The French word “prairie” means “meadow.” Prairie plants created the rich soil agriculture depends on. Native grasses, including Indian grass and big bluestem, dominate this habitat and are adapted to thrive in wind, heat, and drought. Prairie grass root systems grow as deep as 16 feet, drawing moisture from underground allowing grasses to flourish in Iowa’s hot, dry summer. These deep roots infiltrate water into the earth and build soil at the rate of one inch each 250 years. Watch as wind flows over the land, pushing grasses into racing waves across the meadow.
Various species of forbs grow on the Stimple Prairie at the Indian Creek Nature Center. Beautiful deep-rooted prairie flowers (forbs) scatter among the grasses. The progression of color begins in early spring with low growing beauties such as pasque flowers and prairie smoke, and ends in September with asters. Late bloomers grow tall to compete with the rising tide of grasses for sunlight.
The Indian Creek Nature Center has two main prairies – the Stimple Prairie and the Christiansen Prairie. Both are located off of Otis Road, west of the barn.