Saturday, April 11, 2015

Prairie Crocus Flowers Near Regina, Saskatchewan

Early spring Prairie wildflower - Prairie Crocus © SB

My first photos of the year of Prairie Crocus flowers — and the season for these wildflowers is so very short, perhaps these will be my last.

Such delicate blooms, on such hardy little plants.

Delicate, but capable of surviving our winters and pushing their way up through straw and snow to spiders and sunshine.

Delicate, but the plants themselves are easily killed if the native prairie where they grow is disturbed.

Delicate, yes, but be careful around Prairie Crocuses... These early spring flowers attract early spring insects...

This lovely Prairie Crocus provides a meal to a little bug. ©SB
No, I don't know what this tiny bug is, nor am I going to guess... ©SB 

Prairie Wildflower: Prairie Crocus
Location:  Wascana Trails, Near Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: April 10, 2015. 


Friday, April 10, 2015

Prairie Crocus in Flower at Wascana Trails

Prairie Crocus buds are thrusting through dried grass and mud along south-facing slopes of the Qu'Appelle Valley.

Today, I found a few at Wascana Trails, near Regina, SK.

My first trip earlier in the week yielded no purple flower sightings, but my guess is that lots more will appear over the next few days.

When I started walking down the trail, I saw only brown grasses. But then I noticed one mauve flower... And all around me, I started to see clusters of furry buds.

Walk carefully, if you're out looking for Prairie Crocuses.

The delicate stalks are easy to snap off with your feet!

New Prairie Crocus bud, almost ready to flower  © SB
Prairie Crocus shoots - tough to see at your feet!  ©SB
Prairie Crocus - starting to open  ©SB

Prairie Wildflower: Prairie Crocus
Location:  Wascana Trails, Near Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: April 10, 2015. 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pink Prairie Rose Sipping Morning Dew

Summer morning. A Prairie Rose bud, petals furling in soft early light, sips pink and blue waterdrops, opens lips to the sun.

Early morning rose bud in the dew © SB
Prairie Wildflower: Prairie Rose
Location:  Near Muenster, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: July 14, 2014. 


Monday, September 15, 2014

Prairie Sage and Pasture Sage on Prairies (and Pastures)

Prairie Sage (left, right, and lower middle stalks)
and Pasture Sage (middle) © SB
Not all Sage on the Prairie is Prairie Sage, nor all Sage in pastures, Pasture Sage.

Though some might be...

In addition to these, there is also Sagebrush...

And some sources call Prairie and Pasture Sages, Sageworts, instead.

But I am not at all confused. (Or, perhaps only slightly...)

First up, Prairie Sage. (Or Prairie Sagewort.)

This wooly-leaved aromatic plant has minute yellow-grey flowers, which dry to a prettier (to me) shade of rusty brown.

Prairie Sage is fairly low-growing, with branching stems and wide leaves — and may grow with Pasture Sage, as at right.

(The Pasture Sage is a bit tricky to see in this image... Its yellow flower stalk is against the middle Prairie Sage stalk. To identify either, better to refer to the other pictures, below.)

Prairie Sage flowers, slightly past their prime  © SB
Stalk of Prairie Sage © SB

Next, Pasture Sage. (Or Pasture Sagewort.) Also aromatic and sage-scented, Pasture Sage sports stalks of numerous (very small) yellow flowers that rise above its hairy, thread-like, ground-level leaves. (These fragile stalks remind me of delicate strands of bells, and they are rarely still, drifting in even the slightest breeze.)

Pasture Sage flowers. © SB
Stalks of Pasture Sage flowers © SB
Pasture Sage plant. © SB

Both Prairie Sage and Pasture Sage are said to be traditional remedies for relieving complaints such as stomach ache and heartburn... But don't take my word for it: Best to do your own research (and research well!) before consuming any wildflower or plant!  

Prairie Wildflowers: Prairie Sage (Artemisia ludoviciana) and Pasture Sage (Artemisia frigida)
Location:  Near Regina, and in Grasslands National Park,Saskatchewan, Canada, 
Photo Dates: August 21, 22, and 30, 2014. 


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Common Tall Sunflower: Yellow Beauty

Along the edges of a creek, a few Sunflowers. From the leaves, stem and height, Common Tall Sunflowers, a plant Royer/Dickinson say grows in moist meadows and along the edge of sloughs. So water... Yes, there was that. A lot of that, in fact, complete with diving terns and ducks.

Flower of Common Tall Sunflower, with disc florets  © SB

There are so many Sunflowers, and from a close-up flower shot, it's tough to tell — at least for me! — one from another... That's why the local wildflower experts take many detailed images to show a wide range of plant and flower features. The newly re-hosted Saskatchewan Wildflowers website is a superb example and reference site. 

As for me, my interest is/was primarily in photography, though my interest in the beauty of the flowers themselves is quickly catching up. (Ditto, for the birds on my Prairie Nature blog.) 

I start in one place, and end in another — far from where I thought I was going...

Prairie Wildflower: Common Tall Sunflower
Location:  Near Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Dates: August 20, 2014. 


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Smooth Camas: White and Green Saskatchewan Wildflowers

Smooth Camas with fly.  © SB
A stand of Smooth Camas blooms in a wet hollow by the side of the road, stems of white, green and yellow flowers swaying gently in the wind.

Another first for me — I've never seen this prairie and parkland wildflower before, and was lucky to see so many at once. (The flowers usually appear in June, so I'm glad these native plants were still showing off their display in mid-July.)

These lily-shaped flowers grow on stalks a foot or two tall — typically in moist areas, though in some dry meadows, too — and, from my (limited) observation, seem to be highly attractive to insects of all kinds!  

One of my guides (Royer/Dickinson) calls this plant, with its graceful, arching stalks of flowers, White Camas, and its formal name is Zigadenus elegans. This guide says this Camas is slightly poisonous to humans and livestock, while the related dry-hillside Death Camas or Zigadenus venenosus — no surprise with a name like that! — is very poisonous.

Close-up of single Smooth Camas flower.  © SB

Smooth Camas with mosquito  © SB 

Prairie Wildflower: Smooth Camas
Location: Near Muenster, Saskatchewan,  Canada.  
Photo Date: July 13 and 14, 2014.  


Friday, August 29, 2014

Harebells in the Dew: Back to Blue

After so many bright Saskatchewan wildflowers, here's one of my favourites: Delicate blue-purple Harebells. These bell-shaped flowers come in a range of shade — to me, the colour varies a lot depending on the light. As all colour does...

In the shade, Harebells look far more intensely vibrantly blue than they appear in bright sunshine.A lovely contrast with all the yellows of summer!

Harebell, in dappled light, with early morning dew  © SB

Early morning Harebells.  © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Harebells (Campanula rotundifolia)
Location: Near Muenster, Saskatchewan,  Canada.  
Photo Date: July 14, 2014.  


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Narrow-leaved Sunflowers

This week, near Regina, Saskatchewan, I saw a patch of Narrow-leaved Sunflowers in a sheltered hollow. I didn't realize at first that's what they were — but the pictures tell the story, displaying this species' typically narrow and slightly folded greyish-green leaves

Narrow-leaved Sunflowers  © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Narrow-leaved Sunflower (Helianthus maximilianii
Location:  Condie Nature Refuge, Near Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Dates: August 22, 2014. 


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Green Bog Orchids: tough to see, but truly orchids!

Green Bog Orchid  © SB
Some flowers cry out for a close-up view, and none I've seen have cried louder than Saskatchewan's native Green Bog Orchid.

Unlike some prairie orchids, which appear glamourous and bright (at least in photographs), the Green Bog Orchid looks subdued and shy, and its green flowers don't look at all exciting — or like actual flowers —  until you get really, really close and realize, Yes! It's an Orchid! 

I had help with that. Someone else found a few orchid plants in a wet area, and kindly pointed them out to me. Even then, I wasn't sure what I was looking at until I got down on my hands and knees to peer at the green stalk, and saw that it really was covered in orchid flowers.

The four or five Green Bog Orchid plants that I saw earlier this summer were at most about one foot tall, and the individual flowers, only millimetres wide. No perfume, no colour but green (with a slight yellow tinge on the lip). And to me, highly exotic in their inconspicuous restraint.
Close-up of Green Bog Orchid flower.  © SB

It was difficult to photograph an entire Green Bog Orchid plant because of other vegetation in the area, with which these orchids blended wonderfully well... Below, the best of the lot — an enhanced image, with the background dulled and the brightness of the orchid stalk and lower leaves slightly increased.

For more on these orchids, see Saskatchewan Wildflowers, or Manitoba's Native Orchid Conservation.

Green Bog Orchid - full plant.  © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Green Bog Orchid (Platanthera aquilonis, formerly Platanthera hyperborea)
Location: Near Muenster, Saskatchewan, Canada.  
Photo Date: July 13, 2014.  


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wild Purple Flowers: Smooth Asters

I find identifying composite flowers difficult, but from my guides, Smooth Asters are the most likely Asters in my area, so that's what I'm guessing these lovely blue-purple prairie wildflowers must be.

Smooth Asters, with blueish-purple ray florets (no, those aren't really petals)
and yellow disk florets (the centre part).  © SB  

Close-up of Smooth Aster's centre disk florets    © SB  

By any name, these Asters are beautiful, and they are great late wildflowers with which to enjoy nature photography. I've found them blooming from July through September around the Condie Nature Refuge, north of Regina, Saskatchewan.

Prairie Wildflower: Smooth Asters
Location: Near Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Date: August 22, 2014.

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