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Sperry Herbarium
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image with links to guidesThis web guide to some of the plants of Southeast Kansas was developed by the late Dr. Stephen L. Timme to provide plant enthusiasts, students, or anyone interested in the plants of the region a set of color photos to be used as a source of identification or simply enjoyment. 

Other available field guides for Kansas (Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas– M. J. Haddock and Roadside Wildflowers of the Southern Great Plains – C. C. Freeman and E. K. Schofield) have neglected many of the species found in the Oak/Hickory forests in the Southeastern portion of the state. This too, in part, played a role in developing the web guide. 

The geographic area of this Guide includes Allen, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Crawford, Elk, Greenwood, Labette, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson, and Woodson counties. In many cases, the guide also applies to the border counties in southwest Missouri: Barton, Jasper, and Netwon.

The Guide includes wildflowers, woody plants (trees, shrubs, and woody vines), and grasses (grasses, sedges, and rushes). Click on the plant type to the left to access the guides.

Plant Names

The nomenclature (names) for the plants represented follow the United States Department of Agriculture Plant Checklist for Kansas (2004) located on the World Wide Web at http://plants.usda.gov. Common names also follow the checklist and various other sources. Generally, only a single common name is given for each species.  Keep in mind that many species have more than one common name. 

Flowering Seasons

Since many plants begin flowering at different times in different years, the seasons are represented by spring (generally March – May), summer (May-August), and fall (August-November). However, some species overlap these arbitrary times.  In some instances, a species may be found in two flowering periods. 


Ecoregions of Southeast Kansas 

The Ozark Plateau encompasses some 55 square miles of the extreme southeast corner of Kansas. The vegetation is typical of the Ozarkian vegetation of southwest Missouri, northern Arkansas, and northeast Oklahoma. The common trees include a number of oak and hickory species with sassafras and dogwood as understory species. The area also has surfacing sandstone and limestone. 

The Cherokee Lowlands makes up more than 1300 square miles of flat to gently sloping plains.  Rock outcrops of sandstone, limestone, and shale are found within this ecoregion.  Much of the region is a mixture of oak/hickory forest, tallgrass prairie, and farmland.

The Chautauqua Hills encompass some 775 square miles and includes shale and sandstone outcrops, some tallgrass prairie, and cross timbers savanna with various species of oak/hickory mixed with red cedar. 

The Osage Cuestas is largest ecosystem in southeast Kansas, covering more than 8900 square miles. It is a good example of transitional vegetation with prairie to the western portion of the ecoregion and oak/hickory to the east. The forest includes species of oak and hickory with Ohio Buckeye, American Bladdernut, and Pawpaw as characteristic understory species. 

physiographic map of Kansas

The Physiographic Regions of Kansas (courtesy of the Kansas Geological Survey, modified here to show counties of southeast Kansas).


Stephen L Timme Memorial

All photographs are copyrighted and belong to the photographer (Dr. Stephen L. Timme).  Their educational use without attribution is not permitted. No commercial use is allowed.