a somewhat occasional blog

Prairie Plants 2 – A Sea of Pink – Prairie Smoke

A The prairie of Southern Alberta is amazing, especially when you come across areas of native grassland. 80% of Alberta’s native grasslands have been turned over to the plough. However I did managed to come across a number of areas along the Montana border between Milk River and the Saskatchewan border that were either in their original state or being managed back to what could have been their natural state before agriculture and grazing arrived with the settlers. In places I came across seas of pink rippling in the strong west wind.

The strong blue sky and green of the prairie – the vastness of the plains – holds wonderful palettes of colour. In places a sea of pink washes over the plains. Of course I thought that these flowers would be vibrant plants but on closer inspection they were delicate flowers of Old Man’s Whiskers. The pink colour so subtle and gentle I could hardly believe that they could create this pink wash against the sky and grass. In my book on prairie plants there was a wonderful description – like tired ballerinas at the end of a performance. Another name for what is technically called the Three-flowered Avens (Geum triflorum) is prairie smoke, which really does describe the impression of the wash of colour they create.

The First Nation people apparently used to harvest the plant to make a tea that was a cure for colds, fevers and flu.

The smoke of pink was certainly a refreshing sight in the vastness of the plains.

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