Thimbleweed, Anemone Cylindrica

It’s time we go from feathers to green. Spring migration is complete. The spring and summer residents from the tropics are busy. Earlier there were courting songs to be sung. Then there were nests to make. Eggs have been laid. Many young birds are now keeping their parent birds busy feeding during every daylight hour. To say it another way: the show is over.

My response to this, aah, so soon? Phenology, or the regular occurence of seasonal events cannot be ignored. While there will be an entire summer of bird enjoyment, bird delights are now in taper mode. Watch and listen, there will be a gradual, and noticeable decline in bird song. August is especially quiet.

Flowers don’t sing, they pantomime. Without sound, they grow and bloom. To enjoy them one must search them out if they are native. Or, grow them yourself.

The march of blossoms has begun. It started at least 6 weeks ago when the first flower of spring, the Pasque flower revealed its beautiful lavender petals or sepals. While the bird exhilaration continued my mind stayed with feathers. Prairie Smoke bloomed, and Hoary Puccoon, and there are a few more my mind has not recalled. The shift to blossoms in my brain happened today. Sorry, I am a late bloomer.

DSC_0050_102sigMeet Anemone cylindrica or Thimbleweed. Creamy white sepals accented with golden pollen coated stamens make a striking l flower. Framed in a late spring prairie green, adds to the gorgeous factor. Thimbleweed flowers have 5 sepals. Always 5. While these 5 look like petals, they are sepals. Sepals are usually green. Not with the thimbleweed.

Once pollinated, the thimbleweed flower cone will elongate to 1 ½ inches in most flowers. The “thimble” containing next year’s seed will remain through the long winter becoming more fluffy as winter months pass. It begins to look like a tiny ball of cotton on a stick. It’s nickname “cottonweed” is a fit. 26,000 seeds fit in one ounce! Bees and flies may pollinate thimbleweed, or it can be self-pollinating.DSC_0049_101sig

Every living thing has at least one miraculous attribute. Modern medicine has developed numerous effective antiseptics. Before them, there was thimbleweed. Thimbleweed roots were used by native people who lived on the prairies where thimbleweed grew. They had learned its value. Thimbleweed roots contain anemonin. They used it to treat burns, eyewash and made a tea to treat dizziness and headache.

Even though thimbleweed is found in most states east of the rocky-mountains it is a rare plant. Rare because prairies are rare, but easy to add to your garden or flower bed. While there are  many who like oversize size blossoms, the delicate bloom of this native is worth adding to your life! Its unassuming beauty soothes the soul. It blooms just when birding becomes less interesting. DSC_0048_100sig

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