US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in THE PRAIRIE NATURALIST 36(1): March 2004 Published by the North Dakota Natural Science Society.


The 92 ha Cottonwood Lake Study Area is located in south-central North Dakota along the eastern edge of a glacial stagnation moraine known as the Missouri Coteau. The study area has been the focus of biological and hydrological research since the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service purchased the site in 1963. We studied the plant communities of the Cottonwood Lake Study Area from 1992 to 2001. During this time period, the vascular flora of the study area consisted of 220 species representing 52 families. Over half of the species were perennial forbs (117 species). Perennial grasses (26 species) and annual forbs (22 species) made up the next two largest physiognomic groupings. The flora, having a mean Coefficient of Conservatism of 4.6 and a Floristic Quality Index of 62, consisted of 187 native species. Thirty-three species were non-natives. Our annotated list should provide information useful to researchers, graduate students, and others as they design and implement future studies in wetlands and uplands both in and around the Cottonwood Lake Study Area.