North American Prairie

Perennials of the North American Prairie

The assortment of plants from North American grasslands and prairies forms a substantial part of the herb collections in the Prague Botanical Garden. Much of it is planted as a large loose perennial bed above the prairie. There are many species of coneflowers, such as R. nitida, R. triloba, R. fulgida; Echinacea purpurea, E. pallida, E. angustifolia; Ratibida columnifera and R. pinnata, asters (Aster ericoides, A. laevis, A. divaricatus, etc.), beeblossom (Gaura lindheimeri), tickseeds (Coreopsis grandiflora, C. lanceolata), gayfeathers (Liatris pycnostachya, L. scariosa, L. elegans). Less common plants include the genus Pycnanthemums species P. muticum, P. tenuifolium, P. incanum, P. virginicum. In all cases, they are very aromatic, mint-scented herbs, attractive to insects.

Relatively little-known are also the plants of the Amsonia genus, represented here by the species A. tabernaemontana, A. eliptica and A. hubrichtii. These plants bloom with vivid blue flowers in early summer and their foliage turns bright yellow in autumn. Their advantage lies in their high resistance to drought. Also of note is the perennial Verbenas, including purple-flowering species V. stricta and V. macdougalii along with V. hastata, which occasionally also blooms in pink or white. Among the highlights is Vernonia gigantea, one of the tallest perennials in our collection, blooming with bright purple inflorescences. Close behind in stature is the unusual genus Silphium (e.g., S. laciniatum) with large, bright yellow flowers. Various North American grass species, such as Bouteloua gracilis, Bouteloua curtipendula, Sporobolus heterolepis, Andropogon scoparius, Panicum virgatum, and others further enrich the flowerbed.

The meadow beneath the flowerbed showcases a variety of plants from North American prairies. Currently undergoing gradual reconstruction, it will eventually feature a natural arrangement of plants, representing a spectrum from tall- to short-stemmed prairies. In addition to the previously mentioned species, you'll find others such as anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) with a distinct anise scent, black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), New England aster (Aster novae-angliae), foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis), bee balm (Monarda fistulosa) and more. Notably, the biennial gaura (Gaura cf. biennis) stands out, reaching heights over 2 m, alongside one of the tallest prairie grasses, big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), which can exceed 3 m in height.

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