There are still a number of native prairie areas in Iowa. One of these outstanding tracts belongs to the Steel family of Cherokee, Iowa. It consists of about half a section located in Cedar Township in Cherokee county (N. 1/2 Sec. 16) one and a half miles northwest of the town of Larabee. The area has never been plowed: as a matter of fact, it has never been fenced. The flora of this area, like most of the other generally treeless areas of the state consist largely of perennial plants of a distinctly xerophytic type (18.104.22.168). The Graminae are the most numerous, although exceeded in generic numbers by the Compositae, with the Leguminosae in third place. In the more highly developed soils, with better drainage and increased organic content, the dominant grasses include porcupine grass (Stipa spartea Trin.), little blue stem (Andropogon scoparius Michx.), Prairie drop seed (Sporobulus heterolepsis Gray), and numerous sub-dominant plants such as species of sunflower (Helianthus), golden rod (Solidago), blazing star (Liatris), tickseed (Coreopsis), and prairie clover (Petalostemum). Exposure to evaporation, as determined by temperature, wind and topography, is the primary cause of the treelessness according to Shimek (3.4).
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1953 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Bakke, A. L. and Sylwester, E. P.
"Seed Retention of Some Prairie Plants,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 60(1), 82-85.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol60/iss1/8