What Plants Live in Grasslands?

Grasslands consist of vast areas of grasses and low-growing plants. Trees are not a major feature when it comes to plant life in the grasslands. Due to the unevenness of rainfall and the frequent wildfires, forests do not invade these open areas. The thin topsoil keeps the plants from developing deep taproots. Grasslands support a variety of animals, so the plants need to tolerate grazing and provide cover.

Blazing Stars

Blazing stars (Liatris spp.) are summer flowering bulbs growing 12 to 48 inches tall. Erect flower stems are covered with tiny blue, white, pink and lavender blossoms, giving the plant a fire poker appearance. Green, lance-shaped leaves cover the flower stalks. Temperatures below 23 degrees Fahrenheit cause injury to this plant. Blazing stars prefer good-draining, moist soils, but will tolerate temporary dry soil conditions.

Buffalo Grass

Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) is a perennial plant that provides a food source for large grazing animals in the grasslands. This blue-green grass grows 8 to 10 inches in height during the warm summer. Buffalo grass has both male and female plants and tolerates hot, arid growing conditions. This grass dislikes sandy soil, shady sites or heavy foot traffic.


Buttercups (Ranunculus acris) are also called crazy weeds. The 12 to 42-inch high stems are upright and covered with tiny hairs. The triangular, green leaves form finger-like leaflets. The yellow flowers consist of five to seven petals and blossom from late May to September. This perennial thrives in moist soil. Buttercups are found growing in pastures, meadows, roadside ditches and stream banks.


Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) is a perennial flower reaching 2 to 6 feet tall. The 4 to 6-inch, lance-shaped leaves have serrated edges. Clusters of tiny yellow flowers appear at the top of the plant. Goldenrod blooms from late summer into autumn. This flower prefers full to partial sun in a site with moist soil. This plant tolerates long periods of drought. Goldenrod is naturally found in dry prairies, floodplains, savannas, abandoned fields, roadsides and open disturbed areas.

Tahoka Daisy

Tahoka daisy (Machaeranthera tanacetifolia) is also called the prairie aster. This annual flower grows 12 to 18-inch upright stems. The leaves are finely divided and sprawl in dense mounds. Large daisy-like blossoms are made up of purple petals surrounding a yellow center. The blossoms appear from May until September. Tahoka daisies thrive in sand and gravel areas.

Keywords: grassland biome, grassland plants, prairie plants

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.