Golden Hills has worked with several partners in the Loess Hills counties to develop this list of plants in the region. This document includes information about native and non-native species, to help understand when plants bloom, when seed is ready to harvest, what insect and animal species depend on plant species for food and shelter, and much more. Information on how to read the spreadsheet and sources are listed below. The list does not include most tree species, but focuses on grasses, forbs, and a few of the most common trees like oaks. If you find any errors or have information for any of the yellow-highlighted cells, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Species Database (first tab) Green highlight: These are species that we are targeting for seed harvest. Red highlight: These are invasive or undesirable aggressive species that we do not want to spread. Yellow highlight: These cells are information lacking certain information. If you have answers, please let us know. White/No highlight: For any number of reasons, these species are not necessarily target species for our seed harvest efforts, nor are they necessarily invasive or aggressive. USDA Code: "Each Latin binomial and trinomial is assigned a unique symbol. The symbol for a binomial consists of the first two letters of the genus, plus the first two letters of the specific epithet. For example the symbol for Pascopyrum smithii is PASM. Duplicates of 4 letter symbols are differentiated by adding a number as tie-breaking suffix. For example the symbol for Elymus elymoides is not ELEL but ELEL5. The symbol for a trinomial consists of the first two letters of the genus, plus the first two letters of the specific epithet, plus the first letter of the subspecific or varietal epithet. For example the symbol for Elymus elymoides ssp. elymoides is ELELE. Tie-breaking numbers are used here for differentiating duplicative letter combinations." (Source: The PLANTS Web Site: Understanding Its Basic Functionality). Botanical Name(s): Each species has one scientific or botanical name; a binomial nomenclature made of Latin words. The first part is generic (indicates the plant's genera) and the second word identifies the species. Sometimes botanical names change over time, so some of the species on the list have the current and previous names. Names are standardized by the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). Common Name(s): In addition to the scientific name, plants often have a more colloquial name that non-botanists use. Sometimes a species can have multiple common names, and sometimes a common name can be applied to different species by different people. For this reason, botanical names are preferred for our purposes. HNC: Species noted in this column have been documented in plant inventories at Hitchcock Nature Center in the Loess Hills of western Pottawattamie County. Hitchcock includes high-quality remnants, restored prairies and woodlands, and reconstructed prairie areas. Plant inventory was conducted by Gerould Wilhelm, Laura Rericha, and Chad Graeve.. WGCA: Species noted in this column have been documented in plant inventories at Wheeler Grove Conservation Area in the Southern Iowa Drift Plain landform of eastern Pottawattamie County. Prairies at Wheeler Grove are reconstructions (not remnants), but some woodland and savanna areas were never plowed. The inventory was conducted by Chad Graeve, Jack Phillips, et al. Germ Code: Germination codes - Treatment required for best seed germination rates. See second tab on spreadsheet or learn more here.
A - No pretreatment necessary other than cold, dry storage.
B - Hot water treatment
C - Cold stratification for certain number of days
D - Very small or need light to naturally break dormancy and germinate
E - Warm, moist period followed by a cold, moist period
F - Cold, moist period followed by a warm, moist period followed by a 2nd cold, moist period
G - Cool soil
H - Scarification
I - Rhizobium Inoculum
J - Remove hulls
K - Parasitic species that requires host plant
L - Plant fresh seed or keep moist
M - Plant outdoors in fall
? - Not sure of best seed treatment.
Seeds/oz: Number of seeds per one ounce. Soil Moisture: - Soil moisture is measured on a continuum from wet to dry. Prairies on the steepest Loess Hills bluffs are drier, while those on floodplains are wetter, and more rolling hillsides tend to be more mesic (not too wet or dry).
OBL - Obligate Wetland. Hydrophyte. Almost always occur in wetlands
FACW - Facultative Wetland. Hydrophyte. Usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands
FAC: Facultative. Hydrophyte. Occur in wetlands and non-wetlands.
FACU - Facultative Upland. Nonhydrophyte. Usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands
UPL - Obligate Upland. Nonhydrophyte. Almost never occur in wetlands.
These categorizations may vary by region. All of Iowa is located within the Midwest (MW) region and these codes are used here. Sun Exposure: Amount of sunlight based on common habitat in natural areas.
P - Prairie - Full sun.
S - Savanna - Partial shade.
W - Woodland - Mostly or fully shaded.
Height: Plant height in inches or feet from base at soil to top of plant. Bloom Color: Color of flower when blooming. Bloom Time: Months when flowers bloom. Seed Ripe: Months when seeds are ripe. LH CofC: Loess Hills Coefficient of Conservatism - "plant community monitoring system called the Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA), which is based on coefficients of conservatism (C values) assigned to individual plant species based on their tolerance to degradation and the degree to which the species is faithful to natural remnant habitats." Loess Hills Coefficient of Conservatism numbers were developed by William M. Zales, Ph.D., with assistance from Bill and Dianne Blankenship, Brian Hazlett, Tom Rosburg, and Pauline Drobney. Status: Species that are listed as endangered, threatened, or special concern based on Iowa DNR and US FIsh & Wildlife Service.
Endangered Species -Any species of fish, plant life, or wildlife which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant part of its range. Protected by law.
Threatened Species - Any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Protected by law.
Special Concern - Any species about which problems of status or distribution are suspected, but not documented. Not protected by the Iowa Threatened and Endangered Species law, but many animal species listed as Special Concern are protected under other state and federal laws addressing hunting, fishing, collecting, and harvesting.
Comments: Any special comments about the species that do not fit into other categories. Plant Family: Every species belongs to a plant family based on genetic similarities. From Iowa Prairie Plants: "Tallgrass prairie vegetation is dominated by three plant families: the grasses (Poaceae), the daisy or composite family (Asteraceae), and the legume or pea family (Fabaceae)... Grasses have very reduced flowers, no petals or other bright colors, and typically many flowers (called florets) in a compact to spreading tuft (inflorescence). They are wind-pollinated, shedding pollen from the stamens into the air; sticky hairy stigmas on the pistil catch the pollen, leading to fertilization and seed set. Composites such as sunflower and aster are another important group. Typically, the largest number of species on a prairie will be from the composite family. These plants group their flowers into heads, often with only the marginal flowers of the head producing prominent petals... The third family, the legume or pea family, also has many species. Their characteristic sweetpea-type flowers, podlike fruits (seed cases), and compound leaves make them easy to identify. Their nitrogen-fixing capabilities are well known. The remainder of the prairie flora is found in many other plant families... Some of the other important families are the milkweed, buttercup, rose, and figwort families. The next section lists all the species in this book by family." A full list of all plant families can be found here. The following categories are from the Federal Highway Administration's Ecoregional Vegetation Application. Growth Form:
Salt Tolerance - Can be useful if planting along roadsides where salt is applied. pH (Range) Active Growth Period - Drought Tolerance - Low, medium, or high. Fire Tolerance - Low, medium, or high. Palatability (Browsing/Grazing) - Low, medium, or high. Propagation:
Pollinator Value: None known, low, medium, high, or very high. Benefits To Pollinators:
Nesting & structure
Pollinators - how the species is pollinated:
Larval Species (Lepidoptera): which species of moth and butterfly larva use the plant