Shortgrass Prairie

Plant Species Information

Buchloe dactyloides (buffalo grass)—Buffalo grass is member of the grass family (Poaceae). This perennial is found throughout the Great Plains and the western prairie states growing in full sun and dry to moderately moist soils. Buffalo grass may be used as a turf grass, as it is able to tolerate hot, humid summers with little water or fertilizer. It is also highly palatable to grazing animals.

Ipomoea leptophylla (bush morning glory)—Bush morning glory
is a member of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). This perennial vine is found throughout the western Great Plains growing in sandy soils. Native Americans used the plant’s large tuber as a famine food. An individual plant may live for more than 10 years.

Castilleja sessiliflora (downy paintbrush)—Downy paintbrush is a member of the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae). This perennial is found throughout the Great Plains and western prairie states. The plant prefers dry, rocky soils. The floral bracts can vary in color, ranging from pale yellows to pinks or purples.

Zinnia grandiflora (plains zinnia)—Plains zinnia is a member of the sunflower (Asteraceae) family. This perennial subshrub is found throughout the southwest and southwestern Great Plains. The plant is ideal for rock gardens, requiring little water and full sun. The sunny yellow flowers are long-lasting.

Opuntia imbricata (walkingstick cholla)—Walkingstick cholla is a member of the cactus family (Cactaceae). This perennial subshrub is found throughout the southwest and southwestern Great Plains. The plant prefers well-drained sandy soil and full sun. Its showy magenta flowers are followed by persistent yellow fruits. Cholla may become weedy, as it spreads rapidly after an area is overgrazed.