Book Review: The Prairie in Seed: Identifying Seed-Bearing Prairie Plants in the Upper Midwest 

By Dave Williams 

  • Publisher: ‎University od Iowa Press, 2010 
  • Paperback‏:‎ 140 pages 
  • ISBN-10: 1609384091 
  • Dimensions: 6” X 9” 
  • Price: $55.24 ( – note, this book is available on Kindle for $16.99); $17.00 ( 

This book is not available from, directly, but through a 3rd party vendor – hence the absolutely ridiculous price on But if you’re happy with the Kindle version, or you have an American address you can order from, then this book is worth considering. 

An excellent guide to identifying many native prairie plants in seed. A great addition to The Tallgrass Prairie Center Guide to Seed and Seedling Identification in the Upper Midwest (see my previous review of this excellent book by the same author at  

Clearly laid out in sections defined by the shape of the plant in seed (e.g.solitary seed heads, seeds in follicles, etc.) with clear outline sketches of the typical shape shown at the beginning of each section. 

Each plant is first identified in flower, with a clear photo, then in seed, also with a clear photo, and finally a description of the best seed harvesting technique is given for each plant. There is also a photo with a scale bar of the seed. 

At the back of the book are clear sketches of leaf arrangements, shapes and margins as definitions. There are also 3 extremely useful tables at the back of the book that elaborate on the information for each plant (with both the scientific and common names given): Table 1 is Initial Flowering and Ripening Times indicating early, mid or late part of each month that you can expect flowers, then ripe seeds; Table 2 indicates Initial Ripening Time and Duration after Ripening; and Table 3 describes the Average Number of Seeds per Stalk. 

The book is so well done that my only complaint is that there are only 73 species identified. I sincerely hope the author is working on volume 2 to cover another 80 species or so. And although the book covers plants of the US Midwest, many of the plants are also found here in the southern Great Lakes region.