Wildflower season has officially returned to our area. I was out at my family’s prairie last weekend and found pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta), buffalo pea (Astragalus crassicarpus), and sun sedge (Carex heliophila) in bloom. Here in my yard, both the pussytoes and Carolina anemone (Anemone carolinianum) are blooming, along with the little blue-flowered weedy speedwell (Veronica persica) that always pops up around our garden and sidewalk edges. A few bees are moving around too, and there have been several kinds of flies visiting the pussytoes flowers. Here are a few photos of early spring flowers from this week.
Pussytoes have both male and female flowers. These are female flowers at the Helzer family prairie.
This fly is feeding on the pollen of a female pussytoes flower in our family prairie.
Although speedwell isn’t a native wildflower, I enjoy seeing it every year. It’s often the first flower I see each spring, and always makes me happy.
I don’t know what plant this will grow into, but it was germinating at our family prairie last weekend.
Carolina anemone can be hard to find in large prairies because the showy little flowers aren’t tall enough to be seen from afar. This one is in my prairie garden, making it really easy to find.
Just in the past week or ten days, I found fields filled with green milkweed beginning to flower. Strangely enough, monarchs have been sighted. Wonderful, how these things work.
We have pussytoes in Texas, but I’ve never seen it (that I know). I’m looking forward to finding it one day.
We have all these species in Illinois, although some are quite rare here. I think you would feel very at home on some Illinois prairies.
The plant you mention as Carex heliophila is not well distinguished from Carex pensylvanica by Chicago Area botanists. Although some good people have identified the Carex you mention.
Curious as to what part of the state your piece of prairie is located in.
Sure – our family prairie is south of Aurora, Nebraska. Just southwest of the small town of Stockham. We’re in the transition between tallgrass and mixed-grass prairie.
Thanks Chris. I’m writing a novel set in Nebraska (in and around Fremont) and wanted to be sure, if I referenced wildflowers, that I wasn’t referencing something only growing in the western part of the state.
Yeah, is easy to forget that flies such as that one are pollinators. May I ask which camera have you? Please don’t tell me iPhone.
Hi Robert. I use a Nikon 7100 body with a 105mm macro lens.
My local Samy’s Camera advertises that one frequently. Um, 105mm would be….a long focal length?
It’s considered a short telephoto lens.