Sunday, April 10, 2016

Prairie Crocus

Prairie Crocus - Anemone patens

The Prairie Crocus is one of the earliest spring flowers. The flowers are prominent on southern exposed slopes. When the snow melt is delayed, the flowers can spring up through thin layers of snow or they appear within days after the snow disappears.

The ants in the photo above are likely attracted to calorie-rich nectar produced by specialised glands (nectaries). Ants are not efficient cross-pollinators. A protective chemical (antibiotic) produced by ants can inactivate pollen. 

The silky white hairs that envelope the stems and the leaves are visible under the lowermost flower in the photo above.

Anemone is from the Greek "anemos," which means the wind. These flowers propagate well in windy habitat. The fruit of the flower (achenes) develop attached to a long feathery tail, that helps with wind dispersal.

Cotter GW & Flygare H. Wildflowers of the Canadian Rockies. Hurtig Publishers. Edmonton. 1986. 
Phillips HW. Northern Rocky Mountain Wildflowers. Falcon Publishing. USA. 2001.

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