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Station 9 - Native Grasses

All species of wildlife have certain basic requirements. These include food, water, cover, space, and arrangement. Native grasses provide both cover and foods for many wildlife species, with warm season grass mixtures providing the most benefits. Properly managed fields provide nesting, protective cover, undisturbed nesting sites, insect populations for food, and open travel under a tall grass canopy. Look carefully and you might see praying mantis, grasshoppers, butterflies, wildflowers and more!

From this post you can see a variety of different types of plants. You might be able to spot the light purple and pale leaved ironweed that blooms in late summer. Look closely! Big bluestem grass is one of the highest-quality forage grasses on the prairie. Livestock relish it, usually preferring it to other grasses. Sometimes called "turkey-foot" for the distinctive shape of the inflorescence. An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches. Dead stems of big bluestem often remain standing throughout the winter, and the leaf blades take on a reddish cast after frost. Look closely at the base, their stalks have a blue-ish appearance and was named for it.

Continue south to the end of the native grasses section (near the center) for trail marker #10.

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