Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 4 comments

As we begin colonizing 2018, I’m reminded of the appealing little plants that had colonized flat, open areas in several places along Alberta’s Icefields Parkway when we drove north along it on September 4th of what we now get to call last year.

Not knowing what these feathery plants were, I appealed to the Alberta Native Plant Council, and the answer came back that they are a species of Dryas, probably D. drummondii or D. octopetala. I learned that Dryas is in the rose family, and its seed heads are similar to those of its family mate Fallugia paradoxa, known as Apache plume.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 5, 2018 at 4:55 AM

4 Responses

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  1. You know what I thought when I saw this. I thought I was looking at some Texas Clematis drummondii that had decided to abandon its climbing ways and clamber across the ground. It’s amazing how similar the two plants seem. I read that Dryas was a Greek nymph, but I wonder how the drummondii got attached. Perhaps Drummond did get up into the northwest, or perhaps someone else noticed the resemblance with “his” clematis.


    January 5, 2018 at 7:45 AM

    • Your reaction to these plants is the same as mine was 3+ years ago when I first saw Apache plume. Only because the fluffy plants in Canada didn’t behave like vines did I keep from jumping to a false Clematis conclusion—that and the fact that I’d already gone through the Apache plume experience.

      I was with you in not understanding how Drummond’s name got applied to a species of Dryas. Then I read the article at


      and noticed this: “[Drummond]… sailed from Liverpool on 16 February 1825 and reached New York on the 15th of the following month. The expedition moved westward by the river Hudson and lakes Ontario and Winnipeg to the Mackenzie river. Drummond quit the main party at Cumberland House to explore the Rocky Mountains.” Perhaps he found and reported the species then.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 5, 2018 at 9:10 AM

  2. I was surprised when I read they are the same family as roses … but then so are pears 🙂


    January 10, 2018 at 5:28 PM

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