Friday, November 9, 2012

Annual Wildflower Weekend Day One (continued)

On September 21 of the this year the Kansas Native Plant Society held it's annual wildflower weekend, my previous post explains the agenda: Day One Part One.
This is the second part of the first Day and we 'botanized' the lower area of the first property in the draw which is a dry creek bed. Unknown to me there is a few native Joe Pye weed varieties such as Late Eupatorium (Eupatorium seratinum), which frequented this dry creek bed in mostly full shade as shown below.

Flowers: August-October.
Height: 1.5-6.5 ft.
Uses: Native Americans boiled the flowers and took the tea to treat typhoid fever. *
 We were in the height of Monarch movement as you can see.
While I was there, I found this unique plant shown below, couldn't ID it. Does anyone have an idea? Almost like a persicaria. Yep its dotted smartweed (Polygonum punctatum) also called Water smartweed.
Flowers: July-October
Height: 1-3 ft.
Uses: Native Americans treated stomach pains with a decoction of dotted smartweed leaves and flowers.
Comment: The common name refers to the tiny glandular dots on the perianth. *
That was about it in the draw. Lets move back to the top on the way back to the vehicle.
This is Kansas, so we have to have sunflowers. Willowleaf sunflower (Helianthus salicifolius).

Flowers: September-October
Height: 5-10'
Uses: Quail and prairie chickens consume the seeds.

Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria) below:
Flowers: June-September
Height:  2-4 ft.
Uses:  Native Americans made a hot beverage from plains coreopsis, and early settlers placed plants in their mattresses because they believed they repelled fleas and bedbugs.
Later that evening we were treated to a Bluegrass concert at the Southwestern College Auditorium. The Tallgrass Express String Band played original music written about the Tallgrass prairie. 

 Photo(above) and song lyrics (below) courtesy of their website
 Big Bluestem:  The King of the Prairie -  Anne B. Wilson 2010

In this tune, we sing praises to the economic, cultural and
biological significance of this signature Flint Hills species”the tallest of the
warm season grasses that compose the tallgrass prairie.   The title comes
from the Greenwood County Conservation District King of the
Prairie contest for the tallest Big Bluestem plant (a recent winner was
almost ten feet high!).

Lyrics:Oh the Big Bluestem grows on the prairie Great Plains
He can handle the heat and a month without rain
He blankets the pastures with tall purple stems
In the warm summer evenings they dance in the wind

In the warm days of April his first blades will show
And start drinking in sun to send carbon below
The roots take that energy to make the grass grow
In the cycle of life the Big Bluestem knows

Hes the King of the Prairie; hes the tallest of all
Hes green in the summer and red in the fall
He grows high on the ridge and in the meadows supreme
The cows and the calves love his kingdom of green

Hes the cattlemans favorite with his bushy green leaves
Those heifers and steers he surely can please
His roots go down twelve feet, his stems reach up nine
When they burn off the prairie, he grows back just fine

He has riches of rhizomes and ligules and blades
And he wears his crown low by the soil for shade
A turkey foot serves as his scepter so high
To carry his seeds for the next summertime     CHORUS

His roots are a far beneath the ground of the plain
They build up the soil and drink up the rain
Those roots grip the ground in the flood and the storm
And hold the grass up to the sunshine so warm      CHORUS

Fun time was had by all. Day two to come. 

*All plant data derived from 'Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas' by Michael J Haddock, current president elect of the Kansas Native Plant Society.


  1. One of the things we love about driving through Kansas is the wild sunflowers. So pretty!

    Sounds like you had a very nice day!

  2. It's been such a busy fall that we didn't have a chance to get down for the weekend, but I sure thought of you all out there botanizing! Looks like you found some great plants.

    1. Some of the members were so knowledgeable that I say a world of plants that I didn't know existed. Now only if I can visualize them in my landscape.

  3. Very very interesting. I had no idea that was used for typhoid fever!!! Informative and beautiful post!

    1. I didn't either. I wonder if it worked and I wonder if the white settlers infected the natives. I can't imagine eating roots and forbs. I guess that's what veggies are..ha.

  4. Beautiful celebration of our wonderful prairie landscape and the plants which grow there.

    Looks like a fun and interesting weekend.

    1. Yes it was fun. Maybe not as cosmopolitan as the Austin garden tours but still a blast..

  5. Monarchs are long gone from here. Have you ever seen the Harvey Dunn painting The Prairie is My Garden? I think you'd like it. It features the beautiful wildflowers that are ignorantly considered weeds. Many are similar to those in this post. :o)

  6. Funny you should say that. Day three of the tour we listened to the ranch manager explain to our group that they were just weeds to him.

  7. I like the connection of purpose with all these wildflower, other than being beautiful they have other uses.

  8. My favorites are the Sunflowers--I already miss them and can't wait to see them again next year. Your shots of the Monarchs are beautiful, too. This sounds like a great project to be involved in.

  9. Fit like Greggo, braw wild flooers o' the prairie, and plenty interesting information, hope you are keeping well.

  10. Great post ! So many shared plants in this prairie of oak savannah Texas.

  11. Greetings from Montreal, Canada. Your photos are exquisite.

  12. I think I would like he midwest. I do like the plains, you can see forever. That is one superb photo of the musicians. I hope my comment gets through, I was here before and it did not.

    1. It's diffidently a little different than New York I suppose.


Thanks for leaving any comments, they are always welcomed. Sorry I had to add word verification as spam was becoming a huge problem. Greggo,