Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dotted Blazingstar: Purple Prairie Wild Flower

At the top of Mount Carmel, Saskatchewan, there is a small unmown patch of native plants and grasses. And in this patch, spikes of deep rosy purple Dotted Blazingstars bloom.

Bright purple flowers on a dry hill. © SB

Close-up of a spike of Dotted Blazingstar © SB

Another close-up of Dotted Blazingstar florets,
this time from the Cypress Hills. 
© SB

Prairie Wildflower: Dotted Blazingstar   
Photo Location: Cypress Hills and Mount Carmel Shrine, Saskatchewan, Canada  
Photo Date: July 31, 2012, and July 24, 2013


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Philadelphia Fleabane after rain: Mount Carmel, SK

A purple prairie wildflower (purple or Philadelphia Fleabane, or Erigeron philadelphicus) reflects sunlight in water drops along the pilgrimage trail down the hill from Our Lady of Mount Carmel, near Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

Purple fleabane, after rain. Taken on a walk down from the shrine
at Mount Carmel, Saskatchewan.   © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Philadelphia Fleabane   
Photo Location: Mount Carmel Shrine, Saskatchewan, Canada  
Photo Date: July 24, 2013


Friday, July 12, 2013

Northern Bedstraw — with Mosquito

Another image from the Val Marie pasture in southern Saskatchewan: Northern Bedstraw in the rain, with one determined mosquito clinging to a tiny white blossom.

(But better that, than clinging to me!)

Although I wasn't able to smell any scent from these, Northern Bedstraw flowers  are said to be sweet... And yes, they are also said to have once been used to fill mattresses, hence the name... (during Prairie Passages tour) 

Prairie Wildflower: Northern Bedstraw
Photo Location: Val Marie Pasture, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Dates: June 25, 2013


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Scarlet Mallow in the Pasture in the Rain

Scarlet Mallow. Photograph  © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Scarlet Mallow in the rain.   © SB
Yes, it's true: Wildflowers are brighter in the rain.

And this first Scarlet Mallow plant, bearing raindrops in the Val Marie Pasture, in Southern Saskatchewan, glistened a brilliant orange.

The other Scarlet Mallow flowers here, photographed in later sunshine at Grasslands National Park, were also a delight — rich fruit popsicle reds, oranges and yellows among prairie lichens and grasses.

I'm glad I don't have to pick a favourite prairie wildflower!

From the recent Prairie Passages tour alone, I photographed more than 30 different kinds of flowers, from the Yellow Umbrellaplant and Wild Blue Flax to Scarlet Mallow.

More will be posted as I work through my files — a process that takes me far longer than it should, as I get so much pleasure from looking at all of these lovely flowers, all growing so freely in Saskatchewan's pastures and other public grasslands.

Scarlet Mallow. Photograph  © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Another field, another Scarlet Mallow © SB

Scarlet Mallow. Photograph  © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Closer view of Scarlet Mallow blossoms.  © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Scarlet Mallow 
Photo Location: Val Marie Pasture and Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Dates: June 25, 2013


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Indian Breadroot: Hairy blue prairie flowers

Indian Breadroot. Photograph  © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Close-up of Indian Breadroot © SB
Nestled in prairie grasses, the Indian Breadroot is a wild flower worth seeking out for its pale blue-purple petals and intensely furry sepals.

The root is edible — no surprise, given its name — and is said to be rich in starch and sugar (Jennings).

On the recent Prairie Passages Tour in SW Saskatchewan, we found Breadroot growing in several places in the Val Marie PFRA Pasture and in Grasslands National Park.

Its formal name is Psoralea esculenta, and it's related to the later blooming Silverleaf Psoralea, one of my favourite blue prairie wildflowers.

Indian Breadroot has lupine-like leaves and densely clustered flowers, and grows in the high, dry prairie grassland and slopes of the south-central and south-west part of Saskatchewan.

Indian Breadroot. Photograph  © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Furry cluster 
of Indian Breadroot flowers © SB
Indian Breadroot. Photograph  © Shelley Banks, all rights reserved.
Indian Breadroot in prairie grasses © SB

Prairie Wildflower: Indian Breadroot (Psoralea esculenta)
Photo Location: Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Dates: June 25, 2013


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Yellow Prickly Pear Cactus Flowers in Grasslands

On Saskatchewan grassland hillsides, along the edges of the prairie, the Prickly Pear Cactus is coming into bloom. Low growing, hidden in grasses, the fragile beauty of these silky yellow flowers are in sharp (yeah, I know) contrast to their long (*painful) spines.  

Prickly Pear Cactus, June 2013, Grasslands.   © SB

(*painful, I know... I got stabbed taking these pictures, and for several days, a piece of cactus spine remained embedded in my left thumb.) 

Seen on the Public Pastures-Public Interest 2013 Prairie Passages Tour. For more on the tour and updates on the work of PPPI and the future of the PFRA pastures, see Trevor Herriot's Grass Notes, and Pasture Posts.

Prairie Wildflower:  Prickly Pear Cactus 
Location: 70-Mile Butte, Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada
Photo Date: June 25, 2013. 


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