Date of this Version
This is a master list of the common range plants in Nebraska. It is divided into two sections, "Important Nebraska Range Plants" and "Common Range Plants of Secondary Importance."
The first section, "Important Nebraska Range Plants", includes those plants upon which management of Nebraska grasslands should be based. Some of these plants are palatable and productive, others are unpalatable and unproductive. However, from the presence, absence, or abundance of all plants in this group in a particular range it is possible to evaluate past use, determine range condition, and measure effectiveness of grazing and management programs.
The second section, "Common Range Plants of Secondary Importance", includes plants frequently seen in Nebraska grasslands but which are less important indicators of management and producers of forage.
Because the practical management of a ranch requires a knowledge of only the first group of plants, educational programs in range management should emphasize recognition and evaluation of this group.
Some range plant species respond differently to grazing on different range sites or in different precipitation zones. For example, little bluestem is a decreaser in the 15 to 19-inch precipitation zone but an increaser in the 20 to 24-inch precipitation zone. Prairie sandreed increases under heavy grazing on most range sites but decreases on thin loess and shallow range sites. Western wheatgrass is an increaser except on sand and clay sites in the 15 to 19-inch precipitation zone where it is a decreaser.