New publication invites you to explore the plant life of Thunder Basin

A profusion of bright pink flowers growing in a short tuft in gra
Tufted milkvetch, a native perennial of the Fabaceae family, scientific name: Astragalus spatulatus

A new checklist of Thunder Basin plant life is for anyone who wants to learn more about the wide-open landscapes where the Great Plains meet the sagebrush steppe.

Free from University of Wyoming Extension, Common Herbaceous Plants of the Thunder Basin Grasslands is available at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

The comprehensive plant list classifies plants according to forbs (flowering plants), shrubs, sub-shrubs, grasses and grass-likes (sedges and rushes). Listed for each is whether it is native or exotic, perennial (long-lived), biennial (two years) or annual, plus its family and scientific name.

For example, soapweed yucca is a native perennial of the Agavaceae family, whose scientific name is Yucca glauca. Woolypod milkvetch is another native perennial, this of the Fabaceae family, scientific name: Astragalus purshii.

Squirrelgrass, sleepygrass, winterfat, pricklypear and fuzzytongue penstemon are among the 195 species included.

According to the authors, the Thunder Basin grasslands in northeastern Wyoming are an ecotone where northern mixed grass prairie, short grass prairie and the sagebrush steppe come together. Ranging in elevation from 3,600 to 5,200 feet, the area is home to a rich array of plants and animals.

The new fact sheet provides a starting point for becoming familiar with the plants of the region’s uplands.

Common Herbaceous Plants of the Thunder Basin Grasslands is the third in a series from University of Wyoming Extension in partnership with the Thunder Basin Research Initiative, area ranchers and energy companies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service and the Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association.

It is one of more than 600 how-to guides from UW Extension (see bit.ly/UWEpubs) that help extend skills in gardening, grazing, pruning, canning, cropping, habitat restoration and more. YouTube video series from UW Extension include From the Ground Up, Barnyards and Backyards and Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.

For more information on this publication, contact University of Wyoming Extension range specialist Derek Scasta at 307-766-2337 or jscasta@uwyo.edu.