A Gift

A Gift

When you buy prairie forbs or grasses, there is always the possibility of receiving extra plants from seed buried in the pot.  I’ve been given Winged Loosestrife, Mountain Mint, Monkey Flower, Indian Tobacco, Cup Plant, Blue Vervain, False Aster, Canada Rye, Western Sunflower, Riddell’s Goldenrod, and, best of all,  Krigia biflora. It is especially rewarding to be bestowed with something I had not been aware of before.  Alas, the wet prairie plants—Winged Loosestrife,  Monkey Flower, and Riddell’s Goldenrod did not survive a summer drought   (Cup Plant survived only too well).

Krigia biflora’s official “nickname” is False Dandelion, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to buy a plant that is called “dandelion”.  So I use its other, rather obscure, but much prettier, common name–Cynthia.

Cynthia’s golden blossoms resemble little suns fallen from the sky.  Its species name is  biflora, which means it has 2 flowers per stem, but it could even be quinta-flora.  It grows 8-24” tall from  shiny, reddish green  basal leaves and blooms from late May until mid-June.    In the wild it is found in prairies or open woods.








Here it grows happily in the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park in Chicago in full sun with Wild Blue Indigo in the background.




Closeup of the blossoms.



Combine Cynthia with Yellow Pimpernel (Taenidia integerrima), in bloom at the same time, in either a prairie or a savanna situation.





Yellow Pimpernel is an umbellate flower that belongs to the same family as Golden Alexanders, Heart-leaved Meadow Parsnip, Parsley, Dill, and Queen Anne’s Lace.  The first time I saw it at Horlock Hill, I thought it was a Golden Alexander, but Yellow Pimpernel is taller–2 1/2-3 1/2’, the blossom is larger and more spread out and a deeper gold.  Mine has seeded itself slowly into my savanna garden, but I would like to introduce them into the bed next to the driveway where most of my Cynthia is.



At this time of year, Yellow Pimpernel, punctuated by spikes of brilliant blue pea blossoms of Wild Blue Indigo, fills Horlock Hill Prairie in St. Charles,

(More on Blue Wild Indigo next post.)


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