As one might suspect, graminoids (grass-like species) are the dominant vegetation type in tall, mixed and short grass prairie habitats. They comprise 25 - 100% of the vegetation cover in dry prairies and 75 - 100% of the cover in medium to moist prairies. Forbs (wildflowers), on the other hand, comprise only 5 - 50% cover of any prairie type. The diversity of grass species, on the other hand, is far lower than forb species. As an example, on the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve there are around 27 grasses and well over 300 forbs.

Big Bluestem

Big bluestem adds a beautiful reddish hue to the late summer landscape.

Sorghastrum Grass

The stalks alternate between green and a gorgeous reddish brown and the copper-coloured seed heads are covered in silky hairs.

Star Sedge

Profuse flower stalks bear fruits in star-like clusters.

Sun-loving Sedge

A common woodland sedge that is often mistaken for short, soft grass.


A taller grass with seed heads that are burgundy with distinctive white "stripes".

June Grass

When flowering, the narrow, densely-flowered spikes open up and are very showy.

Switch Grass

Its stiff, erect stature and beautiful, pyramid-shaped panicles give it an air of confidence and endurance,

Tufted Hairgrass

The fine and airy panicles are a gorgeous silver tinged with purple.

Prairie Dropseed

This fine-leaved bunch-grass forms beautiful circular clumps with the leaves radiating outward.

Canada Wild Rye

I have rarely, seen this prairie grass growing naturally in open prairie in Manitoba, despite its common use in prairie restorations.