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Grassland Plants

The continental areas that are dominated by the presence of various grasses, along with bushes and trees present intermittently are called grassland biome regions. These areas exhibit a mind-blowing diversity of plant life, as their conditions for thriving of the floral species are quite favorable. Read this article to gain a spectacular insight into the world of grassland biome vegetation.
Gardenerdy Staff
Fragile State
One of the most endangered ecosystems on our planet, the temperate grasslands cover only 8% of the Earth's surface, and this area is fast decreasing due to rampant deforestation and urbanization. The Temperate Grasslands Conservation Initiative (TGCI) aims to protect grassland areas all over the world, and helps reduce the damage caused, as much as possible.
Plants of the Grassland Biome
The following section provides you with some marvelous and utterly beautiful pictures of the following:
  1. Grasses
  2. Flowering perennial plants
  3. Shrubs, herbs, and trees
Grasses
The most dominant variety of vegetation found in grasslands, the grass species differ from each other in terms of appearance, size, color, family, etc. Numerous types of weeds, grain grasses, sedges, rushes, and reeds grow in these wild plains.
Autumn Bentgrass
Autumn bentgrass
Binomial Name: Agrostis perennans
Family: Poaceae
This type of grass is found mostly in the North and South American grasslands. It grows in the form of bunches, and the stems have an average height of 50 cm.
Big Bluestem
Big bluestem
Binomial Name: Andropogon gerardii
Family: Poaceae
This plant is found mainly in the Prairie regions of the USA, and its height is around 3 meters. It is characterized by the presence of a hard and strong stem, and roots that extend deep in the soil.
Blue Fescue
Blue fescue
Binomial Name: Festuca glauca
Family: Poaceae
Characterized by the appearance of a pale-blue- to bluish-gray-colored foliage, this grass is found in arid shrublands and drought-prone grasslands. It can grow up to an average height of 15-16 cm.
Bluejoint Grass
Bluejoint reedgrass
Binomial Name: Calamagrostis canadensis
Family: Poaceae
It grows up to an average height of 1 meter, and is found all over the United States and Canada. The leaves are faint purple in color, and tiny hair-like projections are present on the leaves.
Broom Sedge
Broom sedge
Binomial Name: Andropogon virginicus
Family: Poaceae
Also called whiskey grass, as it was utilized for the packing of whiskey bottles, this sedge is mainly found in the USA. It is generally categorized under the category of agricultural weeds.
Canadian Fleabane
Canadian fleabane
Binomial Name: Conyza canadensis
Family: Asteraceae
This grassland plant is classified as an agricultural weed, and in the USA, its growth in the plains is difficult to control. It can grow up to a meter tall, and its flowers are white-colored with a tinge of purple.
Chinese Dwarf Bamboo
Dwarf bamboo
Binomial Name: Bambusa guangxiensis
Family: Poaceae
This is a very short variety of the bamboo tree, and it is extensively found in the Chinese subcontinental region. It grows up to an average height of 3-4 m.
Elephant Grass
Elephant grass
Binomial Name: Pennisetum purpureum
Family: Poaceae
One of the tallest grass varieties to be found in the grassland biome, the elephant grass can grow up to a height of 10 feet. The peculiar name exists due to its ability to mask elephants behind its extent in the plains.
Feather Grass
Feather grass
Binomial Name: Stipa
Subfamily: Pooideae
It appears like feathers fixed on thin stems, and is mainly found worldwide in grasslands of the USA, Europe, African Savannahs, etc. It is a favorite choice for grazing animals in such regions.
June Grass
June grass
Binomial Name: Koeleria macrantha
Subfamily: Pooideae
This plant grows naturally, as well as can be cultivated. It can reach heights of up to about half a meter, and can cause allergies in some people. It grows across the United States and Mexico.
Red Fescue
Red fescue
Binomial Name: Festuca rubra
Family: Poaceae
This perennial variety is mostly found in the temperate grasslands, and it thrives in soil that has very good drainage. On an average, it can grow up to 15 cm tall.
Ryegrass
Rye grass
Binomial Name: Lolium perenne
Subfamily: Poodeae
Another common variety of grasses, this species grows in the wild pastures, as well as can be cultivated. These plants can decrease the rate of soil erosion in an area quite effectively.
Silver Grass
Silver grass
Binomial Name: Miscanthus sinensis
Family: Poaceae
Also called South American elephant grass, this variety is also found in Asiatic regions like China and Japan. Its height is around 2 meters.
Spear Grass
Spear grass
Binomial Name: Aristida purpurea
Family: Poaceae
This grass is characterized by the presence of narrow, elongated, and sharp spikes or leaves. It can grow up to a meter tall, and also thrives in semi-arid grassland to desert-grassland regions.
Tussock Sedge
Tussock sedge
Binomial Name: Carex stricta
Family: Poaceae
This sedge species is named for its unusual formation of leaf coverings around a dead plant of the same variety. These coverings are called tussocks, and the plant grows up to 1.5 - 2 feet.
Wheat Grass
Wheat grass
Binomial Name: Triticum aestivum
Subfamily: Pooideae
A very common plant growing in grasslands and used extensively for grazing by animals, wheat grass grows up to a meter tall. It is considered a staple diet in many regions of the world.
Wild Cane
Wild cane
Binomial Name: Arundo donax
Family: Poaceae
Also known as giant cane, it is mainly found growing in the Asiatic and African grasslands. The height of this grass variety is about more than 5 meters.
Woolgrass Bulrush
Woolgrass bulrush
Binomial Name: Scirpus atrovirens
Family: Cyperaceae
Also called deergrass, this plant consists of thin and narrow green- or brown-colored leaves, along with a cluster of spikes. The average height of this floral species is 3 meters.
Buffalo Grass
Binomial Name: Anthoxanthum odoratum
Family: Poaceae

This grass variety grows up to a meter tall, and can also be identified by its typical sweet smell. This plant grows in soil types that have a low pH level. It is found extensively in the European subcontinent.
Pampas Grass
Binomial Name: Cortaderia selloana
Family: Poaceae

It is mainly used for ornamentation purposes, and it grows up to an average height of 10 feet. The typical name is attributed to its major distribution in the Pampas Grasslands of South America.
Needle grass
Needle Grass
Pumila grass
Pumila Grass
Flowering Perennials
The scenic splendor of the grassland biome is enriched due to the presence of unique and beautiful flowers, which mainly thrive in the particular grassland climate. Such plants are called perennial, as they bloom for mostly the entire year.
Agrimony
Agrimony
Binomial Name: Agrimonia eupatoria
Family: Rosaceae
This plant reaches heights of up to around 90 cm and is commonly seen in the temperate grasslands of Europe and North America. The seeds of this plant have small spikes that are useful for propagation.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Arrowleaf balsamroot
Binomial Name: Balsamorhiza sagittata
Family: Asteraceae
This plant is related to the sunflower, and it can grow in various grassland types, like semi-arid, desert, mountainous meadows, etc. Its average height is about 40-50 cm.
Atamasco Lily
Atamasco lily
Binomial Name: Zephyranthes atamasco
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Extensively growing in the Southeastern parts of North America, this lily grows well in soil types that are characterized by high pH levels. The habitat of this plant includes swampy and boggy grasslands.
Blanket Flower
Blanket flower
Binomial Name: Gaillardia aristata
Family: Asteraceae
It is related to the sunflower plant family, and it grows up to a height of around 70 cm. This plant is commonly found in the subcontinents of North and South America.
Blazing Star
Blazing star
Binomial Name: Liatris spicata
Family: Asteraceae
This flowering plant is dominantly seen in the southern parts of the North American continent, especially in Mexico and the Bahamas Islands. The average height of this grassland plant is one meter.
Blue Flag
Blue flag
Binomial Name: Iris germanica
Family: Iradaceae
This plant is commonly known as Iris, and is found in different types of grasslands, right from mountainous and temperate, to semi-arid and meadows. Rhizomes may also be present in a few varieties.
Cardinal Flower
Cardinal flower
Binomial Name: Lobelia cardinalis
Family: Campanulaceae
Distributed across Northern America and Canada, this plant species is perennial and grows up to more than a meter tall in height. It is generally found in swampy grasslands and marshes.
Chocolate Lily
Chocolate lily
Binomial Name: Fritillaria biflora
Family: Liliaceae
This perennial plant grows up to half a meter tall, and the particular name is given due to the appearance of the color of its flowers. It is extensively found in mountainous grassland regions.
Common Boneset
Common boneset
Binomial Name: Eupatorium perfoliatum
Family: Asteraceae
This plant is spread very extensively across the entire eastern and middle eastern part of the United States and Canada. It grows till a height of 1 meter, and is found in grasslands that have high humidity.
Coneflower
Coneflower
Binomial Name: Dracopis amplexicaulis
Family: Asteraceae
The typical cone-shaped structure of the inflorescence of this plant is the reason for its typical name. Its average height is one meter, and it commonly grows in the North American continent.
Calliopsis
Coreopsis
Binomial Name: Coreopsis gigantea
Family: Asteraceae
This plant grows up to an average height of 80 cm, and is mostly found in North as well as South American subcontinents. The fruits of this floral species look like tiny insects.
Chiltern Gentian
Chiltern Gentian
Binomial Name: Gentianella germanica
Family: Gentianaceae
Dominantly present in northern Europe especially in the United Kingdom, this plant is quite rare with regards to its occurrence in other parts of our planet. It grows extensively on the Chiltern Hills in England.
Cowslip
Cowslip flower
Binomial Name: Primula veris
Family: Primulaceae
This flowering plant is extensively found in Northern Europe and Asia, and it grows up to 20 cm in height. It thrives well in desertic grasslands, meadows, temperate grasslands, etc.
Cudweed
Cudweed
Binomial Name: Gnaphalium sandwicensium
Family: Asteraceae
This plant is commonly found in temperate, mountainous, and subtropical grasslands around our planet. It mainly known as a forage plant for the animals that belong to this biome.
Dianella longifolia
Dianella longifolia
Eyebright
Eyebright
Binomial Name: Euphrasia rostkoviana
Family: Orobanchaceae
This plant is mainly found in high-altitude or mountainous grasslands, where the snowline just meets the tree line. This plant is very useful for treatment of the infection of eyes.
Great Blue Lobelia
Great blue lobelia
Binomial Name: Lobelia siphilitica
Family: Campanulaceae
This plant is a characteristic of grasslands that have a high moisture content and humidity. This herb is commonly found in the US and central parts of Canada.
Joe-Pye Weed
Joy pye weed
Binomial Name: Eutrochium fistulosum
Family: Asteraceae
This herb mostly grows in the eastern parts of North America, and it can grow up to 2 meters in height. The leaves show minute serrated edges, and flowers show the presence of whorls.
Lady's Bedstraw
Lady's bedstraw
Binomial Name: Galium verum
Family: Rubiaceae
This plant is found all across Europe and in some parts of the US and Asia. It is a herb, and it can grow up to an average height of 80-100 cm. It is basically a weed plant.
Marsh Marigold
Marsh marigold
Binomial Name: Caltha palustris
Family: Ranunculaceae
This herb is perennial in nature, and is mostly present in temperate grassland regions of Europe and Britain. The average height of this plant is 70 cm, and it is mildly poisonous in nature.
Meadow Saffron
Meadow saffron
Binomial Name: Colchicum autumnale
Family: Colchicaceae
Commonly found in most European countries, it mainly thrives in temperate grassland areas. These plants are poisonous and may be harmful to those animals who graze on them accidentally.
Milkweed
Milkweed
Binomial Name: Asclepias syriaca
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Also called common milkweed, this plant is dominantly seen in the eastern region of the US. It grows till a height of more than 2 meters, and thrives well in areas that receive ample sunlight.
Milk Thistle
Thistle
Binomial Name: Silybum marianum
Family: Asteraceae
This variety of thistle is found commonly in the European subcontinent and less extensively in other parts of the world. It grows up to an average height of 1.2 - 2 meters.
Mistflower
Mistflower
Binomial Name: Ageratina riparia
Family: Asteraceae
This perennial floral species grows up to 60 cm in height, and is poisonous to eat. It is mainly present in the Asiatic regions, and is sometimes called a nuisance, causing weed crop.
Monkey Flower
Monkey flower
Binomial Name: Mimulus lewisii
Family: Phrymaceae
This herb grows till a height of about 70 cm and is found mainly in North America and Australia. The typical name exists as flowers of some species appear like the face of a monkey.
Silky Lupine
Silky lupine
Binomial Name: Lupinus sericeus
Family: Fabaceae
This plant is found commonly in the western parts of the US and also in few areas of British Columbia. It can reach up to half a meter in height and requires ample sunlight for proper growth.
Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle
Binomial Name: Urtica dioica
Family: Urticaceae
Also called common nettle, this plant is equipped with an amazing defense mechanism consisting of stinging hair. It releases chemicals that are absorbed in the skin, when any animal or human comes in contact with it.
Sunflower
Sunflower
Binomial Name: Helianthus annuus
Family: Asteraceae
This is one of the most recognizable plants of the grassland biome, which grows all over the world. The typical shape of its flower gives it the particular name. The average height of this plant is 3 meters.
Wild Bergamot
Wild bergamot
Binomial Name: Monarda fistulosa
Family: Lamiaceae
This herb is commonly seen in the Northwestern regions of the US and a few central regions of Canada. It mainly grows up to a height of 2-3 feet, and thrives well in less-rainfall-characterized grasslands.
Wood Lily
Wood lily
Binomial Name: Lilium philadelphicum
Family: Liliaceae
The average height of this lily plant is about 45 cm, and it is commonly found in the US and Canada. It thrives properly in well-drained soil that also has sufficient quantity of humus.
Yarrow
Yarrow
Binomial Name: Achillea millefolium
Family: Asteraceae
This plant is commonly found in the temperate grasslands of USA, Europe, and Asia. It grows up to a meter in height, and was used in ancient times for treatment of injuries.
Flax Lily
Binomial Name: Dianella longifolia
Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae


This variety of lily is mostly seen in the regions belonging to Australasia like India, Australia, New Zealand, etc. It is characterized by the presence of underground rhizome.
Pale Dog-violet
Binomial Name: Viola lactea
Family: Violaceae


This plant is largely confined to humid heathland and grass heath in England. Areas having uncultivated land with sandy soil and scrubby vegetation are favorable for its growth.
Speedwell
Speedwell
Binomial Name: Veronica chamaedrys
Family: Plantaginaceae
This weed plant grows in the northern regions of Europe and Asia and dominates on other plants present in the grasslands. It can reach a height of about 20 cm.
Shrubs, Herbs, and Trees
They are not as abundant as the above two types of vegetation, and can be intermittently seen in the vast plains of grasses and small flowering plants. The trees especially harbor the habitation of numerous organisms.
Azalea
Azalea
Binomial Name: Rhododendron
Family: Ericaceae
A very common flowering shrub found in grasslands, azalea thrives properly in soil types that have a low pH level. It is found in Europe, Asia, and in North America.
Bayberry
Bayberry
Binomial Name: Myrica gale
Family: Myricaceae
This shrub grows in the Asiatic, European, and American subcontinental regions, and is also found in a few areas in the form of trees. The roots of this floral species fix nitrogen.
Black Chokeberry
Black chokeberry
Binomial Name: Aronia arbutifolia
Family: Rosaceae
This plant is found in the grassland areas that experience heavy rainfall and the occurrence of high humidity. It is mainly subdivided into red, black, and purple chokeberry types.
Black Locust
Black locust
Binomial Name: Robinia pseudoacacia
Family: Fabaceae
Dominantly seen in central and mid-eastern parts of USA, the black locust tree is characteristically present in temperate grassland areas. The average height of this tree is about 40 meters.
Butterfly Weed
Butterfly weed
Binomial Name: Asclepias tuberosa
Family: Apocynaceae
This weed plant dominantly grows in soil types that have less moisture, but can also grow in well-drained soils. The average height of this floral species is about one meter.
Common Sorrel
Common sorrel
Binomial Name: Rumex acetosa
Family: Polygonaceae
This species of sorrel is found extensively in grassland regions, especially in northern Europe and Russia, Mediterranean regions, and Asia. Its average height is about half a meter.
Douglas Fir
Green Forest
Binomial Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii
Family: Pinaceae
A common tree present in the mountainous grassland regions of North America and British Columbia, it can grow up to an average height of 80 meters. It is also seen on the Western coast of USA.
Devil's Scabious
Devil's scabious
Binomial Name: Succisa pratensis
Family: Dipsacaceae
This herb was used for the treatment of scabies, and is mainly seen in the European subcontinent, Britain, and several Asiatic regions. It grows well in soil types that have high moisture levels.
Field Scabious
Field scabious
Binomial Name: Knautia arvensis
Family: Dipsacaceae
This plant was used in the treatment of scabies in the ancient times, and it grows well in soil types that may have less water content. The average height of this floral species is about 80 cm.
Fringe Tree
Fringe tree
Binomial Name: Chionanthus virginicus
Family: Oleaceae
It is dominantly present in the Eastern parts of United States, and is also known as white fringe tree. This floral species can grow up to a height of about 30 feet.
Juniper
Green juniper
Binomial Name: Juniperus osteosperma
Family: Cupressaceae
These tall trees grow till an average height of 30 meters, and are commonly seen in grasslands ranging from the European subcontinent to the Americas, and even in Africa. The Juniperusgenus is divided into more than 60 species.
Limber Pine
Limber pine
Binomial Name: Pinus flexilis
Family: Pinaceae
This tall and long-living pine species is seen in the high-altitude regions of Canada and USA, and can grow as tall as 20 meters. It can live for at least a thousand years or more.
Meadowsweet
Meadowsweet
Binomial Name: Filipendula ulmaria
Family: Rosaceae
This plant thrives in Europe and Asiatic regions (especially in the Eastern areas), and grows till a height of about 6 feet. It is mainly used as a herb and for manufacturing medicines.
Moth Orchid
Moth orchid
Binomial Name: Phalaenopsis
Family: Orchidaceae
This orchid appears like a moth with its open wings, and hence, the typical name. It is mainly seen in the Indian subcontinental grasslands, Australian semi-grassland areas, and in China.
Persimmon
Persimmon
Binomial Name: Diospyros kaki
Family: Ebenaceae
A very common tree found in grasslands all around the world, persimmon is characterized by the presence of orange- or reddish-orange colored fruits, which look similar to tomatoes.
Ponderosa Pine
Ponderosa pine
Binomial Name: Pinus ponderosa
Family: Pinaceae
Though this tree is classified as evergreen and coniferous, it is present in a few mountainous grassland regions of North America and Canada. The average height of this tree is about 70 meters.
Purple Coneflower
Purple coneflower
Binomial Name: Echinacea purpurea
Family: Asteraceae
This flowering shrub is commonly present in the grasslands of North America, and grows till an average height of one meter. It can grow in almost any type of soil, whether the moisture levels are low or high.
Purple Orchid
Early Purple Orchid In English Hedgerow
Binomial Name: Orchis mascula
Family: Orchidaceae
This orchid species grows up to half a meter in length, and is dominantly seen to inhabit the European grassland regions. In a few types, the leaves may show spotted appearance.
Pyramidal Orchid
Pyramidal orchid
Binomial Name: Anacamptis pyramidalis
Family: Asparagales
This plant grows to a height of half a meter and blooms in the form of a pyramid. It is mainly seen in the European grassland regions. Pollination of flowers is undertaken by butterflies.
Ragged Robin
Ragged robin
Binomial Name: Lychnis flos-cuculi
Family: Caryophyllaceae
This herb is mostly seen in the European grassland regions, and it is characterized by the presence of flowers that are not properly arranged with respect to their petals; hence, the typical name.
Red Clover
Red clover
Binomial Name: Trifolium pratense
Family: Fabaceae
This herb thrives in Europe, Asia, and in the African subcontinent, and it is mainly used as a fodder plant in these regions. It grows up to an average height of 50 cm.
Rock Rose
Rock rose
Binomial Name: Cistus incanus
Family: Cistaceae
It is seen mostly in the Mediterranean region, and North and South American continents. This plant thrives well in areas that receive ample sunlight. The seeds germinate with the help of wildfires.
Sagebrush
Sagebrush
Binomial Name: Artemisia tridentata
Family: Asteraceae
It grows till about 2-3 meters in height. This shrub inhabits the semiarid, mountainous, and shrubland areas of West USA, Mexico, and even in central mountainous regions of North America.
Sheep's Sorrel
Sheeps Sorrel Rumex Acetosella
Binomial Name: Rumex acetosella
Family: Polygonaceae
Also called red sorrel, this perennial plant thrives well in soils having a high pH level, especially in grasslands. It grows up to a height of half a meter and is seen mainly in European regions and Britain.
Selfheal
Selfheal
Binomial Name: Prunella vulgaris
Family: Lamiaceae
This herb mostly occurs as a weed plant in numerous regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is used in manufacturing medicines and also for treating injuries.
Silky Dogwood
Silky dogwood
Binomial Name: Cornus amomum
Family: Cornaceae
It is dominantly seen in the US, and grows up to a height of about 4 meters. The main regions where it thrives are located near the Eastern Coast and central areas, especially in well-drained soils.
Sweet Basil
Sweet basil
Binomial Name: Ocimum basilicum
Family: Lamiaceae
A very common herbal grassland plant, basil dominantly grows in Asian regions like the Indian subcontinent. It requires ample sunlight and well-drained soil for efficient growth.
Sweet Flag
Sweet flag
Binomial Name: Acorus calamus
Family: Achoraceae
This monocot plant is characterized by a sweet smell, and it is dominantly seen growing in the Asiatic grassland regions. It is used in manufacturing herbal medicines.
White Clover
White clover
Binomial Name: Trifolium repens
Family: Fabaceae
This fodder plant is one of the most commonly found shrubs occurring in the grasslands of the American subcontinent and in New Zealand. It generally shows a creeper characteristic.
Willow Plant
Willow plant
Binomial Name: Salix alba
Family: Salicaceae
A characteristic tree found in temperate grasslands, the willow grows about 80 feet tall. Leaves of this plant are elongated, and the roots penetrate deep beneath the surface.
Grassland Plant Adaptations
The numerous examples of vegetation found in this biome have to adapt to various types of environment. These plants have to survive in the cold as well as dry weather conditions. In some parts of the world, especially in the tropical regions, the grassland regions receive extremely heavy rainfall. In winter, excessive snowfall is quite detrimental for the survival of plants, and hence, there is a great need for certain adaptive measures.
• Almost all the flora absorb the moisture received from precipitation, and reserve it for their growth. The rate of evapotranspiration is quite less in these plants as compared to that of the deciduous temperate trees and shrubs.
 The plants have adapted to excessive heat during summers, and hence, the leaves show less number of stomatal openings. The grasses have adapted by acquiring an upright, narrow, and straight form, which helps to reduce the absorption of heat.
 Forest fires are of immense importance to the plants of this biome, as they help in proper germination of the seeds and further propagation. Also, the burnt vegetation releases useful nutrients back into the soil, which enrich and nourish it, and are absorbed by the young trees.
 Most types of grasses, trees, and even shrubs have adapted to the loose and easily erodible soil, by amazing root adaptations. The roots penetrate deep, thus holding the soil particles together, as well as providing stability to the plants, and aiding them in their growth. These firm roots also show resistance against getting uprooted when animals graze on the fields.
 Most of the adaptive features are seen in temperate grasslands.

Stems: In such wind-dominated regions, the stems and branches of grasses and trees are quite flexible, thus enabling them to bend with the wind currents, and not break off from the main body, whenever wind conditions are strong.
Roots: Also, the roots grow from the basal portions that are present under the soil surface, instead of growing from the tip that arises out of the ground. Due to this, the roots are not affected much during floods, storms, forest fires, grazing activity, etc., and even if they break off, the new ones emerge from the basal portions.
Leaves: The plant leaves are quite thin to reduce loss of water during transpiration.
Flowers: The flowers show attractive and rich colors, which increase the chances of pollination by insects. Some spores are dispersed through pollination only with the help of wind currents.
The presence of grasslands on our planet is extremely crucial for the survival of thousands of plants and animals. Every year, hundreds of acres of these areas are being captured by humans for agricultural, construction-related activity, logging activities, mining, etc. This is putting immense pressure on the already-fragile nature of grassland ecosystems and ultimately, on the survival of the associated flora and fauna. Being the most intelligent species on this planet, we must ensure not to cause wanton damage to such regions, and preserve them at least for the future generations.
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