Dominant Prairie Plant Species


Dominant Prairie Plant Species

Click the link to access the Iowa Prairie Plants guide. The guide enables you to search or browse by classification, scientific name, and common name.

“Iowa Prairie Plants” is a comprehensive guide to prairie plants native to Iowa and the Midwest. The guide is available digitally through a partnership between the University of Iowa Press and the University of Iowa libraries. The guide provides species descriptions from the ground up to aide in plant identification and additional detailed plant information.

Below are five of the most common prairie grasses and five of the most common prairie forbs selected for planting prairie strips in the Midwest. Click on the name of each prairie plant species to learn more about each plant.


Prairie Grasses

Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash)

Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman)

Side-oats grama [Bouteloua curtipendua (Michx.) Torrey]   

Canada Wildrye (Elymus canadensis L.)

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.)


Prairie Forbs/Wildflowers –

Yellow (gray-headed) coneflower [Ratibida pinnata (Vent.) Barnh.]

Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta L.)

Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa L.)

Partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculate Michx.)

Gray evening primrose (Oenothera biennis L. var. canescens T. & G.)




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