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FutureStarrGeum Triflorum Prairie Smoke
Geum triflorum is a Eurasian herb that is used topically to treat bruises, swelling, and pain associated with bruises. The unique constituent lupane is thought to inhibit the release of histamine, which is a mediator of inflammation.Prairie smoke is among the earliest bloomers on the prairie. It blooms in late spring through early summer, bearing clusters of nodding reddish-pink, maroon or purple flowers on 12-18” stems. There may be up to 9 flowers on each stem but flowers generally occur in threes (hence the species name). The sepals of these globular flowers are fused, so they cannot open completely. There are 5 elongate, pointed sepal lobes on each ½ to ¾” flower. Bees have to force their way in to pollinate the flowers.
Prairie smoke is not a particularly bright and showy garden ornamental, but the nodding, bud-like flowers and fluffy seedheads add interest in an informal garden. Since it is a relatively small plant, use it as an edging, place it in the front of flower beds, in sunny rock gardens, or other locations where it will not be hidden by other plants. It can be a good companion plant for spring flowering bulbs, filling in the areas when the bulbs die back.This plant is a good addition to meadows and prairies, although it may get lost among taller plants later in the season. It grows well in combination with other native plants that prefer dry summer conditions, including wild flax (Linum spp.), prairie or grayheaded coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), blazing star (Liatris spicata and other species), sheep fescue (Festuca ovina), blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis), little blue stem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha).
In natural settings it often grows with upland white and silky aster (Aster ptarmicoides and A. sericeus, respectively), shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia), downy gentian (Gentiana puberulenta), Richardson’s alumroot (Heuchera richardsonii), tall blazing star (Liatris aspera), grooved flax (Linum sulcatum), purple prairie clover (Petalostemum purpureum), downy phlox (Phlox pilosa), rigid aster (Oligoneuron (=Solidago) rigida), and and various native grasses including Dichanthelium (=Panicum) oligosanthes scribnerianum and prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis).Prairie smoke is tolerant of many soil types, growing equally well in sandy, loamy, and clay soils, although it prefers a well-drained site, in full sun. Flowering is reduced in shade. It likes a soil rich in organic matter, but also does well in the leaner soil of the rock garden, where it tends to be smaller in stature. Although it does not need a lot of water, it is not completely drought tolerant either. It needs moist conditions in spring, tolerates drier conditions in summer, and does not like to be wet in winter. A southern or western exposure is best. (Source: hort.extension.wisc.edu)