The tulip-shaped blooms (which can also be white, blue, or pink) and the soft, finely cut leaves are covered with silky hairs to protect the plant from harsh conditions. Feathered seed heads follow the flowers. This hardy, drought-tolerant prairie wildflower is the official flower of South Dakota and the province of Manitoba.
Common name: Pasque flower, Eastern pasque flower, prairie crocus
Botanical name: Anemone patens multifida; Pulsatilla patens
Plant type: Perennial
Zones: 4 to 7 (AHS)
Height: 6 to 12 inches
•Sun: Full sun
•Soil: Rocky or sandy, well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil
•Mulch: Can thrive in Zone 2 with winter mulch.
•Pruning: Not necessary
•Fertilizer: Not necessary
Pests and diseases
•Snails or slugs may eat new growth.
•Plant in a rock garden or a border, away from taller plants.
•Combine with other small spring flowers.
•Give it a little extra water during flowering season.
•Dried pasque flower has medicinal uses but, as with many other plants of the Ranunculaceae family, all parts of the fresh plant aretoxic.
•No known cultivars.
All in the family
•Several related species exist, including the European natives Pulsatilla alpina, P. halleri, P. vernalis, and P. vulgaris. There’s disagreement about the name of P. patens, the species that is found across North America from Alaska to New Mexico and Texas. It is also known as Anemone patens or A. patens multifida; you might also find it as Pulsatilla nuttalliana or P. hirsutissima.
(Text by Elizabeth Noll, photo from the Kemper Center for Home Gardening at the Missouri Botanical Garden)