Prairie & Field Wildflowers

Species are listed by scientific name. 
An asterisk indicates a non-native species.

Species

Scientific Name
Velvet-leaf* Abutilon theophrasti
Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Wingstem Actinomeris alternifolia
Little Ragweed Ambrosia artemesiifolia
Giant Ragweed Ambrosia trifida
Canada Anemone Anemone canadensis
Thimbleweed Anemone cylindrica
Angelica Angelica atropurpurea
Pussytoes Antennaria neglecta
Groundnut Apios americana
Burdock* Arctium Minus
Rock Sandwort Arenaria stricta
Wormwood Artemesia dracunculus
Marsh Milkweed Asclepias incarnate
Common Milkweed Asclepias syriaca
Whorled Milkweed Asclepias verticillata
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis
Azure Aster Aster azureus
Calico Aster Aster laterifolius
New England Aster Aster novae-angliae
Frost Aster Aster pilosus
False Foxglove Aureolaria grandiflora
Winter Cress* Barbarea vulgaris
Beggar-ticks Bidens cernua
Knapweed* Centaurea jacea
Lamb’s Quarter* Chenopodium album
Lamb’s Quarter Chenopodium standleyanum
Chicory* Chicorium intybus
Oxeye Daisy* Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
Water Hemlock Cicuta maculate
Canada Thistle* Cirsium arvense
Field Thistle Cirsium discolor
Bull Thistle Cirsium vulgare
Star Toadflax Comandra umbellata
Hedge Bindweed Convol vu lus septum
Queen Anne’s Lace* Daucus carota
Canada Tick-trefoil Desmodium canadense
Illinois Tick-trefoil Desmodium illinoense
Shooting Star Dodecatheon meadia
Herb Willow Epilobium ciliatum
Daisy Fleabane Erigeron annuus
Fleabane Erigeron philade lphicus
Fleabane Erigeron pulchellus
Daisy Fleabane Erigeron strigosus
Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum
Wild Strawberry Fragaria vesca var. americana
Wild Strawberry Fragaria virginiana
Gaura Gaura biennis
Stiff Gentian Gentiana quinquefolia
Sweet Everlasting Gnaphalium obtusifolium
Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale
Saw-toothed Sunflower Helianthus grossesseratus
Cow Parsnip Heracleum lanatum
Flower-of-an-hour* Hibiscus trionum
Orange Hawkweed* Hieracium aurantiacum
Common St. Johnswort* Hypericum perforatum
Spotted St. Johnswort Hypericum punctatum
Yellow Star Grass Hypoxs hirsute
Blue Flag Iris virginica var. shrevii
Domestic Iris* Iris sp.
Wild Lettuce Lactuca canadensis
Pinweed Lechea stricta
Motherwort* Leonurus cardiaca
Peppergrass* Lepidium campestre
Bush Clover Lespedeza capitata
Turk’s-cap-Lily Lilium michiganense
Butter-and-eggs* Linaria vulgaris
Hoary Puccoon Lithospermum canescens
Indian Tobacco Lobelia inflate
Great Blue Lobelia Lobelia siphilitica
Spike Lobelia Lobelia spicata
Evening Campion* Lychnis alba
Bugleweed Lycopus uniflorus
Whorled Loosestrife Lysimachia quadrifolia
Winged Loosestrife Lythrum alatum
Chamomile* Matricaria chamomilla
Pineapple Weed* Matricaria matricarioides
Black Medic* Medicago lupulina
Alfalfa* Medicago sativa
White Sweet Clover* Melilotus alba
Wild Mint Mentha arvensis
Monkey Flower Mimulus ringers
Bergamot Monarda fistulosa
Evening Primrose Oenothera parviflora
Yellow Wood Sorrel Oxalis dillenii
Wood Sorrel Oxalis stricta
Violet Wood Sorrel Oxalis violacea
Wild Parsnip* Pastinaca sativa
Ground Cherry Physalis virginiana
Plantain Plantago rugelii
Seneca Snakeroot Polygala senega
Knotweed Polygonum amphibium
Pennsylvania Knotweed Polygonum pensylvanicum
Smartweed Polygonum punctatum
Cinquefoil Potentilla norvegica
Cinquefoil* Potent il l a recta
White Lettuce Prenanthes alba
Mountain Mint Pycnanthemum virginianum
Early Buttercup Ranunculus fascicularis
Marsh Cress* Rorippa islandica
Wild Rose Rosa sp.
Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta
Brown-eyed Susan Rudbeckia triloba
Sheep Sorrel* Rumex acetosella
Curly Dock* Rumex crispus
Bouncing Bet* Saponaria officinalis
Ragwort Senecio paupercaulis
Snowy Campion Silene nivea
Cupplant Silphium perfoliatum
Blue-eyed Grass Sisrynchium albidum
Water Parsnip Sium suave
Horse-nettle Solanum carolinese
Deadly Nightshade* Solanum dulcamera
Tall Goldenrod Solidago altissima
Canada Goldenrod Solidago canadensis
Late Goldenrod Solidago gigantea
Sow-thistle* Sonchus arvensis
Sow-thistle* Sonchus oleraceus
Sow-thistle* Sonchus ulignosus
Dandelion* Taraxacum officinale
Tall Meadowrue Thalictrum dasycarpum
Goat’s Beard* Tragopogon dubius
Alsike Clover* Trifolium hybridum
Red Clover* Trifolium pretense
Smaller Hop Clover* Trifolium procumbens
White Clover* Trifolium repens
Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica
Mullein* Verbascum thaspis
Blue Vervain Verbena hastata
Purslane Speedwell* Veronica peregrine
Culver’s Root Veronicastrum virginicum
Hairy Vetch* Vicia villosa
Early Blue Violet Viola palmata
Bird’s-foot Violet Viola pedata
Prairie Violet Viola pedatifida
Cocklebur* Xanthium sp.
Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is most often seen in dry prairie soils, rocky woods, disturbed areas, and glade margins. It typically grows two to four feet tall, forming dense clumps. Its lavender to light magenta two-lipped, tubular flowers appear solitary, globular groups. Like most members of the mint family, Bergamot has a strong, square stem. It has toothed, opposite leaves that carry a lovely earthy-mint scent. Bergamot is edible and popular as a tea, but it is best to thoroughly wash the leaves before consumption. Bees and other pollinators are attracted to this lovely flower.
Burdock (Arctium) is best recognized as a stout, common weed with annoying burrs that stick to animal fur and clothing. This plant grows relatively tall therefore having deep roots which are brownish green, or nearly black on the outside. The basal rosette of leaves stays close to the ground the first year and the beginning of the second. These basal rosettes can grow up to three  feet wide. Burdock has purple flowers, growing one to three centimeters across,  on tips of prickly ball of bracts that blooms between June and October. The large, wavy, heart-shaped leaves are green on the top and whitish on the bottom makes identifying burdock easy. Leaves can grow to fifty cm in size. It is known to grow three to six feet tall and live along river banks, roadsides, and in fields. Burdock root is well known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
Compass plant (Silphium laciniatum), a member of the Silphium genus like Prairie dock, can grow to heights of eight feet. Its lower leaves resemble those of Pin oak, while the leaves on its stem are smaller. It acquired its namesake from the telltale way its lower leaves usually point North and South in the heat of day, which maximizes water use and CO2 efficiency. It grows a lovely yellow flower that is heliocentric, or follows the path of the sun throughout the day. These plants are incredibly hardy and known to live over a hundred years! The resin in its stem or flower stalk was used by Native Americans and settlers as a chewing gum.
Cow Parsnip (Heracleum) is a perennial herb that grows up to nine feet  tall. It is robust and hairy with leaves that are maple-leaf shaped, arising from the plant's base and stem, coarsely-toothed, and up to twenty inches across. The flowers are tiny, white, and arranged in flat-topped clusters called umbels at the top of each thick stem. If you find this plant while hiking, be careful about brushing against it because the juices called  furocoumarins react with sunlight on one's skin to cause blistering. If you do get the juices on your skin, wash it off as soon as possible. Cow Parsnip is common in beach meadows, on sunny hillsides, and along most roads and trails in many parts of the state.
 
Curly dock (Rumex crispus) is a non-native that is invasive to disturbed areas and prairies, but does not readily invade established habitat. A mature plant can produce forty thousand seeds a year, which can survive in the soil for more than fifty years. It has been estimated that there are five million Curly dock seeds per acre.  While these plants are edible for people and have several medicinal uses, they are toxic to livestock and poultry. Its namesake curly, crispy leaves begin as a dense basal rosette, or clump, before sprouting many plain, yellow-green flowers. As they progress into late summer, the flowers shift to a deep reddish-brown.
Great Angelica (Angelica atropurpurea) are known for their hollow stems that mature from green to purple and can reach up to nine feet in height. Their long leaf stalks have a green to purple sheath at the base. They have compound leaves with three to five  leaflets, growing up to four inches long and two inches wide, per branch. The leaflets have sharply toothed margins and occasional fine hairs on the underside.  Great angelica flowers are found in convex to round clusters, also known as umbels,  that grow from four to nine inches in diameter. Individual flowers are green to whitish in color. Though often confused with Cow Parsnip, which is found in similar wetland and meadow habitats, Great angelica has pinnately compound leaves rather than palmately compound leaves. Caution should be used near this plant, as it contains furocoumarins that cause a reaction with sunlight.
Indian cup plant (Silphium laciniatum) is best known for the namesake cup that its leaves form around the stem. Its stout, course leaves join at the stem and collect rainwater, which attracts bird and insect pollinators. Like others in the Silphium genus, this plant grows a lovely yellow flower at the top of a strong, square stem and can grow three to eight feet in height. The gum and resin in the root of Indian cup plant has been used in natural medicine for various purposes.
Prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum) is a prairie giant, its flowering head reaching nine feet in height. Its large, sandpaper-y, heart-shaped leaves grow to form a dense clump in the early summer. By late summer, a stout stalk rises with a lovely yellow, sunflower-like bloom two to three inches in diameter. This plant is exceptionally well adapted for droughts, as its roots often grow so deep that they tap into the groundwater system. For this reason, its leaf veins are usually cool from geothermally-cooled water. Settlers used to wear the leaves like bandannas to cool off under the intense prairie sun.