Photos of the Week – February 26, 2021

This week, I played a little game with myself (typical) and tried to think of prairie wildflowers with the names of birds in them. Why? I don’t know – these things just happen.

I came up with three wildflowers that fit the bill, but only had photos of two. Cardinal flower and larkspur came immediately to mind and I have lots of photos of those species. Then I thought of crane’s-bill (Geranium sp), which I don’t think I have ever photographed. Surely there are more, right? I guess we could consider bird’s-foot violet and bird’s foot trefoil, but those feel like cheating since they don’t include the names of bird species. What am I forgetting?

Regardless, here are some photos of cardinal flower and larkspur for your enjoyment.

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/16 and 1/160 sec.
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/14 and 1/200 sec.
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, f/14 and 1/60 sec.
Prairie larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum) in the Nebraska Sandhills. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 250, f/11 and 1/200 sec.
Prairie larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum) at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/13 and 1/400 sec.
Prairie larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum) in the Nebraska Sandhills. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 250, f/9 and 1/125 sec.
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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.

27 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – February 26, 2021

  1. I don’t know if Centaurea cyanus, which is European but has naturalized across much of the USA, would count, but I grew up calling it “ragged robin”.

  2. While Crowsfoot (Eleusine Indica) is not commonly thought of as a wildflower and is not a native, it does bloom inconspicuously and certainly occurs all over the country.

  3. Very nice…Thank You. This and many more.

    MichaelVincent.Miller@gmail.com 402-210-1640

    On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 1:00 PM The Prairie Ecologist wrote:

    > Chris Helzer posted: ” This week, I played a little game with myself > (typical) and tried to think of prairie wildflowers with the names of birds > in them. Why? I don’t know – these things just happen. I came up with three > wildflowers that fit the bill, but only had photos ” >

  4. Crowfoot (several native and non-native buttercups or Ranunculus–named for Rana, frog), Wake Robin (Trillium). Bird’s eye primrose (partial credit?)
    I think cardinal flower is “partial credit”; I’ve read that the flower and the bird are named for the color of a cardinal’s robe.
    How about names of flowers that are derived from a Latin bird name: Columbine (Columba is dove). Columbines are in the genus Aquilegia, which some sources suggest is from aquila, the eagle, but others say it is from aqua, water. Geranium is from geranos, crane, so both the English and Latin names mean crane.

  5. If prairie wetlands count – Sagittaria latifolia also goes by “duck-potato.” I am surprised that only two plants mentioned so far are named for their role in feeding game birds (someone mentioned one of my favorite annuals – partridge pea).
    Maybe we can create some new common names – maybe a “lek flower” for a ground hugging early bloomer. “Cat-tail”? I don’t see too many cats in the emergent wetlands so maybe “bittern grass” would be more appropriate?

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