Nature Walk: Compass Plants

By INHF on July 30, 2012 in Blog

All Rights Reserved Carl Kurtz

Compass plants are one of the most distinctive features of the mid-continent tallgrass prairie, growing in both wet and dry areas. They seem to flourish where the soil is moderately wet or, in botanical terms, mesic. As a long-lived perennial they require a number of years to mature and produce a flower stalk. Young plants, those that are three or four years old, may have only one flower stalk, while those 10 or more years of age may have more than a half dozen. It appears the compass plant is sensitive to changing weather conditions and some years the plant stores food reserves rather than producing flowers and seeds.

Iowa is home to hundreds of different types of wildflowers. How many can you name?

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