Sunday, June 30, 2013

Clustered Broomrape in Grasslands National Park

Clustered Broomrape. To everything a name, and to some, names odder than others. I've no idea how this parasitic grasslands plant got its name, but I do know that Clustered Broomrape — aka Orobanche fasciculata — has no chlorophyl and feeds off the roots of other prairie plants.

Small pink stalks and flowers - no green leaves. © SB

It draws nourishment from the pasture sage, its primary host, in the background of the photo below.

Clustered Broomrape with its host,
Pasture Sage. 
© SB

The tube-shaped, creamy purplish CBR flowers were just beginning to open the day we found it. ("We" = a soon-to-be park interpreter, with far better eyesight and plant knowledge than me.)

The wild prairie landscape of Saskatchewan offers amazing gifts to those lucky enough to see it.
Seen on the Prairie Passages tour of PFRA and other publicly owned grasslands, with conservationists, authors, and photographers, including Margaret Atwood, Graeme Gibson, Alberto Yanosky (Executive Director of BirdLife affiliate Guyra Paraguay), and Ian Davidson (Exec. Dir., Nature Canada). Organized by Public Pastures - Public Interest. For more on the tour, see Pasture Posts and Trevor Herriot's Grass Notes.

Prairie Wildflower: Clustered Broomrape (
Orobanche fasciculata,)
Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Date: June 25, 2013. 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Prairie Buttercup: Glossy yellow grassland flowers

I was happy to find Prairie Buttercups on my May flower outing — that's when they bloom, but I missed them last year.

Prairie Buttercup flowers are a fresh yellow, about half an inch across, and grow one per hairy stem. Vance/Jowsey describes the petals' sheen as having "a smooth 'painted' look", and some really do look like a gloss of paint — or perhaps nail polish — has just been applied.

Prairie Buttercup flower. Photo © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Prairie Buttercup.   © SB

Usually, Prairie Buttercups have five petals, though that may vary and one I found had six. (Is that Saskatchewan's equivalent to the four-leaf clover? If so, will its photograph, below, bring me luck?)

Prairie Buttercup flower. Photo © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Prairie Buttercup, with lucky six petals. © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Praire Buttercups (
Ranunculus rhomboideus)  
Location: Condie Nature Refuge, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Date: May 22, 2013. 


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dandelion Flower: Up close and beautiful

The most common yellow flower at this time of year in Regina, Saskatchewan, is the Dandelion.

Personally, I think they are charming, both in bloom and feathery seed head... But lest anyone insult my lawn, let me clarify that the Dandelion here was photographed out of the city, at a nature reserve.

Weed or wild flower, Dandelions' bright colour brightens the landscape — and sometimes attracts interesting insects, like the little bug pictured here, and the American Dog Tick on my Prairie Nature blog.

Dandelion - a bright yellow wheel. © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Dandelion!  
Location: Condie Nature Refuge, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Date: May 19, 2012. 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Golden Bean, Buffalo Bean: Vibrant Wildflower

Vibrant yellow Golden Bean flowers now brighten roadsides, ditches and fields in rural areas outside Regina, Saskatchewan.

This flower is a member of the pea family, and has the typical pea-flower shape.

It's also called Buffalo Bean (Jennings) — but that doesn't mean that buffalo ate it. (It contains poisonous alkaloids.) Instead, it apparently means that when the Golden Bean bloomed, it was time to hunt the buffalo.

And it's bright. Really bright!

Golden Bean. Photo  © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Golden Bean.   © SB
Golden Bean. Photo  © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Golden Bean.   © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Golden Bean (sometimes called Buffalo Bean, aka Thermopsis rhombifolia)

Location: Condie Nature Refuge, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Photo Dates: May 22, 2013. 


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