Prairie smoke

Prairie smoke


Prairie smoke

Prairie Smoke, also known as Geum triflorum, is a plant that is native to North America, with a range that extends from southern Canada to the central United States. It is also known as Old Man's Whiskers and Three-Flowered Avens. Its most distinctive feature is its plumes of pink, feathery flowers. Plumose leaves and a fibrous stem make Prairie Smoke easily recognizable.It's a dense fog now slowly traveling across the prairie. Each day, it's been getting thicker and thicker. A few droplets now and then, but cold and lasting only a few minutes it's hardly anything. The sun is hidden by thick, denser and farther-reaching clouds. There has been no rain and yet, the ground is soaked wet, like the fields have been watered. Literally and figuratively.


Geum triflorum is a native North American perennial commonly called Prairie Smoke, for the appearance of the wispy seedheads. Other common names include Old Man’s Whiskers, Purple (or Red) Avens, Long-Plumed Avens, and Three-Flowered Avens. It is widely distributed across southern Canada and the central and northern U.S. in temperate and sub-arctic grasslands, and is hardy in zones 3-7. This prairie and open woodland wildflower in the rose family (Rosaceae) can be locally abundant on upland prairie sites. It is commonly found on shallow and gravelly sites as well as in silty and loamy soils. Unfortunately, it has become rather rare over much of its range, out-competed by naturalized invaders and eliminated by development. Native Americans used this plant for medicinal purposes.

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. (Source:hort.extension.wisc.edu)


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.

This species stands at least 4' to 5' tall when grown in the ground. Like many Perennials, it can be staked in wind.A Prairie Moon • May 6 Hi Coni. Yes, the root system of Prairie Smoke will not be extremely deep in the early years so moving it should not affect its health. Remember, moving plants is best done early spring or late fall when they are dormant. (Source:www.prairiemoon.com)



Related Articles