Most of our native tallgrass prairie is gone. Over 98% has been converted to agricultural use, or has succombed to invading hardwood plants and cool season grasses . Many of the plants that were native to these prairies have become rare and some are considered endangered. The remaining remnants of prairie need to be maintained and managed. If the remnant has been heavily grazed, or mowed regularly for a number of years it loses some plants because they are unable to produce seed, or they are thinned so much that they can't compete and survive. Remnants like this need to be burned and seeded with plants they are missing. It is important to use seed that comes from as near as possible to the remnant being seeded. Many of the seeds must be hand collected and in order to do this, collectors need to be able to identify the plants when they are in seed. There are many sites that show the plants in flower, and this site does as well, but few that show pictures of the plants in seed and of the individual seeds. Many of the plants shown on this site include pictures of the seed and the plants in seed. In order to get these pictures, it is necessary to follow the plants through their growing season and catch them as they produce seed. Some plants are not very conservative, and will probably show up on their own in a restoration. These plants may be shown in flower, but not in seed.
All the plants shown are within about 100 miles of Kansas City. The range of some prairie plants do not extend into the Kansas City area, and these plants will not be found on this site. The photographs have been taken by Lance Jessee and Tom Schroeder who are members of a seed collecting team sponsored by Kansas City Wildlands. As new plants are found and pictures are taken they will be added to the site. The plants are listed by their scientific names with the common names shown after the scientific names. A conservation index number is listed for each plant. The higher this number, the more conservative(restricted to prairie or glade habitat). Also, a first flowering date and first seed date are given. If the plant is especially rare or endangered, additional information is given. There are also links to other sites that provide more information on the plants and that cover the states adjacent to Missouri.