North American Prairie Conference


Date of this Version



Published in Prairie Pioneers: Ecology, History and Culture: Proceedings of the Eleventh North American Prairie Conference, August 7-11, 1988, Lincoln, Nebraska (Lincoln, NE 1989).


Seeds from 10 prairie plant species of burned and unburned portions of three tallgrass prairies were collected and tested for germinability. Germination of big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman) consistently averaged higher with burning. Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans L.) and sideoats grama [Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr.] averaged 5% higher with burning on two of the three sites, although for indiangrass average germination for all three sites was 7% lower. Species for which germination declined with burning were false sunflower [Heliopsis helianthoides (L.) Sweet var. scabra (Dun.) Fern.], -13%; whole leaf rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium Michx.), -10%; and white prairieclover (Dalea candida Michx. ex Willd.), -4%. For all species combined, burning also delayed peak germination and extended the length of time of germination.