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Grasses of Iowa is an on-going project of the Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology Department at Iowa State University designed to provide to a broad audience–the general public and professionals alike–a handy resource for the identification and evaluation of grasses. Grasses are the most important family of plants on Earth, both ecologically and economically. The Iowa landscape was shaped largely by native tallgrass prairie. Today in Iowa, corn (maize) is one of our two major crops, and many of the weeds in our agricultural fields are grasses. Prairie reconstruction and the use of ornamental grasses are of increasing interest to midwesterners. The Grasses of Iowa project, in addition to providing a means to identify grasses, also presents information on the distribution and characteristics of grass species and contains numerous images of grasses and their habitats.
Project features:
  a guide to Iowa grass species indexed by both common and scientific names including images and descriptions of all species–an example page is prairie dropseed, Sporobolus heterolepis; presently all species pages have images, and approximately 20% of the pages have descriptions
interactive identification keys, one non-technical and one technical (in progress)
a database of herbarium specimens
a hard copy manual of Iowa grasses (in progress)
a section on ornamental grasses
a section on weedy and invasive grasses
printable lists of Iowa grass species, cross-referenced to previously used scientific names
photo gallery of beautiful Iowa grasses and landscapes
Supported by a grant from the Fred Maytag Family Foundation


Lynn Clark, principal author
Anna Gardner, website designer, photographer, and illustrator
Deborah Lewis, curator of Ada Hayden Herbarium
Kathryn Udrovich, database records
Gabriel Sanchez-Ken, grass-character identification and taxonomic treatment
Resit Ilarslan, grass-character identification and scoring
Jimmie D. Thompson, help with locations for photography

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