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Prairie Ecosystems
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Roots and Erosion
Roots Add Nutrients
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"...When Addie became tired of staring at the emptiness, of trying to find something -- anything -- on the horizon, she dropped to her knees and let the tall grass with its sweet, dry smell swallow her up."
- from Laurie Lawlord's Addie Across the Prairie

Liatris pychnostachya Many prairie plants, including grasses that cover prairies, have adapted over thousands of years to droughts, fire, and grazing animals. 

Some of the many adaptations that prairie plants have made are:

  • The growing point of many prairie plants is underground, where it can survive fire and regrow.
  • Prairie grasses have narrow leaves that lose less water to evaporation than broad, flat leaves lose.
  • Prairie plants have roots that extend downward for as much as 3.5 meters and form networks to absorb moisture during dry periods.
  • Brightly colored flowers attract pollinators such as bees, wasps, and birds.

Blazing Star
(Liatris pychnostachya)

One of the most important adaptations of prairie plants is the root system, which is complex. 

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