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.
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”.
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.
Sure, Crowsfoot counts. There are several plants with that common name too. I’d never heard Centaurea called ragged robin, but it’s a good name!
Hawkweed, Robin’s Plantain, Goosefoot? Fun to look through the names – there are lots of animal names too.
Oh those are excellent! How did I forget hawkweed?? And goosefoot for sure. I don’t know robin’s plantain, but I’d like to!
Robin’s Plantain is Erigeron pulchellus – a lovely prairie fleabane that we have here (Wisconsin).
Half credit – it’s an animal, but not a bird. Still good.
RMNP retiree? Wanna reconnect? Chase Davies, Interp Ranger in 90s + (not my age) 🏞️
How about partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasiculata)?
Absolutely – great one!
How about partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)?
Owl clover (Orthocarpus luteus), gooseberry, hen-and-chickens, mouse-ear CHICKweed… & fourwing saltbrush has wings ;)
Ooh. Good ones. I don’t think I’m going to count the saltbrush though… :)
Crow poison, Nothoscordium
Very nice…Thank You. This and many more.
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 ” >
Great Blue Lobelia, Great Blue Heron, maybe a stretch.
Yeah… kind of a stretch, though I like where you’re headed.
Duckweeds, Canarygrass, fowl mannagrass,
Crow poison (Nothoscordum bivalve) was blooming here four days after the Great Freeze came to an end and we hit 50F. Amazing!
And no need for replacement parts from the plumbing store!
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.
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?
Duck-potato is a very good one. No fair making up names, but I like ‘bittern grass’!