Prairie Literature A Reading List from IPN

This list was generated as a collaborative effort of the membership of the Iowa Prairie Network. Its primary intended purpose is to provide interested persons with a wide range of information concerning the life of and the life on the prairie.

General Background Information:

  • A Brief History of Iowa, Herbert Kersten
  • American Prairies, William K. Smithey
  • Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie, An Ethnobotanical Guide, Kelly Kindscher
  • Fragile Giants, A Natural History of the Loess Hills, Cornelia F. Mutel
  • Handbook for Butterfly Watchers, Robert Michael Pyle
  • How to Know Wildflowers, A New Edition of the American Classic, by Mrs. William Star Dana, originally published in 1893
  • Iowa's Natural Heritage, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and Iowa Academy of Science, Tom Cooper, Exec. Editor
  • Jewel of the Plains: Wildflowers of the Great Plains, Grasslands, and Hills, Claude A. Barr
  • Landforms of Iowa, Jean C. Prior
  • Land of the Fragile GiantsLandscapes, Environments, and Peoples of the Loess Hills, Cornelia Mutel and Mary Swander
  • Landscaping for Wildlife, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie, An Ethnobotanical Guide, Kelly Kindscher
  • Native Harvests, Recipes and Botanicals of the American Indian, Barrie Kavasch
  • Nature's Heartland, Native Plant Communities of the Great Plains, William Boon and Harlan Groe
  • New Pronouncing Dictionary of Plant Names, 'Florists' Publishing Co.
  • North American Prairie, J. E. Weaver
  • Prairie Directory of North America, C. Adelman and B. L Schwartz. Lawndale Enterprises. 2001.
  • Prairie Plants and Their Environment, A Fifty- Year Study in the Midwest, J. E. Weaver, U of Nebraska Press
  • The Prairie World, David Costello
  • A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold
  • Seasons of the Tall Grass Prairie, A nature Conservancy Book, John Madson
  • Where the Sky Began, Land of the Tallgrass Prairie, John Madson
  • Wild Seasons, Gathering and Cooking Wild Plants of the Great Plains, Kay Young

Propagation and Management

  • Bringing Back the Prairie: A Restoration Guide for School and Community Sites, John Stiles
  • A Garden of Wildflowers, 101 Native Species and How to Grow Them, Henry W. Art
  • Going Native: A Prairie Planting Guide, Polk County Conservation Board, Loren Lown
  • Growing and Propagating Wild Flowers, Harry R. Philips
  • Growing Wildflowers, A Gardener's Guide, Marie Sperka
  • How to Manage Small Prairie Fires, Wayne Pauly
  • The New Wild Flowers and How to Grow Them, Edwin F. Steffek
  • A Practicle Guide to Prairie Reconstruction. Kurtz Carl.
  • Prairies, Forests, & Wetlands, the Restoration of Natural Landscape Communities in Iowa, Janette R. Thompson
  • The Prairie Garden, 70 Native Plants You Can Grow in Town or Country, J. Robert Smith
  • Prairie Propagation Handbook, Wehr Nature Center, Whitnall Park (Franklin, Wisc) H. W. Rock
  • Restoring the Tallgrass PrairieAn Illustrated Manual for Iowa and the Upper Midwest, Shirley Shirley
  • The Wildflower Gardner's Guide: Midwestern Great Plains, Canadian Prairies, Ed., Henry W. Art
  • Wild Gardening, Richard L. Austin

Identification: Keys and Guides

  • Atlas of the Flora of the Great Plains, The Great Plains Flora Association, T. M. Barkley, Editor (Iowa State Press 1977)
  • The Audubon Society Nature Guides, GRASSLANDS, Lauren Brown
  • Distribution Maps of Iowa Prairie Plants, Paul A. Christiansen (Iowa D.O.T.)
  • Field Guide to the Grasses, Sedges and Rushes of the United States, Edward Knobel
  • Flora of the Great Plains, The Great Plains Flora Association, T. M. Barkley, Editor (University Press of Kansas 1986)
  • A Golden Guide: "Flowers", Zin and Martin
  • Grasses, and Identification Guide, Lauren Brown
  • A Guide to Field Identification: Wildflowers of North America, Frank D. Venning
  • Handbook for Butterfly Watchers, Robert Michael Pyle
  • Herbaceous Perennial Plants: Treatise on Their Identification, Culture, and Garden Attributes, Allan M. Armitage
  • How to Know the Grasses, Richard W. Pohl
  • How to Know the Wildflowers, A New Edition of the American Classic, Mrs. William Starr Dana (originally published in 1893)
  • Illinois Wild Flowers, (Illinois State Museum; Popular Science Series Vol. III) John Voss and Virginia S. Eifert
  • An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada, in Three Volumes, Nathaniel Lord Britton and Hon. Addison Brown
  • Kansas Prairie Wild Flowers, Clenton E. Owesnby
  • The Key, Floyd Swink
  • Keys to Iowa Vascular Plants, Richard W. Pohl
  • Manual of the Grasses of the United States, (2 Vol.) A. S. Hitchcock
  • Newcomb's Wildflower Guide, L. Newcomb
  • Peterson Field Guide Series, A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeast and Northcentral North America, R. T. Peterson and M. McKenny
  • Pods, Wildflowers and Weeds in their Final Beauty, A Visual Guide from Flower…to Pod…to Dried Arrangement, Jane Emertson
  • The Prairie, Swells and Swale, Torkel Korling
  • Spring Flora of Wisconsin, Norman Fassett
  • The Vascular Plants of IowaAn Annotated Checklist and Natural History, Lawrence J. Eilers and Dean Roosa
  • The Vascular Plants of South Dakota, Theodore Van Bruggen
  • Wildflowers and Weeds, Courtetnay and Zimmerman
  • Wildflowers for Nebraska Landscapes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Agric. Res. Div. Institute of Agric. And Natural Resources
  • Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie, The Upper Midwest, Sylvan Runkel and Dean Roosa
  • Wildflowers, Grass & Other Plants of the Northern Plains and Black Hills, Theodore Van Bruggen
  • Weeds of the North Central States, North Central Regional Research Publication #281, Bulletin 772 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Romance of the Prairie: Fact and Fiction

  • Collecting Iowa’s Prairie History – transcripts of interviews conducted by Jean Eells
  • My Antonia, Willa Cather
  • Pioneers! A Classic novel of the American Prairie, Willa Cather
  • Prairie Memories, Izanna
  • Prairie Poetry, Patricia Kay Armstrong, Ed.
  • Prairiescapes, Photographs by Larry Kanfer
  • PrairieErth, William Least Heat-Moon
  • A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold