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Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

Prairie Wildflowers Native to Indiana

LEADPLANT (Amorpha canescens) Height: 2'-3' In Bloom: May - July The short, woolly gray hairs of the leaves of this plant suggest its common name.

BIG BLUESTEM GRASS (Andropogon gerardiI) Height: 5'-7' In Bloom: Aug. - Sep. Called "turkey foot" by the pioneers, this species was a dominant plant of the eastern tall grass prairie.

BUTTERFLY MILKWEED (Asclepias tuberosa) Height: 2'-3' In Bloom: June - Sep. The brilliant coloring of its flowers attracts many butterflies.

NEW ENGLAND ASTER (Aster novae-angliae) Height: 2'-4' In Bloom: Sep. - Oct. Makes attractive cut flowers in the fall.

TALL TICKSEED (Coreopsis tripteris) Height: 1'-3' In Bloom: May - Aug. After flowering, the disc turns brown and produces seeds that resemble ticks, hence its common name.

SHOOTING STAR (Dodecatheon media) Height: 4"-20" In Bloom: April - June From 4-100 flowers dangle from the top of this plant's leafless stalk.

PALE PURPLE CONEFLOWER (Echinacea pallida) Height: 2'-3' In Bloom: June - July These long-lived perennials resemble Daisies, but with backward curving pink-purple ray flowers; the flower center contains a prickly raised dome.

CLOSED GENTIAN (Gentiana andrewsii) Height: 1'-3' In Bloom: Aug. - Oct. The common name notes that its flowers stay closed when it is blooming.

FALSE SUNFLOWER (Heliopsis helianthoides) Height: 3'-5' In Bloom: July - Sep. Also called "Ox-eye"; can be grown in moist soils

BLAZING STAR (Liatris spp.) Height: 1'-4' In Bloom: July - Oct. The easily transplantable corms were used as winter food by early settlers.

HOARY PUCCOON (Lithospermum canascens) Height: 1'-2' In Bloom: May - July The leaves and stem are hairy; the roots yield a yellow dye, formerly used as warpaint.

WILD BERGAMOT (Monarda fistulosa) Height: 1'-5' In Bloom: July - Aug. As a member of the mint family, the leaves were used to make flavored tea.

FOXGLOVE BEARDTONGUE (Penstemon digitalis) Height: 2'-4' In Bloom: May - July Previous Indian uses included laxative from leaves, whooping cough syrup from flowers, and rattlesnake bite dressing from pounded leaves.

GRAY-HEADED CONEFLOWER (Ratibida pinnata) Height: 3'-5' In Bloom: June - Sep. When crushed, the oblong disk head emits the odor of anise.

BLACK-EYED SUSAN (Rudbeckia hirta) Height: 1'-2' In Bloom: June - Oct. An antibiotic extract is obtained from this rough,hairy species.

ROYAL CATCHFLY (Silene regia) Height: 1'-2' In Bloom: April - Sep. The sticky sap of the plant's stem traps crawling insects, preventing them from collecting its nectar. Beautiful scarlet flowers.

STIFF GOLDENROD (Solidago rigida) Height: 1'-5' In Bloom: Aug. - Oct. The flowers of this species are in a flat-topped cluster, unlike the more common showy Goldenrod.

INDIANGRASS (Sorghastrum nutans) Height: 3'-6' In Bloom: Aug. - Sep. An aggressive grass which forms large stands of beautiful golden-bronze.

NORTHERN DROPSEED GRASS (Sporobolus heterolepis) Height: 2'-3' In Bloom: August Delicate seed heads stand erect over gracefully arching, narrow leaves, making this an excellent garden ornamental.

SPIDERWORT (Tradescantia virginiana) Height: 1'-2' In Bloom: April - July The angular growth of the leaves, suggests a squatting spider; the stem and leaves can be used in salads, while the flowers can be candied for cake decoration.

Wildflower information provided by Ricky Kemery <kemeryr@purdue.edu>, former graduate student and Dr. Michael N. Dana <dana@purdue.edu>, Professor of Horticulture and Extension Urban Horticulture Specialist.

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Last updated: 23 March 2006
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