Clay County, Iowa offers the beauty of many native prairie plants!


  Native Prairie Plants of Clay County

Photographs by Clinton Fraley 2000-2001

Beautiful and Functional!  Click on the thumb nail picture to see an enlarged view of each native prairie plant.

Dutchman's Breeches
The Dutchman's Breeches are so named because their unusual shape is reminiscent of Dutch pantaloons.
Snow Trillium
Snow Trillium produces both flowers and berries.  The greens on the plant can be cooked and used as emergency food.  HOWEVER, the berries are poisonous.
Purple Coneflower
Flowering in July and August, this perennial's leaves can be eaten. Slugs are fond of this plant.
Upright Coneflower
The Upright Coneflower is sometimes called a Mexican Hat. It grows to a height of 2 1/2 feet and may be used to make tea
Bloodroot
The root system of a Bloodroot contains a reddish juice that was used by Native Americans to dye clothes, baskets and their skin.
Black Eyed Susan
An antibiotic extract is produced by Black Eyed Susan.
Coreopsis
Coreopsis are commonly called Tickseed because the plant produces seeds that resemble a tick.
Gayfeather
The Gayfeather is also called the Blazing Star. It was used as food by early settlers.
New England Aster 
This beautiful flower blooms in September and October. Though this plant attracts much wild life, it is not bothered by rabbits.
Leadplant 
Nowadays, the Leadplant is used as a dye, but the Native American's used the dried leaves for tea and pipe smoking.
Rattlesnake Master 
As the name Rattlesnake Master suggests, many American Indians believed the plant was antidote for rattlesnake bites. This spiny-flowered plant is also known as Button Snakeroot.
Spider Wort 
The unusual arrangement of the stems give the Spiderwort its name. The stems and leaves are edible, and the flowers can be candied and used as cake decorations.
Purple Prairie Clover 
This interestingly shaped flower blooms in July. The flowers are used to make tea.
 Gray Headed Coneflower
Crushing the head of the Gray Headed Coneflower produces a fragrance of anise.
Compass Plant 
A portion of the upper part of the flowering stem can be used to make a breath sweetening gum.
Butterfly Milkweed 
This plant can be used in the manufacture of fiber, latex and oil. In WWII its fruits were used to insulate clothing.

*Please remember that digging, picking or harvesting wildflowers is prohibited on any public lands. This includes roadside and railroad right of ways.