Backyard beauties

A brief stroll up the hill in our backyard revealed an amazing variety of spring flowers. Many prairie wildflowers are diminutive and understated. The prairie golden banner is an exception – bright yellow blankets of these beauties are abundant this year.

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The bright blue shining penstemmon is our earliest blooming penstemmon.

IMG_0763Like many plants, this one has a couple of common names – the star lily or sand lily.

IMG_0767It is hard to positively ID an onion without digging up the bulb. But my guess is that this is a nodding onion. When the flower opens, it will be an umbel (think umbrella-shape) with 5 – 40 individual flowers.

IMG_0768Field chick weed has but five petals – each is deeply notched, making the flower appear more complex.

IMG_0774Nuttall’s violet, also called yellow prairie violet, has a delightful 5 inch tall flower.

IMG_0776Cous, also known as biscuitroot, has an umbel flower structure like the nodding onion.

IMG_0781Phlox species, surrounded by some woody winter deer scat.

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The shrubs are all in bloom too! This is sticky currant, a cousin of the yellow currant that grows along the river. The leaves are sticky to the touch.

IMG_0786Skunkbush sumac has tiny whitish yellow flowers and trifoliate leaves (a compound leaf composed of three leaflets). If you rub your finger on the bark, it emits a pleasantly pungent smell.

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