Niawathe Prairie

Royal Catchfly
Royal Catchfly

Points of Interest:

  • See a mix of dry-mesic sandstone/shale and hardpan prairie communities.
  • Enjoy the views from atop a prairie ridge with sandstone outcrops.

Natural Features Description:

This prairie is primarily underlain by sandstone bedrock at moderately deep to shallow depths. Flat prairie along the south end has a clay pan and is seasonally wet during wet winters and springs. There are over 200 native plant species here, including nine species of native milkweeds, royal catchfly, prairie hyacinth, pale purple coneflower, downy sunflower, stiff goldenrod and sky blue aster. Birds to look for include Henslow’s sparrow, scissor-tailed flycatcher, field sparrow, dickcissel and eastern meadowlark. Prairie mole crickets, restricted to prairie remnants, occur here. Niawathe is an Osage name for “life-giver.” The Osage culture utilized the prairies of southwest Missouri up to the early 19th century. They also helped to maintain the prairie through their use of fire.

Part of this natural area is owned by The Nature Conservancy, whose mission is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has protected over 145,000 acres of critical lands and waters in the state. The Nature Conservancy has been and continues to be a valuable conservation partner. For more information see or call 314-968-1105.

Access Information: 

This natural area is within Niawathe Prairie Conservation Area. From Lockwood, travel eight miles north on Highway 97, west one mile on Route E, north 0.5 mile on County Road 61 to the parking area on the left (west).

General Information
Designation Date: 
The Nature Conservancy
Missouri Department of Conservation – Southwest Regional Office
Contact Phone: 

Get more information from the MDC Atlas.

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