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Oklahoma Plant Identification

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Oklahoma offers a wide range of plants. The Sooner State is mostly known for its abundant grasses, which grow throughout the state. Buffalo, bluestem, grama and lovegrass are common grasses. Buffalo grass grows mainly in western counties, which is also is called “short grass country,” notes In eastern Oklahoma, deciduous hardwood trees are common plants, while yellow and red cactuses bloom in the Black Mesa region of northwestern Oklahoma.


According to the Oklahoma Biological Survey website, Oklahoma has 173 plant families and 868 genera. There are 2,540 plant species, with 86 percent of the state’s flora consisting of native plants.


Oklahoma, which lies in the center of the United States, has a diverse landscape. The state has hardiness zones ranging from Zone 7B, in southeastern Oklahoma to Zone 6A in the northwestern area of the state. The 7B hardiness zone has minimum temperatures from 5 to 10 degrees F, while the 6A zone has the state's lowest temperatures of minus 10 to minus 5 degrees F, according to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.


Koreanspice Viburnum is a fragrant small or medium shrub with dark green leaves in summer that can change to wine-red in fall. Its flower buds, which are pink or red, open to white or pink shades in spring. Toad lilies, known for their usual pale lilac flowers with dark purple spots, are another popular Oklahoma plant. Although their flowers are unique, they should be placed where they can be enjoyed up close, as toad lily flowers are small, notes Oklahoma State University. Silver Falls’ Dichondra grows slowly and has silvery-gray leaves shaped as lily pads. It’s drought- and heat-tolerant and looks stunning as a hanging plant or in a container.


Hardy types of vegetables can be planted before the last frost. On the other hand, semi-hardy plants may suffer damage from a hard frost, although they won’t be harmed by a light frost, notes the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Tender plants can be hurt or even killed by light frosts, but they can survive in cool weather. Exceptionally tender plants are damaged by cool weather.


Although plants and animals can be kept in check through food supply and predators on their home turf, problems can arise whenever a foreign species is introduced into a new Oklahoma landscape, notes The Natural Conservancy in Oklahoma. This can result in invasive plants that can spread and overrun native plants, leading to property damage and decreased economic productivity. In Oklahoma the three top invasive plants are the eastern red cedar, the Sericea lespedeza and the salt cedar, which have significantly impacted the state’s forests, rangelands, sandy floodplains and stream banks.

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