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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