What’s This Flower?

It’s been a while since we’ve done a plant identification quiz, so let’s see how you do.  Can you identify this common prairie flower?  It is found throughout the eastern half of the United States.  While it has a beautiful flower, this plant is rarely recognized for that trait.  Many ranchers in Nebraska would love to get rid of it because they think it reduces the amount of livestock forage in native pastures.  I’m skeptical that its impact is significant in most cases.  Regardless, it’s been mowed and sprayed for years but still persists, which is fortunate since its fruits/seeds are highly sought after by wildlife.


What do you think?  Put your answers in the comments section below (if you can’t see the comments section, click on the title of this post and then try again).  400 points to the first person to correctly identify it.

I’ll post the answer tomorrow, along with some more information on the species.



About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
This entry was posted in Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to What’s This Flower?

  1. Leanne Thompson says:


  2. Quinn Long says:

    How about Symphoricarpos occidentalis?

  3. Mark Sintek says:

    Swamp Milkweed

  4. Rebecca says:


  5. Ricky Linex says:

    Sericea lespedeza

  6. Paul says:

    I agree it’s Symphoricarpos. S. albus is native here in S.W. Pennsylvania,. They are attractive shrubs and are underutilized in gardens. They could take the place of many irrelevant non natives in landscaping.

  7. Nancy Brennan says:

    I agree with Symphoricarpos occidentalis, aka wolf berry.

  8. Angela Anderson says:

    Symphoricarpos occidentalis

  9. mike says:

    Round-headed Bush Clover

  10. looks like Asclepia syriaca – common milkweed?

  11. Pete Berthelsen says:

    Buck brush
    Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

  12. Andy says:

    The folks saying ‘asclepias’ need to take a closer look at some milkweed flowers…

  13. Harry says:

    I think this May be a milkweed? Beautiful photography!

  14. Susan Carpenter says:

    Autumn Olive. I’m looking forward to your next post.

  15. Pingback: The Answer to Yesterday’s Plant Quiz | The Prairie Ecologist


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.