Prairie Facts

  • Grasslands in cool parts of the world are called prairies or steppes. There is not enough rain all year round for trees to grow.
  • Prairies are the grasslands of North America. Steppes are the grasslands of Russia. Every region has its own name for grasslands, such as the veld in South Africa and pampas in South America. But now grasslands anywhere with tall grass are usually called prairies and grasslands with shorter grass are usually called steppes.
  • Hundreds of kinds of grass grow in prairies. In moist areas in North America, there are grasses like switch grass, wild rye, Indian grass and big bluestem. In drier areas, the main grasses are dropseeds, little bluestem, June grass, needlegrass and blue grama. Slough grass grows in marshland. The state of Kentucky is famous for its bluegrass.
  • Meadow grass is the most common of all grasses, found on grasslands all over the world — and in garden lawns.
  • Shrubs such as prairie roses often grow amid the grass, while oaks, cottonwoods and willows grow near rivers.
  • The many prairie flowers include blazing stars, coneflowers, sunflowers, asters and goldenrods.
  • Eurasian grasslands bloom with vetches, trefoils, worts, orchids and many kinds of herb.
  • Grasslands cover nearly a quarter of the Earth’s land surface.
  • When grasslands are destroyed by farming, the soil can be blown away by the wind as in the dust bowl of North America in the 1900s.