Natural Kansas

Prairie Ragwort (Packera plattensis)

Photo: Matthew Richter

Did You Know?

Baptisia australis individual flower. Credit: Michael Haddock

Kansas has more than 2,200 native plant species, from wildflowers, grasses, trees, shrubs, and vines, to ferns, mosses, liverworts, and more.

Want to know more about four main groups of native plants in Kansas? 

I dream of [quiet ones] who explain nothing and defend nothing, but only know where the rarest wildflowers are blooming, and who go, and find that [they are] smiling . . .

Sabbaths 1999 II” ― Wendell Berry

2,200 + Native Plant Species+

Wild blue indigo (Baptisia australis)

Vascular Flowering Plants

Over 2000 of the plants found in Kansas are vascular flowering plants. Vascular plants have true leaves, stems, and roots. They have a xylem layer that transports water and nutrients. Flowering plants reproduce by enclosed seeds – an egg is enclosed in the pistil and is fertilized by the pollen. These plants are pollinated by insects, wind, and are self-pollinated.

Eastern Red Cedar Photo credit: Project BudBurst

Conifers

We have one conifer in Kansas, the eastern red cedar. Conifers are vascular and reproduce by naked seeds. The egg is pollinated directly when the pollen comes in contact with the egg. Conifers are wind pollinated.

Scouring Rush. Photo Credit: Michael Haddock

Ferns and Fern Allies

We have 40+ ferns and fern allies in Kansas. These are vascular but non-flowering. They reproduce by spores. The spores develop into egg and sperm producing structures. The sperm fertilizes the egg and produces a new plant.

 

Apple moss. Bartramia pomiformis

Bryophytes

We have 200+ bryophytes in Kansas. Bryophytes are non-vascular and non-flowering. Bryophytes have no true roots or true leaves. They include the mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. Like ferns they reproduce by spores.