Friday, April 4, 2008

NA0805--The Central Tall Grasslands

You gotta go check out Wild Flora's post on maps of North American Ecoregions. Here's what I "learned" about Lincoln, NE:

This ecoregion gets its name from the tall grasses that once grew all over this area. These species of grass can reach more than 7 feet (2 m) in height! About 265 herbaceous plant species make up most of the tallgrass prairie in Iowa; 237 species were recorded in a square mile near Lincoln, Nebraska, and 225 species were recorded in the Missouri Valley. Unlike the soils of the Flint Hills Tall Grasslands that borders this ecoregion, the soils of the Central Tall Grasslands were easily converted to use in farming. Historically, fire and drought and grazing by bison and other ungulates were principle sources of disturbance here, which were necessary to maintain the grassland characteristics of the region.

WOW! 273 herbaceous plant species in one square mile right here. I like that. (What was it 300 years ago?)

And, of course, this:

Distinctiveness (1=highest,4=lowest): 1 (globally outstanding) This prairie ecoregion had a rich herbaceous plant cover including as many as 250 species.

Conservation Status (1=most endangered, 5=most intact): 1 (critical) There are no sizeable blocks of intact habitat remaining. Nearly all of the ecoregion has been converted to tilled cropland. Most of the intact patches are smaller than 0.08 km2.*

You can link to a list of native wildlife--I wish there was also a link to native plant species beyond the woody. So far all I get in 4 years of living here is we have bluestem, indian grass, switchgrass, coneflower, liatris, et cetera. Yes. Fine. That's not 237 species, however.


tina said...

Very interesting...I will add the link to my favorites. I like maps and learning.

Unknown said...

The ODNR (Ohio Dept of Natural Resources) has some lists of common Ohio wildflowers and other typical Ohio plants on its website. Maybe Nebraska has something similar, somewhere?

I'll warn you, though, that "typical" for your state doesn't mean that it will grow where you are happily. The giant trillium happily grows wild in the woods behind my parents' house... but I'd have a heck of a time growing it here in my sandy shore soil.

Unknown said...

Man... after following those links I found out that they aren't very flattering to my little ecoregion--not as far as "distinctiveness" goes, anyway. Boo. But they do mention the Great Black Swamp, my original homeland. :)

Gloria said...

The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
Flora search lists six plant communities in Nebraska.

Here is just one...
Central mixed grass prarie

Common Name Scientific

Alkali milk-vetch Astragalus racemosus
Alleghany monkey-flower Mimulus ringens
Vernonia baldwinii
Bigroot prickly pear
Opuntia macrorhiza
Blazing star Liatris squarrosa
Blue sage Salvia azurea
Butterfly milkweed Asclepias tuberosa
Canada milk-vetch Astragalus canadensis
Canada tickclover Desmodium canadense
Candle anemone Anemone cylindrica
Carolina horse-nettle Solanum carolinense
Common burdock Arctium minus
Common milkweed Asclepias syriaca
Common St. John's-wort Hypericum perforatum
Dakota vervain Verbena bipinnatifida
False gromwell Onosmodium molle
False sunflower Heliopsis helianthoides
Field snake-cotton Froelichia floridana
Flodman's thistle Cirsium flodmanii
Flower-of-an-hour Hibiscus trionum
Fourpoint evening primrose Oenothera rhombipetala
Fremont's clematis Clematis fremontii
Fringed loosestrife Lysimachia ciliata
Golden aster Chrysopsis villosa
Golden glow Rudbeckia laciniata
Grassleaf goldenrod Euthamia (Solidago graminifolia) graminifolia
Grooved flax Linum sulcatum
Hairy puccoon Lithospermum carolinense
Illinois bundleflower Desmanthus illinoensis
Indian hemp dogbane Apocynum cannabinum
Jerusalem artichoke Helianthus tuberosus
Meadow anemone Anemone canadensis
Musk thistle Carduus nutans
Narrow-leaved milkweed Asclepias stenophylla
Nodding lady's-tresses Spiranthes cernua
Palespike lobelia Lobelia spicata
Pincushion cactus Coryphantha vivipara
Pink poppy mallow Callirhoe alcaeoides
Pink smartweed Polygonum bicorne
Plainleaf pussy-toes Antennaria parlinii
Platte thistle Cirsium canescens
Prairie gentian Eustoma grandiflorum
Prairie spiderwort Tradescantia occidentalis
Prickly poppy Argemone polyanthemos
Purple coneflower Echinacea angustifolia
Purple poppy mallow Callirhoe involucrata
Red false mallow Sphaeralcea coccinea
Rock sandwort Arenaria stricta
Rocky Mountain pussy-toes Antennaria parvifolia
Rough gayfeather Liatris aspera
Sawtooth sunflower Helianthus grosserratus
Scarlet gaura Gaura coccinea
Sensitive briar Schrankia nuttallii
Showy milkweed Asclepias speciosa
Showy partridge pea Cassia chamaecrista (C. fasciculata)
Small soapweed Yucca glauca
Snakeweed Gutierrezia sarothrae
Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale
Snow-on-the-mountain Euphorbia marginata
Ten-petal mentzelia Mentzelia decapetala
Threadleaf buttercup Ranunculus flabellaris
Venus' looking glass Triodanis perfoliata
Violet wood sorrel Oxalis violacea
Wedgeleaf fog-fruit Lippia cuneifolia
Western ironweed Vernonia fasciculata
Western wild rose Rosa woodsii
White beardtongue Penstemon albidus
White milkwort Polygala alba
White-eyed grass Sisyrinchium campestre
Wild begonia Rumex venosus
Wild onion Allium canadense
Willowleaf aster Aster praealtus
Winged loosestrife Lythrum alatum
Yellow stargrass Hypoxis hirsuta

Benjamin Vogt said...

Tina--I'm glad I could be of service!
Kim--Yes, certainly, just because something is native to your state doesn't mean it'll work everywhere. Which is why I try to go with the simplest plants (at least until I get my green legs fully under me). From now on should folks just refer to you as black swamp thing?
Gloria--Wow! I love it when people do research for me! I do research all the time and get tired of it. Thank you, this is a helpful list / link.

Gloria said...

I just happen to know that website.It is the same one mentioned once before. The information throughout is excellent.
I have visited many state arboretums and native plant botanic gardens.
My favorite has been Rancho Santa Ana in California.Best native plant program anywhere but awful website.
I have a collection of sites that do a good job with their states natives.