Grasslands generally exist in semiarid to subhumid regions with 300-1000 mm of annual precipitation. The Great Plains grasslands (region 10 of the North American biome map) extends from just east of the Rocky Mountains to the eastern deciduous forests. The west-to-east gradient of increasing precipitation is associated with increasing grassland productivity and increasing canopy height. (Kevin D. Kephart, Charles P. West, and David A. Wedin, 1995. Grassland Ecosystems and Their Improvement. Chapter 11. In: FORAGES: An Introduction to Grassland Management. Vol. 1. 5th ed., Iowa State University Press.)

Examples of semiarid shortgrass prairie (also called shortgrass steppe) species include blue gramma (Bouteloua gracilis [H.B.K.} Lag. ex Steud.), buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides [Nutt.] Engelm.), and eastern wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii [Rydb.] Love). These species grow from 15-30 cm.

Examples of tall-grass prairie species (found in the eastern region of the grasssland biome growing to 180 cm) include big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium [Michx.] Nash), switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), and indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans [L.] Nash).