Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Over the course of several springs, I have seen my fellow Northfielder Rob Hardy mention his delight in and expeditions in search of pasqueflowers, but until around this time last year, I had never seen them. It's a native plant, Anemone patens, also sometimes known as prairie crocus, windflower, and prairie smoke. I'm charmed to learn that it is South Dakota's state flower. It's one of the earliest flowers to bloom in the spring, appearing in low clumps here and there in dry or sandy soils. It's native to much of the north central and northwest United States.
Dave and I saw these pretty specimens last Saturday at a prairie remnant located a few miles northeast of Northfield.
I'm always interested in names and their origins. Pasque is an old word for Easter or Passover (think paschal lamb), which is a natural association because of the plant's blooming time, but apparently this was an adaptation of the earlier name for the European version of this flower, originally called passeflower, from passefleur, simply meaning pass/surpass + flower in Old French. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pasqueflower).
You can read more about pasqueflowers in Minnesota on the Minnesota Wildflowers and Minnesota Seasons websites.