The Indoor Prairie

Photo Essay

When we think of prairie flora, vast fields of grass sprinkled with clumps of brilliant colors of different prairie species come to mind. But each of these spots of blue and yellow and red offer their own individual spectacle, smaller but as intense as the whole. These individuals can be brought indoors, to tables and windowsills and, in a subtler way, offer the same thrills as they do in the outdoors. Completely sustainable they can provide a never-ending supply of in house pleasure.

Here are some examples. The species, all common to tallgrass prairies: Baptisia alba (white wild indigo); Lithospermum canescens (hoary puccoon); Anemone canadensis (meadow anemone); Allium stellatum, (prairie onion); Tradescantia ohiensis (common spiderwort); Zizia aurea (golden alexanders); and Liatris aspera (rough blazing star, dried, in late winter).

Wild White Indigo (*Baptisia alba*)

Wild White Indigo (Baptisia alba)

Hoary Puccoon (*Lithospermum canescens*)

Hoary Puccoon (Lithospermum canescens)

Meadow anemone (*Anemone canadensis*)

Meadow anemone (Anemone canadensis)

Prairie onion (*Allium stellatum*)

Prairie onion (Allium stellatum)

These individuals can be brought indoors, to tables and windowsills and, in a subtler way, offer the same thrills as they do in the outdoors.
Common spiderwort (*Tradescantia ohiensis*)

Common spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)

Each of these spots of yellow and blue and red offer their own individual spectacle, smaller but as intense as the whole.
Golden Alexanders (*Zizia aurea*)

Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea)

Dried rough blazing star (*Liatris aspera*)

Dried rough blazing star (Liatris aspera)

About the Author
Sandy Moffett, Emeritus Professor of Theatre at Grinnell College, joined the faculty in 1971 and continues to teach and direct plays on campus on occasion. Currently he spends most of his time restoring prairie, writing songs and stories, performing with The Too Many String Band, and catering to the whims of his grandchildren. His writing has appeared in The Wapsipinicon Almanac, Salt Water Sportsman, Rootstalk, and other publications.