26 April 2015

Native Plants of Oklahoma

Many states in the US have similar climates and similar native plants. As in many locations across the country, Oklahoma's native plants have paid no attention to the state borders invented by legislators and are identical or similar to those found in other locations.
The entire state is part of the drainage basin of the Mississippi River. In northeast OK, the types of plants that thrive are different from those that thrive in southeast, northwest and central parts of the state. Here the average annual rainfall has historically been 40-inches or more.
Elevation Map

The Muskogee/Tulsa area is just a few hundred feet above sea level.

Temperatures averages also vary widely across the state.

Naturally, our native plant varieties, frequency and bloom times also vary.

Yesterday a group of Oklahoma Native Plant Society members, friends and guests were invited by Pam and Randy Ledford to walk a slice of their beautiful property near Pawnee OK. Several knowledgeable members were there to help sort out which plants were which.

Two members were recording plant names of those we found and that the botanists on the walk were able to identify. ONPS has both indoor and outdoor outings that we have enjoyed. Two weeks ago we joined an outing at the Redbud Valley Nature Preserve north of Tulsa and learned about completely different plants in that watershed area.


In addition to Randy and Pam's knowledge, the ONPS president attended as well as other native plant lovers who know what they are looking at when they see it.

We also had the advantage of Ledford's Pawnee knowledge about the use of plants by tribal members. In addition, we had modern uses explained by a member of the Pawnee Nation who was on the tour.

We saw both blue and yellow baptesia, lead plant, native roughleaf dogwood, native persimmon trees, Osage orange trees, ironweed, various sedge, wild onion, prairie grasses, fleabane, prairie iris, blue-eyed grass, assorted oaks, hackberry trees, elms, male and female mulberry trees, nettle, lamb's quarters, spring beauty, false indigo, partridge pea, assorted clovers, wood sorrel, violet wood sorrel, wild geranium, sumac, poison ivy, possum haw, box elder, wild grape, pin-cushion cactus, prickly pear cactus, cornsalad, boneset, ragweed, yarrow, thistle, wild lettuce and others that I can't remember.

The Ledford's land is in the Tallgrass Paririe so their plants bloom at different times than ours in NE OK. Plus their drought has been much worse than ours this year. Their land is on a rocky hillside so the native cacti are quite happy there but drown here.

If you want to learn more, join ONPS, friend their Facebook page and come along. For more to read, click on http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-8062/E-993.pdf

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