Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wildflowering Part I

Late June into July is the best time for wild-flowering here in the Canadian prairies.  June 21st is about when one should start looking for Wood Lilies.

Wood Lily (Lilium philadelphicum)  This is the floral emblem of my province, Saskatchewan.  I love this colour of reddish-orange.

First Nations people used the bulbs of these lilies for food, raw or cooked, and as medicine.  The cooked bulbs were mashed and applied to sores, bruises and swellings.   

Scarlet Butterflyweed or Scarlet Beeblossom (Gaura coccinea)..  I swear the only reason I happened to notice this plant is because it was right beside the lily I was photographing.  The petals are white when they unfold from the bud, turning light pink and then scarlet within a few hours.

So far, I haven't found any medicinal uses for this plant. 

Northern Bedstraw (Galium boreale).  The European version of this plant was used to stuff mattresses and strew on floors as an aromatic.  

Medicinally, bedstraw has been used in hot poultices to stop bleeding and reduce swelling.  The juice has been effective in reducing the effect of sunburn and insect bites - useful for the hot, dry, mosquito-filled prairie summer.

Shrubby Evening-Primrose (Oenothera serrulata Nutt.).  This is another roadside wildflower that prefers a sandy, dry soil.  Like most prairie plants, they grow low, sometimes recumbent. 

 I do not know whether the seeds of this prairie species contain gamma-linolenic acid and other essential fatty acids of the Evening Primrose Oil extracted from Oenothera biennis.

Prairie Rose (Rosa arkansana) is the floral emblem for the neighbouring province of Alberta.  

The hips, or the seed-bearing fruit structure, are an excellent source of Vitamin C; they make an excellent tea and are a valuable winter emergency food.  There are so many things to say about wild rose hips, that I might have to do a dedicated post on the subject sometime.....or else I'll just link to Wikipedia.

All of these wildflowers were found in the same location along the side of the road, dry open prairie conditions. 

Information sources:
Manitoba Wayside Wildflowers, Linda Kershaw 


1 comment:

  1. Beauties! We're go lucky to have all this to enjoy!