Oklahoma Prairie Country
The tallgrass prairie is rich in plant diversity and contains over 650 plant species. One can visit the prairie each month and see a different color scheme each time. Grasses of the tallgrass prairie reach their greatest height in the early fall and the wildflowers that achieve considerable height are most prominent in late summer, such as Rosinweed, Sunflowers, Blazing Star, etc. The spring wildflowers are for the most part short in height and do not have to compete with tall grasses for sunlight.
Prairie Trout Lily , Erythronium mesochoreum
One of the early spring wildflowers. It has two basal leaves on each side of a taller stalk supporting a single nodding flower. The flowers have six bluish to light purplish white pointed petals. There are six yellow stamens and a white style. Since the plant is often about two inches tall, one needs a keen eye to spot them.
The Spring Beauty and the Arrow-leaved Violet also start blooming in March and into April. See below.
Arrow-leaved Violet, Viola sagittata
It is usually less than 6 in. tall. Leaves are arrow-shaped and basal. Leaf edges have small teeth. The single flower on each stalk has 5 purple petals and is about 1 in. wide.
Common Vetch , Vicia sativa
The stems are weak and the plant spreads or climbs. The leaves have 8-14 leaflets and a terminal branching tendril. Flowers are bluish purple and about an inch long. It is a member of the Bean Family.
Cream Wild Indigo, Baptisia bracteata
Somewhat sprawling plants up to 2 ft. tall. Leaves are alternate and divided into 3 leaflets. The flower usually droops and has alternate cream-colored flowers. The seed pods are fat, black, hairy, and up to 2 in. long, with pointed tips.
Daisy Fleabane, Erigeron strigosus
Erect plants growing up to 2.5 ft. tall. The flowers resemble minature daisies. Leaves are less than 1 in. wide, with the stalked basal leaves in a circular cluster at the stem base. Flowers are on individual branches in a spreading cluster.
Fringed Puccoon, Lithospermum incisium
A hairy plant less than 15 inches tall. Leaves are narrow and alternate. Flowers cluster at the top of stems, with each flower up to 1 in. wide. The yellow tubular flowers have crinkle-fringed edges.
Blue-Eyed-Grass, Sisyrinchium campestre
Although called "grass" it is a member of the iris family. The flowers are blue to white on unbranched stems and have 6 pointed tepals and a yellow eye. The flowers are up to 1 in. across. The leaves are distinctively flattened..
Gray-green Wood Sorrel, Oxalis dillenii
The leaves are smaller, lighter green, and without purple undersides compared to Violet Wood Sorrel. It has branched, leafy stems covered with small grayish hairs. Plants usually are about 6 in. tall, but can grow to 1 foot. The yellow flower has 5 petals.
Jack-In-The-Pulpit , Arisaema triphyllum
This plant grows in shady, moist areas, such as along the banks of streams. The leaf is divided into 3 leaflets which can grow to 7 inches long. The flower often has brownish purple stripes. Stems are smooth and can grow to 18 inches. In the fall the plant produces orange-red fruit.
New Jersey Tea, Ceanothus americanus
The flower is white, with some pink and some red in the stems. It is a small shrub that grows up to 3 feet tall. The leaves are alternate and up to 4 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. The leaves are used to make tea. Native Americaans showed the colonists how to make the tea as a substitute for the black tea during the American Revolution on the East Coast. The leaves are eaten by white-tailed deer and the fruit by wild turkeys.
Prairie Parsley, Polytaenia nuttallii
Plants grow to 3 ft. tall and have thick, alternate, compound leaves. Leaves have several segments, each of which is divided or lobed. Pale yellow flowers are in umbrella-like clusters near the top of the plant.
Prairie Iris, Nemastylis geminiflora
Plants grow from bulbs. They have 2-4 alternate, narrow leaves growing from the main stem. Leaves are up to 1 ft. long and less than 1 in. wide. 1-3 flowers are produced on short stalks.Flowers are 1.5 to 2.5 in. wide, with 6 lavender-blue petals. The flowers open in late morning and close in early afternoon. They usually grow over limestone formations.
Prairie Verbena, Verbena bipinnatifida
The plant is hairy, branched, and somewhat prostrate, reaching 6-18 inches in length. The leaf is divided into several lobes that are 1/2 to 2 inches long. The flowers are in terminal spikes, five-lobed, tubular, and about 1/2 wide. The color is purple or lilac. The plants prefer rocky limestone soil.
Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica
Each stem, somewhat weak, bears only one pair of leaves. Flowers usually have 5 petals and each is light pink with darker pink veins. The plant grows 3-8 in. tall.
White Wind Flower, Anemone caroliniana
This is a member of the Buttercup Family. It grows up to 8 inches tall and has long-stalked, deeply cut, basal leaves. The stems are hairy and each stem carries one flower. It grows where the grass is short or sparse, such as on walking trails.
Wild Parsley, Lomattium foeniculaceum
This is a low, smooth to hairy, perennial herb. It grows up to 1 1/2 ft. tall. Leaves are alternate, styalked, broadly oval, 1/2-8 inches long. Flowers are slightly rounded umbrels up to 4 inches wide.
Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginiana
The plant is low spreading. The leaves are divided into 3 rounded leaflets with toothed edges. Flowers are in small clusters. Each flower has 5 white petals and more than 15 yellow stamens.
Whitlow Grass, Draba brachycarpa
This plant is not a grass, as the name implies. It grows up to 10 inches tall on hairy stems. The leaves are at the base of the plant and scattered along the stem.
Yellow Star Grass, Hypoxis hirsuta
Plants are 1 ft. tall or less, with bare flowering stems and grasslike basal leaves. The leaves are hairy and up to 8 in. long and 1/4 in. wide. Flower stalks are shorter than the leaves. There are 2-12 yellow flowers, each with 6 petals. Each flower is 1/2 to 1 in. wide.
Bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis
This is a spreading vine that grows up to three feet. It is from the morning glory family. The flowers are funnel-like and are variable in color, white to rose. It is often found along the sides of roads.
Blue Wild Indigo, Baptisia australis
Blue Wild Indigo is a member of the Bean family. It often grows where there is limestone. The leaves are alternate compound and divide into three rounded to oblong leaflets, less than two inches long. It grows up to four feet tall. Flowers are blue and the seedpods are black with a point at the tip.
Buckley's Penstemon, Penstemon buckleyi
It is a member of the Figwort family. The stems are smooth and mostly unbranched. Flowers are numerous and mostly three at each stem node. The flowers are lavender to white and are tubular shaped.
Carolina Larkspur, Delphinium carolinianum
Plants are 1-3 feet tall. Leaves are alternate on the lower part of the stem. Flowers are alternate on the upper stem; they are irregular cornucopia-shaped flowers about 1 inch long. Flowers are white to blue in color.
Common Mallow, Malva neglecta
Blooms in spring and fall. It is native to Eurasia. It grows 6-18 inches tall. The leaves are kidney-shaped to round with 5-7 shallow lobes. Flowers have 5 petals and are small. Flowers are white, pink, or lavender. It is also called Dwarf Mallow.
Common Spiderwort, Tradescantia ohiensis
Spiderwort thrives on disturbed sandy soils and can be found in fields and on roadsides. Stems are erect and unbranched. Leaves are thick and 8-12 inches long. Flowers cluster at stem tips and have three blue to pink petals. When the leaves are town they exude a thick, sticky sap. Early pioneers called them "snot weed."
Common Sticker Weed (Horse Nettle), Solanum carolinense
Plants are branched with stout stems having yellowish prickles. Leaf blades are lobed and 2-6 inches long, and 1/2-2 inches wide. The flowers are attached at the leaf axes. Each flower is five-lobed and purple in color. The fruit are orange-yellow globes when ripe.
Green Milkweed, Asclepias viridis
Plants grow 1-2 feet tall. Leaves are oblong-ovate, 2-5 inches long and 1/2-2 inches wide. Flowers are terminal umbels, with each greenish flower being in five parts. This plant prefers prairie habitats.
Ground Plum, Astragalus crassicarpus
Plants have several stems from a single root system and they trail along the ground. The flowers are in small clusters at the ends of the branches. The flowers are pale purple. The fruit are succulent, shiny, round pods up to 1 inch in diameter. The fruit are reddish in color and have been used as food by Native Americans and pioneers. They taste like raw peas.
Indigo Bush, Amorpha fruticosa
This is a large member of the Bean family and grows up to ten feet tall. Leaves are opposite, with an additional leaf at the tip. Flowers are in dense spikes on the upper part of the plant. Flowers are dark indigo-purple with yellow stamens. The plant grows in moist prairie thickets and along streams.
Large Flowered Coreopsis, Coreopsis grandiflora
Planats are up to two feet tall. Leaves are divided into slender, threadlike segments less than 1/4 inch wide. Golden yellow flowers are on individual erect stems. Each flower has about eight petals, each up to one inch long and with 4-5 ragged teeth at the tip. These plants are frequent on prairies, especially where there is a sandstone and flint soil.
Meadow Garlic, Allium canadense
Plants are up to one foot tall with a bulbous cluster of flowers at the end. Individual flowers are 1/2 inch across and from pink to white in color. There are up to 20 flowers per cluster.
Moth Mullein, Verbascum blattaria
This plant is found in disturbed areas. It is a native of Eurasia. Leaves are basal and alternate. Flowers are yellow to white with red-purple centers. Flowers are 5-lobed. Plant height is 1-4 ft.
Nuttall's Death Camass, Zigadenus nuttallii
This prairie flower grows 1-2 feet tall and has long, narrow leaves near the bottom of the plant. It grows from a large, black bulb. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Flowers are cream-colored and form a round-topped cluster.
Pale Poppy Mallow, Callirhoe alcaeoides
Plants are 8-20 inches tall and branch from the base. Leaves are deeply cut or completely divided and are 2-4 inches long. Flowers are pink to white with 5 petals.
Prairie Ragwort, Senecio plattensis
Plants are up to 11/2 feet tall. The stem is branched only at the top. Leaves are oval or oblong; they are toothed only or toothed and lobed. The flowers at the end of the top branches are yellow with a yellow disk in the center.
Prairie Wild Rose, Rosa setigera
This is a climbing and rambling plant with stems that can be several feet long. The leaves have blades divided into three leaflets that are 1-3 inches long. Leaves are sharply toothed. The flowers have five broad white to pink petals.
Wild Four-o'clock, Mirabilis nyctaginea
This plant has branching, angular stems and grows 2-4 feet tall. The leaves are opposite and are up to 4 inches long with a triangular shape. The leaves are pointed at the ends. The stalks are somewhat hairy. The flowers is less than 1/2-inch wide with a pink, 5-lobed, corolla-like calyx and 3-5 yellow-tipped stamens. The plant is considered poisonous, but Native Americans have used the roots to treat swellings, sprains, and burns.
Wild Rose, Rosa species
This is a climbing and rambling plant with stems that can be several feet long. The leaves have blades divided into three leaflets that are 1-3 inches long. Leaves are sharply toothed. The flowers have five broad pink petals.
Scurfy Pea, Psoralidium tenuiflorum
Bushy plants with widely spaced, alternate, stalked leaves. Each leaf is divided into 3-5 narrow, rounded leaflets. Flowers are purple elongated clusters.
Sensitive Briar, Mimosa quadrivalvis
Plants are sprawling vines with angular stems that are covered with prickles. Stems are up to 4 feet long. Leaves are alternate and doubly compounded. Flowers are ball shaped and magenta-pink in color. The leaves fold when touched.
Showy Evening Primrose, Oenothera speciosa
These plants are very branched and grow 1-3 feet tall, although often they lie near the ground. Leaves are 2-3 inches long with slightly wavy edges. Flowers have four white to pink petals. The primrose thrives in disturbed areas, such as roadsides.
Toothed Evening Primrose, Calylophus serrulatus
Plants grow to 1.5 feet tall. Leaves are narrow, alternate, and usually toothed or wavy along the edges. The yellow flowers have four petals with irregular edges. The plant is found hilly prairies, rocky slopes, and dry sandy prairies.
Tube False Dandelion, Pyrrhopappus grandiflorus
A perennial herb that grows up to one foot tall. Leaves are clustered in a basal rosette and are coarsely toothed. Flowers are yellow and raylike. These plants are found on tallgrass, mixed, and sand prairies.
Wild Hyacinth, Camassia scilloides
This is a plant which grows from a bulb and has a stout stem. It grows up to 2 feet tall. The leaves, up to 1 foot long, are grasslike and grow from its base. The flowers are clustered at the top of the stem and contain up to 50 flowers. The flowers are light blue to lilac, and rarely white. The Comanche Indians used the roots as a food source.
Wooly Yarrow, Achillea lanulosa
Yarrow grows from one to three feet tall. The leaves are much divided and appear feathery or fernlike. When leaves are broken they exude a very aromatic oder. Flowers are numerous in compact heads and each flower is about half an inch wide. Each flower head has 4-6 rays. Flowers are white and sometimes pink.
Yellow Sweet Clover, Melilotus officinalis
The plant is branched and somewhat erect growing 1-6 feet tall. Leaves are alternate with 3 lance-shaped narrowly elliptic leaflets 1/2-11/2 in. long. Leaves are toothed on the margins. Flowers are yellow and 5-parted 1/4 in. long.
Most of the wildflowers shown above for May are still in bloom. There are masses of yellow flowers blooming on the prairie during the first part of June. These are mistakenly taken for Black-Eyed Susan. They are Clasping-leaved Coneflowers. The Black-eyed Susan will be blooming shortly.
American Bellflower, Campanulastrum americanum
A tall, slender plant that grows up to 5 ft. tall. The stem has vertical ridges. The alternate leaves are lance-shaped and up to 6 in. long. The leaves have teeth along the margins. The blue flowers have 5 pointed petals. There is a white ring at the base of the petals.
Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta
The stems and leaves are very hairy. The plant is slightly branched and grows 1-3 feet tall. Leaves are 2-7 inches long and 1/2-2 inches wide. Flowers are 2-4 inches wide with yellow to orange petals. The central disk is purple-brown in color.
Blue Hearts, Buchnera americana
This is a member of the Snapdragon family. The stem is hairy and grayish green. It grows up to 3 ft. tall. The leaves are stalkless and opposite with coarse teeth on the edges. Each leaf has 3 veins radiating from the base. The purple flowers have 5 petals that unite at their bases forming a tube. This plant is partially parasitic and lives on roots of other plants.
Butterfly Milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa
One of the most brilliant wild flowers. The plant can grow to 3 feet tall and is somewhat sprawling or bushy. The stems and leaves are hairy. The leaves are alternate, but sometimes opposite at the upper part of the stem. Flowers are somewhat flat clusters and usually bright red, but can be shades of yellow to orange. Native Americans used the roots as food and as medicine.
Clasping-leaved Coneflower, Rudbeckia amplexicaulis
The stems and leaves are smooth and glossy. It grows up to 2 feet tall. The leaves clasp the stem at the base of the leaf. The flowers are about 2-in. wide with petals that are four-toothed. The petals are yellow with a small band of dark red near the central disk.
Common Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca
Mostly unbranched and growing to 3-4 ft. tall. Leaves are opposite, thick, and oval. Leaves are up to 8 in. long and 4.5 in. wide, with pinkish veins. Flowers are in rounded clusters at the top of the stems. The flower clusters are pinkish purple in color. Young shoots and pods have been used as a vegetable. Native Americans used it for medicine and they made sugar from the flowers.
Golden Coreopsis, Coreopsis tinctoria
Stems are branched and 1-4 feet tall. The leaves are once or twice divided into leaflets that are very narrow. The flower petals are yellow on the outer edge and reddish brown on the inner portion. The petals are three-lobed. The central disks are yellow to brownish.
Hairy Wild Petunia, Ruellia humilis The plant has hairy stems and grows 1 ft. or less tall. Leaves are opposite and usually about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. The flowers form at the base of the middle and upper leaves. Each flower has 5 broad purple petals which are streaked with darker lines.
Indian Blanket, Gaillardia pulchella
A hairy, erect annual. Stems are single and arise from a taproot. Leaves are alternate, often clasping, and 1-4 in. long and 1/4-1 inch wide. The flowers have lance-shaped petals and are 3-lobed at the tip. This is the state wildflower of Oklahoma.
Buffalo Bur, Solanum rostratum
Plants are highly branched and grow 1-2.5 ft. tall. It is covered with sharp prickles. Leaves are oval, irregularly lobed laterally, or completely divided into leaflets. The yellow flowers are five-lobed and about one inch wide.
Hedge Parsley, Torilis arvensis
This plant is hairy and branched. The leaves resemble that of parsley. The small white flowers are on long stems, forming a flat cluster. The fruit have many hooked bristles that cause them to adhere to clothing. This plant is native to Europe and was first observed in this country about 1900.
Pale Dogwood, Cornus racemosa
Leaves are opposite amd broadly elliptic to broadly ovate. It grows up to 9 ft. tall. Flowers have 4 petals and 4 stamens and are whitish. Fruit are white, globose on red stalks. Blooms May to July. This plant can form dense thikets.
Lead Plant, Amorpha canescens
A bushy shrub that grows 1-3 feet tall and is white-hairy overall. Leaves, compact, are 2-4 inches long and have 21-51 leaflets. The flowers are in dense spikes and are deep purple in color. The plant has been used folk medicines, and a yellow tea can be made from its leaves.
Lemon Mint (Horse Mint), Monarda citriodora
The stems are hairy and square shaped. The plant grows less than 3 ft. tall. Leaves are opposite and toothed. Flowers are in 2 to 6 dense heads arranged one above the other along the upper part of the stem. The flower heads alternate in color from a light pink to a darker purple or lavender.
Pale Indian Plantain, Amoglossum atriplicifolium
The plants grow 3-5 ft. tall, and occasionally to 8 feet. The stems are smooth with a whitish cast. Leaves are alternate and white on the underside. Lower leaves are larger (up to 12 inches long)and toothed. Upper leaves are progressively smaller. Flowers are white to greenish cylindrical clusters and somewhat flattened.
Pale Purple Coneflower, Echinacea pallida
Stems have short hairs and grow to 3-ft. tall. The leaves are long-lanceolate, smooth-edged, hairy, and 3-8 inches long. Flowers are only at the stem tips. The center of the head is about 3/4 inch in diameter. The petals are long, drooping, rose-purple or almost white in color and 1-3 inches long. Native Americans used the plant for medicinal purposes, and is still used as such.
Pitcher's Clematis, Clematis pitcheri
This is a climbing, slightly woody, vine. Leaves are opposite, stalked, with 3-11 widely spaced heart-shaped to elliptic leaflets. Flowers are urnlike, hanging downward, and produced on long stalks arising from the bases of leaves. The petals are purple to brownish-purple.
Prairie Dogbane, Apocynum cannabinum
The plant grows to 4 feet tall and is branched in the upper half. The stems are often reddish in color. Leaves are opposite and broadest at the middle. The veins are raised on the underside. Flowers are white and grow in clusters.
Purple Prairie Clover, Dalea purpurea
This is a member of the Bean Family. It is a slender erect plant growing about 2 feet tall. The leaves are alternate and compound. Each leaf has 3-9 narrow leaflets. The flowers are dense cylindrical spikes at the top of the stems. The purple flowers begin blooming at the bottom of the spike and climb upward as the flowering progresses. Native Americans made tea from the plant.
Rattlesnake master, Eryngium yuccifolium
This is a member of the parsley family. It grows 2 to 6 feet tall from a short, thick rootstock. The leaves are a bluish green color and can get 3 feet long. The leaves are thick and parallel veined. Each leaf is toothed. When in bloom there are whitish globular flowers at the end of each stem. The plant has been used medicinally by the Native Americans and pioneers. A tea from the rootstock has been used to treat "exhaustion from sexual depletion." It was also recognized as an "aphrodisiac exciting veneral desires" and a "strengthener of procreative organs."
Wavy-leaved Thistle, Cirsium undulatum
The plant is 1-3 feet tall. Leaves are lanceolate, lobed, spiny-margined, and 1-8 inches long. Flowers are pink to purple.
White Wild Indigo, Baptisia alba
Shrub-looking plants that grow to 6 feet. Stems are yellowish-green with a thin, whitish coating. Leaves are alternate and divided into 3 leaflets. Flowers are above the leafy portion of the stems and are erect. White flowers are scattered on the uper stem. Each flower hasa 4-lobed calyx, an erect, fanlike upper petal, and 2 smaller side petals with a lower lip. Native Americans and European settlers used the plant for medicine. It is poisonous to livestock if eaten in quantity.
Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa
Stems are branched and square, with upper stems finely hairy. It grows to 5 ft. tall. The leaves are opposite, sharply toothed, and 5 in. long and 2 in. wide. Flowers are dense, rounded heads at the tops of stems. The flowers are lavender in color. Bergamot tea has been used for medicinal purposes and is still used in herbal teas.
Compass Plant, Silphium laciniatum
The Compass Plant has large basal leaves that grow 1 ft. long. Leaves are deeply divided. The stalk grows 3-8 ft. tall and is hairy. At the top of the stalk are several yellow flowers with green bracts. The center of the flower is yellow.
Here is a picture of the lower leaves.
Several of the flowers shown above for June are still blooming. Some of them are: Black-eyed Susan, Wild Petunia, Buffalo Bur, Lemon Mint, Wavy-leaved Thistle, Wild Bergamot, and Compass Plant. Some new flowers in bloom are shown below.
Ashy Sunflower, Helianthus mollis
This plant grows up to 4-feet tall and the leaves and stems have gray hairs. The leaves are stiff and grow up to 6-inches long and 3-inches wide. The yellow flowers can be up to 2 1/2 - 4-inches wide. The flowers have up to 30 petals around a yellow disk.
Bitterweed, Helenium amarum
This plant is a much-branched plant with fine, thread-like leaves. It grows about 12 inches tall. The flower petals are three-toothed at the ends and it has a central yellow rounded disk in the center.
Chicory, Cichorium intybus
This plant is a member of the Aster family. It is native to Europe, but is now fouond in Oklahoma. The stems are hairy and have ridges. Leaves are alternate, lobbed or toothed on the margins. The blue flowers are 1 1/2-in. wide, with 5 notches at the end of the petals. The dried ground roots are used as a coffee substitute. In ancient Egyptian and Greek times it was used medicinally and as a salad and vegetable.
Blue Vervain, Verbene hastata
These are narrow erect plants which can grown to 6 ft. tall. Leaves are opposite, pointed, coarsely toothed, and up to 7 inches long and 2 inches wide. The larger leaves often have 2 small, toothed lobes at their bases. The flowers are erect spikes of small, blue clusters near the top of the plant. These plants have been used in a variety of folk medicines.
Baldwin Ironweed, Vernonia baldwinii
These plants are somewhat hairy and grow up to 5 ft. tall. The leaves are alternate and up to 7 inches long and 2.5 inches wide. There is branching only at the top and flowers grow in clusters. There are 15-30 flowers in each cluster. Each flower is tubular, purple to red, and with 5 recurved lobes.
Mullein, Verbascum thapsus
Mullein is a biennial member of the snapdragon family. It can grow to 6 ft. tall and is a stocky plant. The leaves are very hairy and up to one foot long. The first year the leaves form a basal rosette. The second year the flower stalk emerges with alternate leaves and a yellow cluster of flowers at the top of the stalk. The plant was used in early times for treating lung diseases, diarrhea, insomnia, and to relieve pain. In the Middle Ages, carrying a twig of mullein was said to protect a person from witchcraft and wild beasts. Native Americans used a tea made from the leaf for coughs. Settlers used the large leaves for baby diapers and toilet paper.
Partridge Pea, Chamaecrista fasciculata
This plant grows up to 2 ft. tall. The leaves are alternate and each leaf is divided into about 20 pairs of leaflets. The leaflets are narrow, less than 1 in. long and resemble the leaf of the Sensitive Briar. There are yellow flowers, with 5 petals, at the axil of the stalk. There a a little red at the base of each petal. It was formerly known as Cassia fasciculata. Native Americans and settlers used the root for treating fevers. cramps. heart ailments. and constipation.
Passion Flower, Passiflora incarnata
The plant is a vine and the flower is an intricate bloom that is white to purple. It gives off a strong sweet smell, but too long a sniff becomes a bit unpleasant. It is sometimes called the May Pop vine because of the popping noise when the fruit is stomped on.
The Spanish missionaries in the 15th and 16th centuries discovered the flowering vine and gave it it's name as a symbol of the Crucifixion of Christ. The seventy-two radial filaments represent the Crown of Thorns, the ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles, the three stigmata represent the three nails, and the five anthers represent the five wounds.
The fruit of the Passion Flower is a green seed pod about the size of a chicken egg and is full of seeds which have a gelatenous coating. It is edible and has a sweet taste, but eating too much can turn nauseous.
The fresh or dried leaves can be made into a tea which has been used to treat insomnia, hysteria, epilepsy, and pain. The roots have also been used medicinally. It is said that it has some effectiveness in treating anxiety disorder.
Pasture Thistle, Cirsium discolor
This is a spiny plant that can grow to 8-feet tall. Leaves are alternate and very spiny with deep lobes. Flowers are on individual stalks and are up to 2 1/2 in. wide. Each flower has many, overlapping green bracts.
Prairie Dodder, Cuscuta pentagona
Prairie Dodder is a parasitic flowering plant. It receives its nutrients from other plants. This plant has no apparent leaves and the stems are string-like and orange in color. It grows in a web-like fashion and covers other plants as it seeks a suitable host. The flowers are white and less than 1/4 inch wide. This plant is partial to plants of the Aster family for its host.
Prairie Rose Gentian, Sabatia campestris
These are plants usually less than 8 inches tall. The leaves are opposite and up to 1 inch long and 1/2 inch wide. They are broadest in the middle, rounded at the base, and with pointed tips. Flowers are on individual branches in clusters at the top of of the plant. The flowers are pink with 5 rounded petals.
Rosin Weed, Silphium integrifolium
Plants are 3-6 ft. tall with hairy stalks. It is usually branched at the top with yellow flowers having 18-30 rays, with each flower head about 3 inches wide.
Rufus Bulrush, Scirpus pendulus
This is also known as Nodding Bulrush. It is a member of the Sedge family (Cyperaceae) and is found in moist areas, such as wet ditches and meadows. The plant has clusters of spikelets that tend to droop when mature. The seeds are eaten by ducks and other birds.
Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra
This is a tall shrub that has a milky sap. The leaves are divided into 11-25 narrow leaflets. The flowers are elongated clusters at the top of branches. The fruit are red conical clusters and each red fruit is covered with short reddish hairs. A tea can be made from the fruit which has a lemon flavor. Native Americans made a flour from the seeds.
Showy Tick Trefoil, Desmodium canadense
This plant grows up to 4 ft. tall. The leaves are alternate and are composed of 3 leaflets. The flowers are in clusters and are bright purple. Each flower has one erect petal and two smaller side petals flanking a keel-like lower lip. The plant is also known as Sticktights because the flattened seeds cling tenaciously to clothing.
Snow-on-the-mountain, Euphorbia marginata
The stems are stout and finely hairy growing up to 3 ft. tall. The leaves are alternate and up to 4 in. long with pointed tips. What looks like large white flowers at the top of the plant are really white leaves with green stripes. The real flowers are in the center of the striped leaves and are white and less than 1/2 in. wide. The milky sap is a skin irritant to some people. Cattle avoid eating it.
White Prairie Clover, Petalostemum candida
The plants are slightly branched and grow 1-2 feet tall. Leaves are divided into 5-9 leaflets that are 3/4-1 inch long and less than 1/10 inch wide. Flowers are in compact spikes that are 1-4 inches long and about 1/2 inch thick. The flowers are white and clustered in circular groups which bloom at the bottom of the spike then progress upwards.
Wild Potato Vine, Ipomoea padurata
This is a vine that can extend 10-12 ft. in length. The leaves are heart-shaped and 2-6 in. long. The flowers are white with red to purple in the throat. The root is very large and was used as food by Native Americans. Since the raw root is a strong laxative, it was usually boiled to neutralize its effect.
Woundwort, Stachys pulustris
Mostly unbranched plants that grow up to 3 ft. tall. The leaves are up to 5 inches long and starkless or nearly so, with toothed edges. The flowers are pinkish to purple at the top of the stem. The lower lip of the flower is typically 3-lobed. The plant was used in folk medicine for healing wounds. The tubers are said to be edible.
Broom Weed, Amphiachyris dracunculoides
Stems are slender and very branched. Leaves are 1/2 to 2 inches long and less than 1/4 inch wide. The flowers are small and yellow. Flower heads are umbrella-like. The European settlers tied bundles of dried plants to sticks and used them as brooms.
Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis
The plant grows 2-5 feet tall and it is rarely branched. The leaves are oval or lanceolate, toothed, 2-6 inches long, 1/4-1 1/2 inches wide. Each flower is scarlet red, tubular, and five-lobed. It occurs mostly in low, moist soils.
Canada Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis
The stems are erect and grow 5-10 ft. tall.Leaves are alternate, simple, and have 3 nerves. Flowers are borne on one side of curved branches. The plant is found throughout Oklahoma. The immature plants are eaten deer, rabbits, turkies and prairie chickens. Goldenrod does not cause hay fever because it is pollinated by insects and does not produce clouds of pollin.
Western Rough Goldenrod, Solidago radula
The stems are slender, rough, and hairy. It grows 1-3 feet tall. Leaves are thick and are rough on both sides. The yellow flowers grow on the upper side of the floral branches. This plant is common in the eastern part of Oklahoma. The goldenrod is not responsible for hay fever, but notice the ragweed in the lower part of the photo.
Ashy Sunflower, Helianthus mollis
These are green plants that grow to 3' tall. The leaves are stiff, opposite, and up to 6" long and 3" wide. The leaves taper to pointed tips, and the edges of the leaves often have small teeth.
Leavenworth Eryngo, Eryngium leavenworthii
This plant is not a thistle, as many people think. It is a member of the carrot family. The leaves are divided into spiny-toothed segments. Flowers are in heads that are purplish to pink. This plant is often found in limestone areas.
Fruit of Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Areisaema triphyllum
This brilliant red fruit of the Jack-In-The-Pulpit is about 3 inches long and 2 inches in diameter at the base. Notice the bush cricket (white) in the lower left.
Jerusalem Artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus
This sunflower grows up to 7-feet tall. The stout stems are often tinged in red. The rough, hairy leaves are opposite on the lower part of the stem and alternate toward the top. The leaves are lance-shaped and up to 10-inches long. The flowers are on individual stalks and up to 4-inches wide. There are 10-20 yellow petals around a yellow disk. The roots are edible when cooked like potatoes.
Mare's Tail, Conyza canadensis
This is a member of the Sunflower family and is also known as Horseweed. Native Americans crushed the heads and sniffed them to clear the nasal passages by sneezing. White-tailed deer and livestock browse the plants.
Roundhead Lespedeza, Lespedeza capitata Michx.
This was named after Cespedez, the Spanish governor of east Florida in the late 18th century, although the name was misspelled as Lespedeza. It is a native perennial legume that grows 2 to 4 feet tall. The Comanche made a tea from the leaves. The Dakota, Omaha, and the Ponca used the stems for a moxa for neuralgia and rheumatism. The small stems were cut in short pieces and attached to the skin by moistening one end with the tongue; the other end was set on fire and allowed to burn down to the skin.
Rough Blazing Star, Liatris aspera Michx.
This a member of the Daisy family. It grows 1 to 4 feet tall from a rounded, fiber-covered corm. The leaves are alternate. Early Americans fed the bulbs to horses to increase endurance. Humans used it as a diuretic, stimulant, and a diaphoretic.
Blue Sage, Salvia azurea
This is a member of the Mint family. It grows up to 5 feet tall and is unbranched or has a few branches. The leaves have a riblike pattern of raised veins on the undersides.
Slender Lespedeza, Lespedeza virginica
This is also known as Slender Bush Clover. It can be confused with Sericea Lespedeza, an undesirable species that has been introduced. The stems are erect or ascending and may lean over. The leaves are alternate and have three leaflets and each leaflet is linear or narrowly oblong. The foliage is eaten by deer, rabbits and cattle. The seeds are eaten by birds and small mammals.
Tall Boneset, Eupatorium altissimum
This is a member of the aster family. Boneset has a small white flower, but is not prominent. Tall boneset has opposite leaves and 3 veins. False Boneset has alternate leaves with one central vein. Common Boneset has opposite leaves, wider than those of the tall and false Boneset, and the leaves are toothed.
Tall Coreopsis, Coreopsis tripteris
This is a branched plant that grows up to 8-feet tall, but usually is shorter. The leaves are opposite and have 3-5 leaflets. The yellow flower is 1 1/2-inches wide with 6-10 petals around a brown disk. Native Americans boiled the plant to give a drink to treat internal pain and bleeding.
Yellow Ironweed, Verbesina alternifolia
This is a member of the Aster family. It is a tall, coarse, branching plant that grows to 7 feet tall. Leaves are alternate, rough, lance-shaped, up to 10 inches long, with toothed edges. It grows in moist woods and along streams.
Velvety Gaura, Gaura paviflora
This plant does not look like the Large-flowered Gaura. If you went to the TGP in July and early August you probably passed by many tall plants that you would not associate with Gaura. This plant is recognized by its tall single stem reaching heights of 6 to 10 feet with a spike of pink flowers at the top. This is Velvety Gaura, Gaura parviflora Dougl.
It is a member of the Evening Primrose Family, but one would never associate the two by looking at the plants. If you get close and look at the individual flowers you might recognize them as being very much like the Large-flowered Gaura.
Wax Goldenweed, Haplopappus ciliatus
An erect plant growing 1-4 ft. tall. Leaves are alternate and clasping, with toothed edges. Leaves are usually absent on lower third of the plant. Flowers are yellow and petals are rather stiff. These plants like dry disturbed areas.
Wild Quinine, Parthenium integrifolium
This plant is also known as "American Feverfew." It was used as a substitute for quinine when the tropical supply of quinine from the bark of the Cinchona tree was cut off during World War I. The roots were used as a diuretic for kidney and bladder problems. It may cause dermatitis or allergies in some people.
Maximilian Sunflower, Helianthus maximilianii
This is a coarse flower that can grow to 9-ft. tall.The stems are hairy and alternate and the leaves are toothed. There is usually a cluster of flower heads near the top of the plant. Each flower is up to 4-in. wide with 10-25 yellow rays surrounding a yellow disk.
Sericea Lespediza, Lespediza cuneata
Stems are erect with several eminating from woody rootstocks. The plants grow from 1 to 5 ft. tall. The stems have many small leaves which have three leaflets. The flowers are small and cream to white in color with purple throats. it is not native to this country, but was brought over from Asia and Australia to prevent soil erosion. It is an aggresive invader and will rapidly compete with native grasses. It flowers from July to October. It produces tannins and is seldom eaten by animals. Control is difficult and the seeds are said to be viable for 25 years.
Stiff Goldenrod, Solidago rigida
This is a coarse plant which grows up to 5-ft. tall. The lower stems are unbranched and the leaves are broad and thick. Leaves are alternate with slightly toothed edges. Flowers are in rounded to flattened clusters at the top of the stem. Each flower head has 7-14 yellow rays surrounding the central disk, which has threadlike stigmas.The deep roots allows it to survive severe overgrazing.
Tickseed Sunflower, Bidens aristosa
This plant is much-branched and grows to 3-ft. tall. The leaves are opposite and divided into 5-11 narrow, coarsely toothed leaflets. Flower heads are on individual stalks with 8 yellow rays surrounding a yellow central disk. It is often found in large colonies. The seeds resemble ticks and have 2 barbed, needlelike teeth that attach to clothing and hair. The Indians chewed the leaves for sore throats.