Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

The Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois


Prairie Plant Terminology — Special Glossary for the poster Prairie Wildflowers, published by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 2004

  • achene — a one-seeded fruit that does not split open
  • alkaloid — a chemical compound found in plants that contain nitrogen, often used in medicines, drugs, or as a poison
  • allelopathic — the suppression of growth of one plant species due to the release of chemical substances by another species
  • calcareous fen — a wetland habitat where the water is alkaline
  • capsule — a dry fruit that opens along two or more slits to release the seeds
  • corm — a short, vertical, swollen underground stem of a plant that stores food over the winter and produces new foliage in the spring.
  • degraded prairie — a prairie that has been severely disturbed so that many non-native plants occur and only some plants of the original prairie remain
  • forb — a nongrass-like wildflower found in a prairie
  • glade — an opening in a forest with bedrock on or near the surface and with prairie plants
  • high quality prairie — a prairie that has had little disturbance and
  • inflorescence — a cluster or group of flowers
  • mesic prairie — a prairie where the soil is most for much of the growing season; the most typical kind of prairie found in Illinois prior to European settlement
  • pod — a follicle, a dry fruit that opens by one slit to release the seeds
  • prairie — a habitat where the plants are mostly grasses and forbs
  • rhizome — a horizontal stem that is underground, sometimes thickened and forming an overwintering structure
  • savanna — a habitat with widely spaced trees and a ground cover of grasses and forbs
  • transpiration — the evaporation of water vapor from leaves of plants



    Back to Prairie Plants 
    Back to The Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois 
    Return to Ken Robertson's homepage

    Illinois Natural History Survey

    1816 South Oak Street, MC 652
    Champaign, IL 61820

    Terms of use. Email the Web Administrator with questions or comments.

    © 2019 University of Illinois Board of Trustees. All rights reserved.
    For permissions information, contact the Illinois Natural History Survey.

    Staff Intranet