Photo of the Week – April 6, 2017

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.

This entry was posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants and tagged , , , , , by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

9 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – April 6, 2017

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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.


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