Saturday, March 24, 2012

Three Flowered Avens: Prairie Smoke

Spring, and a windy day in Grasslands National Park. The guide was showing teepee rings, but stopped beside this delicate pink prairie wildflower to point out Three Flowered Avens, aka Prairie Smoke.

Even blurred by wind, and obscured by a small camera with dying battery, the tri-structure is clear: One stalk branches into three; three flowers form. (I like the slight blur, too — it looks so much more like smoke!)

Prairie Smoke in the wind
(If these look vaguely familiar, perhaps that's because a crop from this picture of the three flowered avens, or prairie smoke, is featured in the banner for this site, and the intro post.)

Prairie Wildflower: Three-Flowered Avens - Prairie Smoke 
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Date: June 26, 2011. 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Pussy Willows - a Sign of Spring!

Pussy willows.© SB
Regina, Saskatchewan:  A pair of muskrats swam in Wascana Creek and a robin called from a nearby fir — but the true sign of spring?

The pussy willows we saw on the bank, their silvery cats paws bursting from dark red stalks.

These small trees were too far away to touch or pick, but their small fluffy florets — these pussy willows — made me smile.

And stop.

And remember picking pussy willows stalks as a child. (But only rarely, as I lived only a short time in willow land.)


Pussy willows along Wascana Creek.  © SB  

Prairie Wildflower:  Pussy Willows. (Salix discolor is the native plant)
Location: Along Wascana Creek, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Dates: March 18, 2012. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Yellow Sweet-Clover

Hills and roadsides in south-western Saskatchewan were carpeted with yellow sweet-clover last July. The lush growth, many said, was the result of heavy spring rains.

Sweet-clover is not a native prairie wildflower, but it has adapted well to ditches and other rough ground. And yes, this clover has a soft, sweet scent — no surprise that it's a source of nectar for honey.

Because of its abundance, I associate it with Grasslands National Park and the area around Val Marie. I wonder, Will it be so lush when I return?

Yellow Sweet-Clover above a valley near Val Marie © SB

Yellow Sweet-Clover (right) in Grasslands National Park
(there's also red clover, bottom left) 
© SB 

Close-up of Yellow Sweet-Clover flowers © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Yellow Sweet-Clover  
Location: Grasslands National Park and around Val Marie, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Dates: July 25, 26 and 30, 2011.  

Source: Vance, Jowsey


Friday, March 16, 2012

Scarlet Mallow at Grasslands National Park

Single Scarlet Mallow 
Scarlet Mallow has lovely orange-red flowers and slightly fuzzy gray green leaves. Six to eight inches high, this native prairie wildflower can grow as a mat of stems, leaves and flowers in disturbed ground — or, on the open prairie, Scarlet Mallow will grow as smaller, separated plants.

When we visited Grasslands National Park in July 2011, there were still many Scarlet Mallow in bloom, although with my pocket camera, I had to kneel to photograph them.

One of my favourites — I love that burst of colour! (There is also a Scarlet Mallow tucked among the images on the banner of this site.) 

Clump of Scarlet Mallow 

Another single Scarlet Mallow plant 

Prairie Wildflower: Scarlet Mallow (Malvastrum coccineum - Pursh)
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Dates: Top, July30, 2011; middle and lower, July 29, 2011. 
Source: Vance, Jowsey

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