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Marion High School Field Biology: Fall 2005

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Prairie Flowers

As part of the class we were to be able to identify and describe many different prairie flowers and grasses. The place we went to for all of this was the natural prairie at Squaw Creek Park. Several of the flowers had different varieties and that made it especially difficult to distinguish which ones they were. The ways we could tell the differences were the size, the shape, and the color of each flower. Along with the prairie flowers there were three different kinds of prairie grasses: rye grass, switch grass, and blue stem. The ways we could tell the difference between the three grasses was the shape of the end and the color.

Names and Descriptions

Barn Thistle

Golden Rod

Great Lobella

Yellow Daisy

Prairie Clover

Purple Aster

Purple Droop

Queen Anne's Lace

Smooth Aster

Wild Daisy

Prairie Sunflower

Rye Grass

switch Grass

Blue Stem

The Barn Thistle has a purple flower that is in the shape of a prickly dome. The leaves are rigid and have sharp thistles on them. The flower has several petals protruding from its dome base.

Golden Rod is a golden-yellow color. It has a tall stem with tiny flowers budding out on thin stems on the top. The leaves that go up the stem are thin and long.

The Great Lobella is a purpleish-blue color. It's a smaller, squat flowering plant. The flowers are on the plant in a thin upward shape.

The Yellow Daisy has a flower that is smaller in size, with a lot of thinner yellow petals. The inside of the flower is a darker brown and gold color. It is a fairly tall flowering plant.

The Prairie Clover is a pinkish-purple colored flower with some white on it. This plant has clusters of small flowers at the end. The leaves are very small and round.

Purple Aster is a member of the aster variety. The flowers on this plant are purple with a small yellow center. It is easily mistaken for smooth aster. The difference between the two is the size; purple aster is smaller.

The Purple Droop has a lighter colored flower. The center is a large dome shape and is dark brown in color. Petals on the Purple Droop are thin and fall down to its side in a drooping manner.

Queen Anne's Lace is a white cluster of tiny little white flowers. The stems are thin and tall.

Smooth Aster looks very much like purple aster. It is purple in color with a yellow center. The differences are the thinner petals and the wider appearance.

The Wild Daisy is a yellow flowering plant with a sandy yellow center. The petals are thicker and longer than those of the prairie daisy.

The Prairie Sunflower has yellow color flowers with a darker yellow center. The center is also larger and of a dome shape. This is the largest of the daisies we found in the prairie.

Rye Grass is a tall thin grass, that is dark brown. The tips are made of many thin strips of clustered seeds.

Switch Grass is a light tan prairie grass. It's thin and very tall in stature with a very plain tip.

Blue Stem is a tan colored grass with blueish-tan tips. The tips also appear to be of the same shape as that of a turkey's foot.

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Ashley Murray
Fall 2005