First Native Flowers

This little beauty grows in a container on our deck, and sometimes arrives so early in the spring I almost miss it!  It amazes me to see its delicate light green foliage unfurl, covered with little cilia (“hairy” is just not the right adjective here),  followed by these incredibly pale light violet flowers with enormous yellow centers.  The plant tag says Anemone patens ssp. multifida, but the USDA plants database search takes me to Pulsatilla patens (L.) Mill. ssp. multifida (Pritz.) Zamels
cutleaf anemone
  – with a beautiful photo.

I got this plant from the New England Wildflower Society in April, 2008, and it has produced only a single bloom to date.  This year, I got four!  After it’s finished blooming, I will try to divide it and create some new flowers under the dwarf plum tree on my deck, since it blooms long before the leaves arrive on the tree.  It would be wonderful to have clusters of them growing next spring.

The common name refers to its tendency to bloom around Easter.  I looked it up this year and learned that one variant is the state flower of South Dakota, and it is sometimes called a prairie crocus.  Which brings me to a final point: although I call this a “native,” it is actually native to the midwestern US and doesn’t grow naturally in this area.  So while it buoys our spirits in the spring, it probably doesn’t support any insects in this region.

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