the soil in regards to Soil Moisture?  Drainage of the soil can range from saturated to excessively drained.
  • What are the sizes of the particles that make up your soil, called Texture.   It could range from sand to clay which an important characteristic to note as some plants will not tolerate these conditions.  For detailed description of your soils contact your local NRCS office and get a soil survey report of your county.

Absorbing and understanding the characteristics of our landscapes and soils allows us to then classify our sites.  In site classification we will assign a general category to our site based on all the previously mentioned information.  There are basically five sites to consider:

  • Dry
  • Dry Mesic
  • Mesic
  • Wet Mesic
  • Wet

Next we need to decide which plant community we are dealing with.  It may be a pre-existing condition or one that we want to create.  It is usually best to take what nature has given us if we have that opportunity.  However, if you live in an urban area, your site may have been severely altered and you will have to decide what you want to create there.  As mentioned before, we have four categories of plant communities:

  • Prairie
  • Savanna
  • Wetland
  • Woodland

Once the plant community is determined, select the most appropriate species for your plant community.  Now you are using nature’s prescription for success in creating your native wildflower planting.

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Summer Blooming Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) at Ion Exchange, Inc.

To Purchase Yarrow Visit Us At http://ionxchange.com/products/ACHILLEA-MILLEFOLIUM-%7C-Yarrow.html

Product Description

Yarrow, (Achillea Millefolium) is very common to fields, pastures, disturbed areas, roadsides, previously disturbed prairies and open sites throughout the Tallgrass biome. Tiny white flowers in umbels at the top of the plant bloom from June to September. Feathery, fern-like leaves up to 5 inches long. Generally reaches about 1 1/2 feet tall but does grow slightly taller in some places.

Achillea after Achilles of Greek mythology who is said to have used it medicinally and millifolia meaning “thousand-leaved”.Asteraceae Family – “Common Yarrow, Gordaldo, Gordoloba, Milfoil, Knight’s Milfoil, Milfoil Thousand-leaf, Bloodwort, Woundwort, Devil’s Plaything, Green Arrow, Thousand Leaf, Thousand-seal, Thousand-leaved clover, Cammock, Carpenter Grass, Dog Daisy, Wooly Yarrow, Nosebleed Weed, Old Man’s Pepper, Sanguinary, Soldier’s Woundwort”

ECHINACEA PURPUREA | Purple Coneflower

ECHINACEA PURPUREA | Purple Coneflower

Product Description
“Purple Coneflower, Black Samson, Red Sunflower”

Echinacea from the Greek word for “sea urchin” or “hedgehog” referring to the spiny chaff at the center of these flowers. Purpurea also from the Greek for the word meaning “purple”.

Favors open prairies and dry open woods of the Tallgrass region and blooms from May to October. Grows to two to three feet in height with pale purple to purple flowers.
Sun Exposure: Prairie, Savanna
Soil Moisture: Wet Mesic, Mesic, Dry Mesic
Bloom Time: Summer, Fall (July, August, September)
Bloom Color: Purple
Max Height: 4 feet
Wetland Code: UPL
Germ Code: A
Seeds Per Packet: 300
Seeds Per Ounce: 6,600

Edible Uses: Unknown

Medicinal Uses: Echinacea is considered to be the most effective detoxicant in Western herbal medicine for the circulatory, lymphatic and respiratory system. Its use has also been adopted by Ayurvedic medicine. Plants in this genus were probably the most frequently used of N. American Indian herbal remedies. They had a very wide range of applications and many of these uses have been confirmed by modern science. This species is the most easily cultivated of the genus and so has been more generally adopted for its medicinal uses. The plant has a general stimulatory effect on the immune system and is widely used in modern herbal treatments. In Germany over 200 pharmaceutical preparations are made from Echinacea. There has been some doubt over the ability of the body to absorb the medicinally active ingredients orally (intravenous injections being considered the only effective way to administer the plant), but recent research has demonstrated significant absorption from orally administered applications. The roots and the whole plant are considered particularly beneficial in the treatment of sores, wounds, burns etc, possessing cortisone-like and antibacterial activity. The plant was used by N. American Indians as a universal application to treat the bites and stings of all types of insects. An infusion of the plant was also used to treat snakebite. The root is adaptogen, alterative, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, sialagogue. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Herbal Uses: Unknown

To Purchase This Native Wildflower Click on Ion Exchange, Inc., Link Below

http://ionxchange.com/products/ECHINACEA-PURPUREA-%7C-Purple-Coneflower.html

 

Planting Native Wildflowers Spring Bloomers Achillea millefolium/Yarrow

Achillea Millifolium Yarrow

Product Description

Yarrow, (Achillea Millefolium) is very common to fields, pastures, disturbed areas, roadsides, previously disturbed prairies and open sites throughout the Tallgrass biome. Tiny white flowers in umbels at the top of the plant bloom from June to September. Feathery, fern-like leaves up to 5 inches long. Generally reaches about 1 1/2 feet tall but does grow slightly taller in some places.

Achillea after Achilles of Greek mythology who is said to have used it medicinally and millifolia meaning “thousand-leaved”.

Asteraceae Family – “Common Yarrow, Gordaldo, Gordoloba, Milfoil, Knight’s Milfoil, Milfoil Thousand-leaf, Bloodwort, Woundwort, Devil’s Plaything, Green Arrow, Thousand Leaf, Thousand-seal, Thousand-leaved clover, Cammock, Carpenter Grass, Dog Daisy, Wooly Yarrow, Nosebleed Weed, Old Man’s Pepper, Sanguinary, Soldier’s Woundwort”

Sun Exposure               Prairie
Soil Moisture Mesic
Bloom Time Spring, Summer
June, July, August, September
Bloom Color White
Max Height 2 feet
Wetland Code NA
Germ Code
Seeds Per Ounce

An herbal tea made from the entire flowering plant was used to treat colds, fever, anorexia, indigestion, gastric troubles, and internal bleeding. Fresh plant often used as a styptic poultice; some qualities of this species as an expectorant and analgesic made it useful in the treatment of cold and flu symptoms; Native Americans across North America used it similarly. It was also used as a very effective coagulant and was used to quell the flow of blood for everything from deep gashes to arrow and/or spear wounds. The leaves were soaked in water and packed into the nostril(s) to stem the flow of nosebleeds. Yarrow leaves were boiled by both Native Americans and early settlers to creat a wash for eyes irritated from dust, glare and snow blindness. The same wash also provided great relief as a fever wash and was applied to areas suffering painful, persistent itching such as from poison ivy or poison oak. A poultice of bruised Yarrow leaves was laid over or bound to the forehead to relive headache pain. The mashed leaves were also inserted into the outer ear to relieve earache pain almost instantaneously. Native Americans also favored Yarrow baths for the treatment of arthritis.

There are two notations of this plant’s use as a local anesthetic recorded by the Research Service of the USDA. One involved a Nevada Native American suffering from a deep thigh wound which had become partially filled by dirt and sand. Fresh, heavily scrubbed yarrow root was crushed to a spongy consistency and applied gently to the wound.After about thirty minutes, the root mass had dulled the pain enough so the wound cound be opened and cleaned with no discomfort to the patient. In the second case, a deeply embedded splinter could not be removed initially and the area of the wound became infected. After thirty minutes soaking in a solution of pulverized yarrow root, the infected area was lanced and the splinter removed with no pain to the patient. These numbing qualities also resulted in the use of the boiled and mashed leaves being inserted into teeth suffering from painful toothache.

Edible Uses:
Leaves: Raw or cooked. A rather bitter flavour, they make an acceptable addition to mixed salads and are best used when young. The leaves are also used as a hop-substitute for flavouring and as a preservative for beer etc. Although in general yarrow is a very nutritious and beneficial plant to add to the diet, some caution should be exercised.

An aromatic tea is made from the flowers and leaves.

Medicinal Uses:
Yarrow has a high reputation and is widely employed in herbal medicine, administered both internally and externally. It is used in the treatment of a very wide range of disorders but is particularly valuable for treating wounds, stopping the flow of blood, treating colds, fevers, kidney diseases, menstrual pain etc, . The whole plant is used, both fresh and dried, and is best harvested when in flower. Some caution should be exercised in the use of this herb since large or frequent doses taken over a long period may be potentially harmful], causing allergic rashes and making the skin more sensitive to sunlight. The herb combines well with Sambucus nigra flowers (Elder) and Mentha x piperita vulgaris (Peppermint) for treating colds and influenza.

The herb is antiseptic, antispasmodic, mildly aromatic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, odontalgic, stimulant, bitter tonic, vasodilator and vulnerary. It also contains the anti-inflammatory agent azulene, though the content of this varies even between plants in the same habitat. The herb is harvested in the summer when in flower and can be dried for later use.

Other Uses:
The growing plant repels beetles, ants and flies. The plant has been burnt in order to ward off mosquitoes.

A liquid plant feed can be made from the leaves]. You fill a container with the leaves and then add some water. Leave it to soak for a week or two and then dilute the rather smelly dark liquid, perhaps 10 – 1 with water though this figure is not crucial.

This plant is an essential ingredient of ‘Quick Return’ herbal compost activator]. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost.

The fragrant seeds have been used to impart a pleasant smell indoors.

An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used medicinally. The leaves contain from 0.6 to 0.85% essential oil.

The leaves have been used as a cosmetic cleanser for greasy skin.

Yellow and green dyes are obtained from the flowers.

A good ground cover plant, spreading quickly by its roots.

Warning! – Can cause dermatitis in many individuals; contains thujone, a known toxin.

My Little Prairie

My Little Prairie

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After a thunderstorm and lots of rain last night, I walked out to our 1-mile labyrinth through our 20-year-old prairie.  I noticed the mist rising through the thick morning air and smelled the freshness of the ground and air.  Dew dripped from the Big Bluestem.  Showy Tick-trefoil was seen drooping its purple head now standing 4 feet high towering over the already bloomed Golden Alexanders.

Still the Ohio Spiderwort sends out a spectacular 3 petaled blue flower saying goodbye once again to its blooming season.

The Yellow Coneflowers reach skyward with blooms in the green buds ready to burst into their summer yellow suits supporting their cone heads.

Mad Dog Skullcap sported its pink and white blooms and stood at attention just below the ever-growing Indian Grass.

Cup Plant had reached the overflow mark as its’ cupped leaves held at least 4 ozs. of water after the rain.  It continues its upward growth trying to once again outdo itself having reached over 7 feet in height last year.

A closer look revealed a Cream Gentian trying to get attention but alas all it could show were its waxy leaves waiting for another month to bloom and show off its pale yellow color.  Of course the Butterfly Milkweed needs no search to find as it shows forth its psychedelic orange heads stealing all the attention to itself.

The prairie hides many treasures just waiting to surprise the passerby with its individual personality made up of a hundred species of native flowers and grasses forming a living community adapted to the seasons of time.  A virtual kaleidoscope of dazzling colors turning off and on as the seasons roll by, is there to just enjoy.  Each species alone can be cherished but we sometimes forget that they all joined hands at one time making one of the largest living communities in the world sweeping from Texas to Canada.

Purple Coneflower, Oxeye Sunflower, Wild Indigo

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