Not the breathtaking scarlet, orange and yellow prairie flowers I was expecting, a rather more pallid view, but spring was slow in coming to North Dakota this year and the wildflowers were a few weeks behind schedule. A hint of color is just beginning to show on a few of the bracts in this pic and the leaves are shaped something like birds’ feet.
Indian Paintbrush is sort of interesting in that it’s partially parisitic – it derives some of its nutrients from other plants. Common hosts are little bluestem, blue-eyed grass and prairie smoke. There are at least 200 different species that are near impossible to separate from one another.
(End of geeky plant interlude)