Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Broomweed: Tiny yellow flowers, spiky leaves

Close-up of minuscule Broomweed flowers   © SB
I've only seen Broomweed, a small, deep yellow prairie wildflower, once in Saskatchewan — which may say more about my powers of observation than its frequency here.

I recently came across a photo I took of that plant, at Grasslands National Park in 2011, and I'm glad I've since stumbled over (literally) and photographed Broomweed (with a macro lens) in southern Alberta.

Broomweed grows in grasslands and on eroded slopes, has long narrow leaves and stands 10 to 30 cm tall.

The plant on which the flowers here grew was about 20 cm from ground to top leaf — which may give some sense of scale for the flower clusters... (Very tiny.) Each floret, according to Royer/Dickinson in Plants of Alberta, is only about one mm across.

Also called Broom Snakeweed, this prairie plant is toxic, and apparently its bundled twigs — or entire dried plant — can, in fact, be used as a broom.

Prairie Wildflower: Broomweed (Broom Snakeweed, Gutierrezia sarothrae)   
Locations: Southern Alberta,  Canada.  
Photo Date: August 1, 2012.  


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