As one might suspect, graminoids (grass-like species) are the dominant vegetation type in tall, mixed and short grass prairie habitats. Though dominant in terms of cover, the diversity of grass species is much lower than forb (wildflower) species. By way of example, the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve in southeastern Manitoba has approximately 27 grasses and well over 300 forbs.

Grasses comprise 25 - 100% of the vegetation cover in dry prairies and 75 - 100% of the cover in medium to moist prairies. Forbs, on the other hand, comprise only 5 - 50% cover in any prairie type.

Long-beaked Sedge

A very ornamental woodland sedge.

Bog muhly

An attractive, mid-sized grass of wet prairie habitats.

Little bluestem

Reddish stalks and feathery seed heads are the attractive features of this bunch grass.

Mat muhly

This wiry little number is often overlooked because it’s so small.

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. 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.

Sartwell’s Sedge

Gold to brown flowering stems stand out above the surrounding wetland vegetation.

Fowl manna grass

A taller grass with seed heads that are green to burgundy with white stripes.

June Grass

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

Switch Grass

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

When flowering, the air is filled with a peach-like scent.

Canada Wild Rye

A tall grass that can grow in a wide range of habitats.

Fringed Brome

Open, pendulous seed heads are soft and fuzzy. The lower leaves and leaf sheaths are also softly hairy.

Kalm’s Brome

Soft, fuzzy seed heads make this one of my favourite grasses!

Porcupine Grass

Of all the native prairie grasses, it is probably the most fascinating in terms of seed dispersal and germination.

Blue Grama Grass

My favourite dry prairie grass! This warm-season bunchgrass has very curly leaves.