Photo courtesy of Kirk Prairie 2008
Also known as Prairie Smoke or the Old Man's Whiskers, this herbaceous perennial is one of the first to show it's true colors in the spring. Blooming a bold red, this wildflower is a native to northern America. Residing mainly on prairie fields, Geum triflorum loves the sunshine, and is also known to be drought tolerant. A wildflower of the Rosaceae (rose) family, it flourishes in hardiness zones 3-9, and is quite the attraction for bees and butterflies. Growing anywhere from six inches to a foot and a half tall, the fern-like leaves make way for the plume-tipped fruits. Bowing like they just finished a spectacular show, these bulbs will eventually transform into feathery seed tails, in hopes of spreading their seeds. This feathery appearance has also been mistaken as a cloud of smoke.
Prairie Smokes was highlighted as a favorite native green roof plant by Brent Horvath, the owner of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens in Northern Illinois.