SPIRIT MOUND TRUST
P.O. BOX 603
VERMILLION SD 57069 

EMAIL:

info@spiritmound.org


Field Guide to Plants at Spirit Mound

Text by Brian Hazlett
Photos by Dianne Blankenship & Mark Wetmore

Grasses

Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii, Grass Family)

Abundant grass in local prairies.  A major component of the eastern Tallgrass Prairie known for its distictive turkey-foot branching of the seed head.

Canada Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis, Grass Family)

Common grass in local prairies with thick, drooping seed heads and long awns.

Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans, Grass Family)

Frequent in local prairies.  Noted for its tall stature and plume-like seed head.

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium, Grass Family)

Common tufted grass in local upland prairies. 

Prairie Cordgrass (Spartina pectinata, Grass Family)

Common in local moist prairies, roadside ditches, and wetlands.  Leaves have sharp teeth along their margins, so this grass is sometimes called ripgut. 

Sideoats Grama (Bouteloua curtipendula, Grass Family)

Frequent grass in local upland prairies. Seed heads hang on one side of the stem.

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum, Grass Family)

Common in local moist prairies.  Recognized by its large panicled seed head.

Plants That Begin Blooming In April

Hoary Puccoon (Lithospermum canescens, Borage Family)

Occasional in local prairies.  Yellow to yellow-orange flowers clustered at ends of the stems produce stoney nutlets.

Plants That Begin Blooming In May

Downy Phlox (Phlox pilosa, Polemonium Family)

Occasional in local prairies.  Recognized by opposite, softly hairy, grass-like leaves and pink, tubular, five-petaled flowers. 

Bracted Spiderwort (Tradescantia bracteata, Spiderwort Family)

Occasional in moist local prairies.  Known by alternate, grass-like leaves and short-lived, three-petaled, pink to blue flowers.   

Shell-leaf Penstemon (Penstemon grandiflorus, Figwort Family)

Frequent in local prairies.  Distinctive clasping, opposite leaves; large, showy, lavender flowers appearing early in the season.

Plants That Begin Blooming In June

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta, Sunflower Family)

Infrequent biennial of local disturbed prairies and roadsides.  When in bloom, its yellowish-orange rays surround a dark disk.

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa, Milkweed Family)

Occasional in local prairies.  Known for its brilliant orange flowers.

Canada Milk-vetch (Astragalus canadensis, Bean Family)

Occasional in local moist prairies and ditches.  Cream-colored flowers occur in densely-crowded, candle-like clusters.

Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum, Sunflower Family)

Occasional in local prairies. Fused, opposite leaf bases form a cup around a square stem.  When in bloom, yellow flower rays surround a yellowish-green disk.

Lead Plant (Amorpha canescens, Bean Family)

Common shrub in local prairies.  Its common name is based on the color of its densely hairy leaves. 

Ox-eye (Heliopsis helianthoides, Sunflower Family)

Occasional in local open woods and prairies.  Recognized by its opposite leaves and flower heads of yellow rays surrounding a disk of smaller florets. 

Prairie Coneflower (Ratibida columnifera, Sunflower Family)

Occasional in local prairies.  When in bloom, yellow rays surround the base of a tall brown collumn.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia, Sunflower Family)

Frequent in local prairies.  Recognized by long, narrow leaves at stem base and solitary heads of short, reddish-purple rays surrounding a reddish-brown dome. 

Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea, Bean Family)

Common in local prairies.  Alternate, pinnately compound leaves, usually with five leaflets; when in bloom, tiny reddish-purple flowers densely encircle cylindrical spike. 

Rocky Mountain Beeplant (Cleome serrulata, Caper Family)

Infrequent annual of local prairies.  Long stamens extend beyond the pink petals.  Later linear fruits hang on long stipes.

Tall Cinquefoil (Potentilla arguta, Rose Family)

Characterized by pinnately compound, toothed leaves on long petioles and cream-colored flowers atop a long flower stalk.

White Prairie Clover (Dalea candida, Bean Family)

Common in local prairies.  Alternate, pinnately compound leaves, with 3-5 pairs of leaflets; when in bloom, tiny white flowers encircle cylindrical spike. 

Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa, Mint Family)

Frequent in local prairies and woods.  Produces lavender flowers arranged in loose heads. 

Plants That Begin Blooming In July

Common Evening Primrose
(Oenothera biennis, Evening Primrose Family)

Frequent biennial of local roadsides and some prairies.  Easily recognized by its spikes of four-petaled, yellow flowers. 

Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus, Figwort Family)

Common along roadsides and in other disturbed sites.  Non-native plant producing basal rosettes of long, wooly leaves during the first season and a thick spike of yellow flowers during the second.

Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum, Sunflower Family)

Occasional in local prairies.  Large basal leaves are generally oriented in a north-south direction.  When in bloom, yellow flower rays surround a yellowish-green disk.

Gray-headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata, Sunflower Family)

Frequent in local moist prairies with deeply pinnately-lobed leaves.  When in bloom, yellow rays surround a domed brown disk.

Showy Partridge Pea (Cassia chamaecrista, Caesalpinia Family)

Frequent annual along local roadsides and in some prairies.  Characterized by yellow flowers and finely pinnately compound leaves. 

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata, Milkweed Family)

Occasional in local marshes and other wet sites.  Dark pink flowers appear in late summer.

White Sage (Artemisia ludoviciana, Sunflower Family)

Frequent in local prairies.  Clustered flowers tend to be inconspicuous among the white, densely-hairy leaves. 

Wooly Verbena (Verbena stricta, Vervain Family)

Frequent in local prairies and along roadsides.  Noted by hairy, opposite leaves and small lavender flowers on slender spikes. 

Plants That Begin Blooming In August or Later

Rigid Goldenrod (Solidago rigida, Sunflower Family)

Common in local prairies.  Noted for its leathery, oblong leaves and flat-topped flower cluster.

Silky Aster (Aster sericeus, Sunflower Family)

Frequent in local dry prairies.  Recognized by gray hairs that densely cover the leaves.

 

 

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