Native Plant Information and Programs

Coneflower in bloom

The Tallgrass Prairie Center advocates for the use of native plants wherever feasible. We strive to provide reliable information on prairie reconstruction based on available research or our own direct experience. For prairie reconstruction questions, see the Resources page. Consult this page to find native seed and service providers, prairie and native plant organizations, introductory information on native plants, landowner incentive programs, and more.  

Plants that occurred naturally as part of an area’s original landscape are considered native to that state or region. Learn about the native plants of Iowa using these online resources.

compass plant at sunset


This plant database is designed to help you identify plant species native to Iowa and eligible for LRTF grant funds.

This online edition of An Illustrated Guide to Iowa Prairie Plants (University of Iowa Press, 1999) helps users identify Iowa's prairie plants and learn more about their distribution, structure, and natural history.

The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about the vascular and non-vascular plants of the U.S. and its territories. It includes distributional data, characteristics, images, crop information, onward web links, and more.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Texas has compiled information about nearly all commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in the United States. Head straight to the Iowa species at this link.

Use Audubon’s native plants database to find the best native plants for birds in your area. The database draws its plant data from the North American Plant Atlas of the Biota of North America Program (BONAP).

Based on the research of Dr. Doug Tallamy, this database lets you discover native plants, ranked by the number of butterfly and moth species that use them as host plants for their caterpillars.

This database from Missouri helps you pick the right plant for the right place. Of course not all Missouri plants are native to Iowa, but many are.

Curated by the Missouri Botanical Garden, this comprehensive list of plants native to our neighboring state can be searched by flower color and/or leaf characteristics. The fabulous photographs make this site — which includes many Iowa natives — worth a look.

Another neighboring state provides great information and images.

Join a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to promoting and protecting Iowa's rich prairie heritage.

Individuals on a walk in a prairie


Join the Friends to become a part of the TPC’s mission and activities. Get involved as a participant or volunteer in seminars, field trips, conferences, and other educational opportunities.

The Iowa Native Plant Society is a forum for plant enthusiasts, gardeners, and professional botanists to exchange ideas and information, and work together to encourage conservation and ethical use of Iowa's plants. Appreciate and enjoy Iowa's native flora and promote education about Iowa's plants, their habitats and cultural habits, and the preservation of these plants and their environment.

The Iowa Prairie Network is a grassroots, volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation of Iowa's prairie heritage.

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) is a nonprofit conservation organization that works with private landowners and public agencies to protect and restore Iowa’s land, water, and wildlife. To date, our members and staff have protected more than 170,000 acres of Iowa’s natural resources.

Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail, and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education, and land management policies and programs, including its Native Seed Program.

Loess Hills Wild Ones is the only Wild Ones chapter in Iowa. Located in the northern Loess Hills (Monona, Woodbury, and Plymouth counties), members are welcome from the wider region.                                                                                                 

The Nature Conservancy in Iowa works to preserve the state’s natural landscapes through the advancement of land and water conservation practices.



 2024 Iowa Seed and Service Providers

A successful prairie planting requires good seed, proper installation and timely management. Knowledgeable, experienced seed vendors and service providers help ensure the best outcome. We update this list annually, with partial funding from the Friends of the TPC.



Resources for Landowners and Practitioners

A number or incentive programs and resources are available to help Iowa landowners create and manage native landscapes.

Planting prairie Strip