Wildflowers of the Prairie

This is one of the best times of the year to see wildflowers on the prairie. Here are a few pics I took  from our trip to the Konza Prairie.

This pink fluffy flower is called Catclaw Sensitive Briar.

The flowers are about 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and after blooming, the plant makes little bean pods as it is a member of the bean family. It has little thorns that look like cat’s claws, and it’s called sensitive briar because if you touch the leaves, they fold together. It’s almost like they’re protesting. “Don’t touch me, I’m growing here”.  It’s pretty neat to watch.

This white flower is called Cobaea Penstemon.

The flowers are about 2 inches long and look like little cups. There are purple lines running down into the flower towards the pollen. Kinda like landing lights for the bees. The flowers remind me of garden snapdragons, but they aren’t related.

This orange one is called Butterfly Milkweed.

It’s called milkweed because of it’s milky white sap. It’s also called Pleurisy Root because Native Americans and early pioneers used the roots to treat respiratory problems. And of course the butterflies and bees love to visit the bright flowers.  The butterfly above is called a Giant Swallowtail, and below is a bumblebee.

The flower below is called Prairie Larkspur.

The name refers to the resemblance of the flower to the spur on a lark’s foot.  It’s a pretty little flower, but all parts of the plant including the flowers are toxic. If eaten in sufficient quantities by livestock in a pasture, it can cause impairment of the nervous system and even respiratory failure.

Below is Black-Sampson Echinacea.

The flowers are held proudly aloft on stems 1 – 2 feet high. The Native Americans used echinacea to treat sore throats, toothache, mumps, wounds, and burns. The taproot can grow 5 – 8 feet allowing the plant to endure long droughts.

One of my favorite wildflowers is the Showy Evening Primrose.

Each flower, 1-3 inches across, opens after sundown, and then closes again in the morning, so it only blooms for one night. While the flowers are bright white, its spent blooms are a pretty pink.

Luckily there are lots of buds to extend the blooming season. Its petals are so delicate, almost like tissue paper, and are easily tossed about in the breeze.

And finally, this one is called a Harlandus Photographus.  This one is my very very favorite.  It lays along the ground snapping pics and collecting ticks.

What is your favorite wildflower?

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——–> Tuesday: It’s Tadpole Tuesday! Miss Tadpole is now asking if she can wear fingernail polish to match her toenail polish.

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13 comments to Wildflowers of the Prairie

  • Tina

    The one that comes to mind first is the Bearpaw Poppy. It is an endangered species and only grows in the Mojave desert. I live in the desert southwest so our brief wildflower season is in the early, early spring if we have had a wet winter. Wet here is all relative though.

  • Evelyn

    I have 3 favorites; the Bluebonnet; the Indian Paintbrush; and the Indian Blanket. Since we had no winter or spring rains, there were no flowers in my part of West Texas this year; there were precious few in the Hill Country where they are usually plentiful each Spring.

    • Suzanne

      Sorry to hear you’ve not had rain. We have friends in southwest KS who are in the same boat. Too bad water can’t be transferred from the flooded Missouri river down to you guys. Hope you get rain soon.

  • Debbie

    LOL! That last “wildflower” was a laugh!

    Great pictures Suzanne! Thanks!

    My favorites are probably bluebonnets, which I saw in Texas one year when I went to see the wildflowers in April.
    (Evelyn: I am sad to read they were few in the Hill country this spring!)

    I also love the orange butterfly milkweed! I have one of the natives planted in my butterfly garden, and have been enjoying its intense orange blooms this month!

    I know there are others, but can’t think of them right now!

  • Lynda M O

    Suzanne, thanks for the names of all those lovely blooms. My personal favorite is the bright orange California Poppy which blooms wild on the median of our nearest roadway and in lots and lots of yards and fields, too.

  • Oh, your last photo made me smile. And then the caption made me laugh!
    Love your photos – as usual, they’re gorgeous!
    I have evening primrose in a flowerbed. It was beautiful earlier, but now has stopped blooming. I can’t remember if it’s done for the season, or just taking a break!

  • Beautiful photos. I love all the daisy type flowers-the early white daisy then the black-eyed Susans and coneflowers. Also love the milkweeds!

  • You have so many wonderful wildflowers around you! There is a beautiful light blue wildflower growing on our property right up against the road. I was just saying today that I want to photograph it. I will have to look up the name…they grow about 3 feet tall.

  • just looked it up…it’s called musk mallow. it’s kinda light bluish, light lavenderish. I love them!!

    • Suzanne

      I just looked up an image of musk mallow. I think I have that growing in my flowerbed. One of my favorites and it has a long bloom period. Pretty!

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