Tallgrass Prairie

Plant Species Information

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)—Big bluestem is a perennial member of the grass family (Poaceae). It is typically found in prairies and along roadsides. Along with switch grass, little bluestem, and Indian grass, big blue is one of the “big four” native prairie grasses. It is highly palatable to grazing animals.

Phlox pilosa (downy phlox)—Downy phlox is a perennial member of the phlox family (Polemoniaceae) found throughout the eastern United States in woodlands and prairies. The flower color may vary from white to pink to lavender to deep purple. Its nectar is a food source for hummingbirds and butterflies.

Penstemon cobaea (large-flowered penstemon)—Large-flowered penstemon is a perennial member of the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae). The flower color may vary from white to pink to deep lavender. The plant prefers dry soils and full sun. Penstemon species are also known as beard-tongues, referring to their flower’s hairy stamen.

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm)—Lemon beebalm is a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family found commonly growing in prairies and pastures. The plant has a lemony scent and is attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. The leaves of beebalm can be used to make an insect repellent or can be brewed into a tea.

Thelesperma filifolium (Navajo tea)—is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) found growing throughout the Great Plains. It prefers dry areas on gravelly or sandy soils. The fragrant leaves can be brewed into a tea. Thelesperma is a good plant for attracting butterflies, and painted buntings enjoy the mature achenes.