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Poweshiek County
Site: 32
Lead Plant New England Aster Purple Cone Flower Rattlesnake Master Stiff Golden Rod

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 Location - This site, sometimes called "32nd Street Railroad ROW," is located south of the city of Grinnell, in section five of Washington Township. To reach the site, proceed south from Grinnell on Highway 146, crossing under Interstate 80 to F46/440th Avenue. Turn left (east) for a quarter mile, then turn left (north) on 32nd Street. The remnant is located on both sides of the road going north for about two miles.

The area around this remnant was surveyed by Deputy Surveyor, Samuel Whitmore in April 1847. He noted that the land was, "nearly destitute of timber it has a quantity with good soil and a large portion of it may be put into cultivation by obtaining timber from [off] of the adjoining lands. . ."

New England Aster, which grows here, is found in marshes and open woodlands, as well as prairies. Native Americans would smudge the burned plant onto a patient's skin in order to revive consciousness. It was also used to help relieve headaches. Below the flowers, the bracts and peduncles are covered with glands, which, when crushed, exude a perfume-like odor. The Scientific name for New England aster is Aster novae-angliae, a Latin form of its common name.

In late spring and early summer, the visitor will fine a colorful display of Leadplant, Purple coneflower, Rattlesnake master and Cup plant at this site, as well as a good variety of native sedges.

Bunch Flower
photo by C. Taliga

Photo by Carl Kurtz

Praire Fire "Prairie Fire," an 1857 lithograph by Henry Lewis, Collection of the State Historical Society of Iowa.