Yellow Cone Flower in bloom

Yellow coneflowers and wild bergamot raise their seed heads high above the tall grasses.

NPS Photo

Park natural resource managers sowed 17 forb (wildflower) species in the tallgrass prairie during the spring of 1982 and a mix of 26 other forb species in the spring of 1983. The result today is a colorful array of flowers mixed with the green, purple, and golden hues of native grasses from April until late October. Numerous other species have appeared by natural reintroduction from outside the park. Exotic species, some attractive wildflowers, have escaped into the park as well.

Prairie wildflowers benefit from fire management. The National Historic Site discourages the intrusion of exotics by either physically removing them or by using prescribed fire to manage the prairie. Fire returns nutrients, particularly potassium which is critical to blooming, back to the soil. It reduces competition from exotic species, and in some cases, prepares seeds for germination.

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A bee feeds on orange milkweed flowers.

Orange milkweed, or butterfly weed, is one of the brilliant flowers of the tallgrass prairie.

NPS Photo

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