Wildflowers - Prairie Broomrape
Prairie broomrape has a reputation full of contradictions. It is considered an endangered species in Wisconsin, and a threatened species in Illinois and Indiana. Alternately, it is considered a noxious weed in several states, including Florida and Minnesota, because species of broomrape parasitize tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, sunflowers, and tobacco, reducing crop yields or totally destroying crops.
Prairie broomrape plants are rare at the park; one plant was documented in 2003, and another in 2006. Although this species may be treated as a noxious weed in some areas of the country, it continues to be preserved and protected within the boundary of Wind Cave National Park.
Did You Know?
Fire is an important factor in protecting the prairie. Historically, fires burned across the prairie every 4 to 7 years. Fires burn the small trees that would otherwise march across the prairie and turn the grasslands to forest.