Flint Hills

The Band of Hills Known as the Flint Hills

Native tallgrasses have always thrived in the Flint Hills. The rocky terrain has prevented plant based farming, so native plants (at least those not displaced by invasives like Bush Honeysuckle) have perpetuated through centuries of droughts, floods, wildfires and controlled burns.

Milkweed occurs frequently among the grasses in the prairies. Monarch butterflies depend on (and can’t exist without) milkweed. I’ve tried to cultivate it and can’t. (I hate it when I’m at an intersection in the late summer and see the Monarchs fluttering aroung – it’s like they know the flowers they need used to be there.)

In the winter, as the fallen seedpods begin to disassemble and deteriorate in the elements, the inner linings of the seedpod separate from the casings.

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The innermost surface of the seedpod is shiny and metallic. It’s quite extraordinary. I’m still trying to find an appropriate way to appreciate the pieces I found.

This post shows two small pieces of seedpod lining with prairie grasses.

Posted by Brigid in Botanical Artifacts, Native Plants

The Tallgrass Prairie

The cold wind in the Flint Hills on a “warm” winter day was brutal. I took a trip to there to collect some winter-dried grasses before the killer part of our 2011 winter set in.

I wasn’t ready for the early sunset while I was knee deep in the native grasses, surrounded by the woody remains ¬†of an old train station. I hadn’t noticed the increasing darkness, but the moon was rising large and orange, the temperature was sliding lower, and my nose was running freely.

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Posted by Brigid in Native Plants