Native pasture. Photo: Steve Clubine

Natives for Livestock Pastures

Grow native! Recommended native plants for livestock pastures:


Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)

Canada or Virginia wild rye (Elymus canadensis or Elymus virginicus)

Eastern gama grass (Tripsacum dactyloides)

Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans)

Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)


Forbs (broad-leaved plants: wildflowers, legumes)

Ashy sunflower (Helianthus mollis)

Compass plant (Silphium laciniatum)

Rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium)

Foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)

Wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium)

Gray-headed coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

Illinois bundleflower (Desmanthus illinoisensis)

Lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)

Leadplant (Amorpha canescens)

Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliana)

Pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida)

Partridge pea (Chaemacrista fasciculata)

Pasture rose (Rosa carolina)

Prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya)

Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea)

Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium)

Round-headed bush clover (Lespedeza capitata)

Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium)

Showy tick clover (Desmodium canadense)

Slender lespedeza (Lespedeza virginiana)

Tickseed coreopsis (Coreopsis tripteris)

Wild white indigo (Baptisia alba)

White prairie clover (Dalea candida)


Note: Milkweeds are not included in the list above. Livestock producers may be concerned with the toxicity of milkweeds, which can vary according to milkweed species. Some milkweeds may be more toxic to horses than to cattle. According to native forage expert Steve Clubine, cattle would have to eat a very large quantity of foliage from most milkweed species to experience any negative effects. Cattle likely eat milkweed only if there is little else for them to eat, which can occur at high stocking rates. Including milkweeds in pastures provide critically important food for monarch

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