Partridge pea. Ironweed. Virginia Crownbeard. These rare plants plucked from fairyland actually exist—and even grow smack dab in the middle of Baton Rouge.
Those in the know call it the Cajun Prairie, a term coined by botanist Charles Allen to describe the native meadows housing insects and animal life crucial to the unique environs of our so-swampy state. Once found throughout the coastal plains of Louisiana, the meadows’ most recent iteration lives on in a special project putting down roots in a place willing to hang on tight: the backyard of LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum, whose master plan three years in the making came to fruition in 2020. And during the pandemic, visitors came with a new appreciation for the great outdoors.
This year, the Cajun Prairie will bloom with six to seven additional plant species. This spring, visitors can keep an eye out for plants like American basketflowers and lemon beebalm, members of a healthy coastal plain environment. Read on for more about the Cajun Prairie in this story from inRegister, and find visitor info at lsu.edu/hilltop.