As the name implies, the dominate plants of tallgrass prairies are grasses. These grass species, which grow from about three feet to a little over six feet by the end of August, include big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass and Junegrass. There are practically no trees in a prairie. While the grasses are the most obvious group of plants they are not the greatest contributor to a prairie’s species diversity; this distinction belongs to the forbs (a large group of flowering plants that are not grasses), sedges and rushes.
Examples of these prairie forbs are: western sunflower, blazing stars, colicroot, wild lupine, prairie lily, dotted horse mint, asters, round-headed bush clover and black-eye Susan. Some birds that nest in grasslands include: field sparrow, Lark sparrow and eastern bluebird.
To stay healthy, prairies require frequent controlled fire, otherwise they will become degraded fields.