Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for July 18th, 2016

Why is it called prairie smoke?

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Okay, you say, I get the prairie, but why the smoke? Here’s why:

Prairie Smoke Plumes 7183

After the flowers of Geum triflorum get fertilized, they produce tufts of wispy strands that from a distance and with some imagination look like puffs of smoke. Another vernacular name, old man’s whiskers, comes very close to the old man’s beard I’m so familiar with in Austin. Despite the striking resemblance in the two flowers’ latter stages, these plants aren’t even in the same botanical family. Yet another plant that ends up like this is the Apache plume I saw in New Mexico two years ago.

Today’s picture, like yesterday’s, is from the Volo Bog State Natural Area in Lake County, Illinois, on June 7th.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 18, 2016 at 5:00 AM

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