What makes a plant so fascinating? It’s their ability to survive in harsh environments. One of the harshest environments on Earth is the grassland biome, which is filled with extreme temperatures and unpredictable rainfall. However, despite these conditions, plants can thrive here. In this blog post, we will be discussing seven fascinating species that are native to grasslands around the world!
The blazing star genus includes about 140 species of perennial flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. The flowers are produced on a single side of the stem and typically consist only of petals, with disk-like floral organs called ray florets that surround them, giving these plants their names. They are known for attracting butterflies to gardens!
Prickly Pear Cacti
The prickly pear cactus is a leafless plant with a thick stem and genus that ranges from four to six species. The term “prickly pear” refers not only to the fruit of these plants, but also the pad-like structures on its main body, which are used as protective armor.
Cacti come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have many things in common: no leaves, spines, or needles for protection from predators, deep taproots to gather water from the soil even when it is dry on top, and adaptations to store moisture like fleshy stems that may turn into ribs at their joints.
Goldenrods are plants in which the leaves and flowers have a yellowish color. They belong to the genus Solidago, of which there are about 100 species. The best-known is probably S. gigantea (syn. Euthamia) or ‘giant goldenrod’, native from Newfoundland westwards through Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and the northern U.S., south to Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma (where it is an introduced species) and Virginia.
The blooms are made up of many small flowers clustered together into a larger flower head that can be over two inches wide. The plants grow in damp areas like swampy forests or stream banks where they provide food for bees.
The finger plant is a fast-growing invasive species that thrive in harsh conditions, like the grasslands of Australia where it has become an environmental threat to native plants and animals. The finger weed can grow up to two feet tall with no leaves or flowers on its stem. They reproduce by sending out runners underground which will produce a new plant if they reach the water.
Asters are a genus of about 250 species belonging to the family Asteraceae. They have flowers that come in many colors and sizes, but they always look more or less like daisies with one central yellow disc surrounded by frilly petals.
Common Asters include aster novae-angliae (New England aster) – native to eastern North America, it has many lavender flowers and a dark blue center
aster cordifolius (heart-leaved aster) – native from Quebec in Canada south through the Great Lakes region of the U.S., blooms with yellow rays and purple or red disc
False indigo is an invasive weed found in the grasslands of Australia. It is a herbaceous plant with long, slender leaves that are finely toothed on their edges and dark purple flowers which can grow up to 12 inches tall.
The false indigo threatens native plants because they have no natural predators or diseases controlling them and reproduce quickly by creating new shoots from small pieces of stem.
Purple Prairie Clover
The purple prairie clover is a perennial that grows in grasslands across the northern hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, ranging from -60 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This plant has small, light-purple flowers on slender flower stalks that are about one inch long. The leaves are divided into three leaflets and can be eaten either raw or cooked.
Milkweed plants in the family Asclepiadaceae, native to North America and South Africa. They have a fleshy stem (caudex) that becomes woody at its base with time. The leaves wrap around this part of the milkweed like a sheath or cone when they get older. Milkweeds produce flowers that are very fragrant and come in a wide variety of colors, from white to orange.
Lupines are a type of flowering plant in the legume family. The genus includes about 260 species found mostly across temperate and subtropical regions around the world.
One well-known lupine is Lupinus polyphyllus (synspective lupine) or ‘manyleaf’, which has blue flowers and is native to the Northern Hemisphere.
Lupines are mostly found in habitats or grassland areas where they can be a dominant species living among many other types of plant life. The lupine’s flowers bloom at different times during the summer months making it an easy way for animals and birds that depend on nectar sources like honeybees to find food.
The purple coneflower is a perennial plant with many small flowers that come in shades of light purple and lavender. Native to the Midwest, their seeds were spread westward by settlers who began farming them for food or as cut flowers because they have long vases of life (meaning the flower can be left on display for up to two weeks).
The purple coneflower is a perennial that grows in grasslands across the northern hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, ranging from -60 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
It has small light-purple flowers on slender flower stalks that are about one inch tall with leaves divided into three leaflets that can be eaten either raw or cooked. The coneflower is a favorite of bees that love to feed on its nectar, thus it provides food for many other species including humans.
Prairie Blazing Star
The prairie blazing star is named that because the flowers come in shades of orange and red with thick petals surrounding the yellow center and grow up to two feet tall. They are found in the grasslands of North America and Canada
The prairie blazing star is a perennial plant that grows in areas across the northern hemisphere where it ranges from -60 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It has thick petals surrounding its yellow center which are mostly found out west but can grow up to two feet tall. Prairie Blazing Stars provide food for many animals and humans because they have nectar which attracts many species.
Prairie Smoke Plant
The prairie smoke plant is a perennial native to the grasslands of Eastern North America that grows up to three feet tall with leaves divided into three leaflets, very fragrant flowers come in shades of white or pink, and has seeds that are eaten by many different animals.
The prairie smoke plant is a perennial that grows in grasslands across the northern hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, ranging from -60 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit with leaves divided into three leaflets. Prairie Smoke Plants provide food for insects like bees which love their nectar or seeds, eaten by birds and mammals as well as humans.
Clovers are a type of flowering plant in the legume family. There are about 600 species that grow in every continent except Antarctica and Australia, most commonly found as small shrubs but some growing up to six feet tall.
The clover’s flowers bloom at different times during the summer months making it an easy way for animals and birds that depend on nectar sources like honeybees to find food.
The clover is a flowering plant native to the northern hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, ranging from -60 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It has small flowers that come in shades of purple, blue, pink, or yellow which are zygomorphic (meaning they have one petal on one side that looks different) and have a yellow center.
Clovers provide food for many organisms like honeybees because they can find it easily which is what helps them the most in their habitat, but also humans who use clover blossoms to make tea.
Sunflowers are popular plants in the United States and North America because they grow anywhere from five to 20 feet tall with large flowers that come in shades of yellow or brown.
The sunflower is a perennial plant native to the northern hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, and Eurasian regions where it ranges from -60 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Sunflowers have large yellow or brown flowers that are zygomorphic with one side of the petal looking different than the other.
They provide food for many species like honeybees which eat their nectar, birds, and mammals who enjoy eating sunflower seeds (including humans) and can be used to produce oil as well.
Wild indigos are found in the United States, Canada, and Mexico as perennial plants that grow up to five feet tall with leaves divided into three leaflets. The flowers come in shades of purple or blue-purple which attract many different species like birds who eat their seeds and humans who use them for food.
The plants found in grasslands are a fascinating part of the ecosystem. They provide food for many different species and humans, making them important to our planet’s balance.