Friday, November 2, 2012

Annual Wildflower Weekend Day One

As I introduced the subject of the Annual Wildflower Weekend in my home town of Winfield Kansas in a previous post, I would like to add a few more details of the occasion.
 Snyder Ranch - Dexter , Kansas
But first a few words about the society from their web page: The Kansas Native Plant Society (KNPS) encourages awareness and appreciation of the native plants of Kansas in their habitats and in our landscapes by promoting education, stewardship, and scientific knowledge. More information here. The society is made up of plant geeks! Why else do you think I joined? Upon joining this summer I also joined the KNPS Google Group which lists member and other naive plant happenings such as workdays, collecting seeds for renovating prairies or reclamation projects, workshops, prairie tours, and other fun stuff. It's great to socialize with people who have the same interests. Initially I mainly joined just to attend the prairie tours offered during the Wildflower Weekend. A month later I received a very professionally created agenda for the meeting and tours and Friday the 21st of September was the beginning of the tours.
The first tour was a overgrazed drought ridden cow pasture with the majority of the 'botanizing' done along the county graveled road and dry creek 'draw'. We initially meet at our local Southwestern University parking lot and had a convoy to a local members ranch house near the pasture.

The first plant the group identified was Oxalis violacea-Violet wood sorrel, violet oxalis.
Flowers:April-June, occasionally again in September.
Height: 4-8"
Description: Forbs, perennial. Flowering stalks 4-8 in. tall, arising from bulbs.
Comments: The leaflets fold and droop, and the flowers close at night or on very overcast days. Several Great Plains tribes fed their horses the crushed bulbs to enhance their speed. Pioneers were said to have made pies of wood sorrel leaves when gooseberries or rhubarb were not available. *
Hilariously we as a group had this diminutive plant surrounded viewing its splendor when an unaware bystander walked right on top of it. Bye.

From there we basically splintered off and wandered around like zombies, under the influence of this  Kansas prairie. This overgrazed area consisted mainly of Amphiachyris dracunculoides -Annual broomweed and Liatris punctata-Dotted gayfeather, button snakeroot , or blazing star.
Height: 6-30 inches.
Comments:This species was called 'crow foot' by some Native American tribes, because crows were often observed eating the roots in the fall. Dotted gayfeather produces a taproot that can reach a depth of 15 ft., making it quite drought resistant. Native Americans utilized the roots as a food source and to make a tea used to treat stomachaches. *

Next Eryngium leavenworthii-Leavenworth eryngo photographed with of leaf of Silphium laciniatum-Compass plant.

Flowers: July-September
Height: 1-3 ft.
Comments: At first glance this plant resembles a thistle, but is actually a member of the Parsley Family. This speicies is named for its discoverer, Melines Conklin Leavenworth (1796-1862), an explorer, army surgeon, and botanist.*

That concludes part one of day one. Part two will deal with the forbs in the dry creek bed in the 'draw' with some interesting Joe Pye.

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


  1. This is really a beautiful place as far as the eye can see. The individual flowers have their own beauty too.

    1. The first photo doesn't pertain to the follwing ones but the following ones.

  2. Thanks a bunch for the KNPS Google group tip. I live in Muskogee OK and we are KNPS members. Your gorgeous photos make me wish we had made it to that event!

  3. Greggo, how fun that must be to run around with plant geeks searching out Kansas natives. Makes me almost want to move to Kansas. :)

    Hey, I also wanted to let you know that Google Chrome is saying you have Planted At Home on your website. They've decided that it is a malicious website, and so they blocked me from reaching you. I went to Firefox and got through. Just wanted to let you know.

    Have a beautiful Saturday. The weather is sublime here. I bet yours is too.~~Dee

    1. Thanks for the heads up on the maliciousness going on. he he. Got frost on the pumpkin this morning, I'm sure my tropicals aren't too happy.

  4. What a beautiful place and a great group to be a part of. Thanks for the reminder that there are numerous groups available that share our passion for plants. I'll look forward to your part II.

  5. I love the openness of the prairie. It's what I miss most since moving to the crowded city.
    Thanks for the nice info and great photos.
    Native Plant Societies are great places to meet other like-minded folks. We even have one right here in the heart of Houston.

    1. I I'm sure Houston has a unique set of native plants, I'm sure yaupon holly is one?

  6. Some nice shots here. Love the look of the praire garden. Thank you for the tour!

  7. Looks like a fun field trip, rather prairie trip. I recognize a few of those plants because they also grow in my Texas garden.


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