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Parks and Open Space

Grasses & Cattails

Notable native plants of the Northwest Pioneers Greenway

Common name: Big bluestem (Turkey foot)

Scientific name: Andropogon gerardii

Description: Tall perennial grass (100-150cm) growing in clumps. Flower heads are 5-10cm long, purplish and resemble a turkey foot.

Habitat and distribution: Common in remnant prairies

Flowering Season: July-September

Location on NPG: Common in no-mow areas along the trail.

Common name: Needle and thread grass (Spear grass)

Scientific name: Stipa comata

Description: Tufted perennial grass 30-60cm in height with long seed awns.

Habitat and distribution: Native prairie / uncommon

Flowering season: July - August

Location on NPG: Between Springfield and Douglas Ave. on Raleigh side of trail.

Common name: Little bluestem

Scientific name: Schizachyrium scoparium

Description: Densely tufted grass 30-70cm tall. Becomes red-tinged in July and August

Habitat and distribution: Dry native prairie / locally rare.

Flowering season: July - September

Location on NPG: Near Concordia Ave. on Gateway side of trail.

Common name: Green needle grass

Scientific name: Stipa viridula

Description: Cool season clump forming grass 30-60cm tall.

Habitat and distribution: Native prairie / rare

Flowering season: May - June

Location on NPG: Between Springfield and Douglas Ave. on Raleigh side of trail. Also near Concordia Ave.

Common name: Common Cattail

Scientific name: Typha latifolia

Description: Aquatic perennial 1-2m high. Leaves greyish green, grass-like in appearance. Female flowers are very tiny and arranged in a dense, brown, cylindrical spike with a yellowish tip of male flowers. Fruit; Achenes with slender hairs to allow for floatation.

Habitat and distribution: Ponds, marshes, ditches and standing water / Common

Flowering season: May - July

Location on NPG: Widespread in areas with sufficient moisture


Last update: March 5, 2020
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