Purple Prairie Haze

“No matter how chaotic it is, wildflowers will still spring up in the middle of nowhere.” — Sheryl Crow
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There’s a plethora of prairie purple right now. (Say it three times, very fast.) The pinky purple of wild geraniums color the prairie edges.

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Here and there–but much more rare–the bird’s foot violet.

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And its close kin, prairie violet.

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Go plum crazy over fragile blue toadflax.

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Do some whoopin’ over purple prairie lupine…

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Seek out the violet wood sorrel, dabbed here and there across the prairie.

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Look up! May skies are often the purple-blue of a storm.

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After the rain, amethyst-colored long-leaved bluets are splattered with grit.

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The rain encourages wild hyacinth’s lavender blues to open. Inhale their fragrance. Wow!

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Sunset prairie purples close many May days on the prairie. Not fiery. Not spectacular. But in true purple form…peaceful.

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No matter how chaotic the world seems at any given time, an hour on the May prairie–with its purple moments–puts things into perspective again.

An hour that is always well-spent.

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Sheryl Crow (1962-), whose quote opens this blogpost, is an American recording artist perhaps best known for her hits, “Every Day is  a Winding Road,” and “All I Wanna Do.”  She has won nine Grammy Awards, and been nominated for a Grammy 32 times. Her album, Wildflower, has sold almost a million copies.

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All photos copyright Cindy Crosby (top to bottom): wild geraniums (Geranium maculatum) East Woods area, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; bird’s foot violet (Viola pedata), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; prairie violet (Viola pedatifida), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; blue toadflax (Nuttallanthus canadensis), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; lupine (Lupinus perennis), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; violet wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; storm over Fame Flower Knob, Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; long-leaved bluets after the storm (Houstonia longifolia var.longifolia), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; wild hyacinths (Camassia scilloides), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; sunset over Willoway Brook, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL.

Special thanks to Bernie Buchholz for his restoration work, and for introducing me to several new wildflowers at Nachusa Grasslands.

3 responses to “Purple Prairie Haze

  1. Roy Beckemeyer here . I am one of the editors of the 2017 issue of Konza Journal , an online yearly bioregional publication of the Kansas Area Watershed Council .

    I came across your delightful Dec. 20, 2016 Tuesdays in the Tallgrass blog posting, “How to Speak Fluent Prairie,” shortly after subscribing to the blog. The subject and idea of how a lexicon of landscape ties into our sense of place led us to consider using the subject area as a focal point for our 2017 issue.

    Would you be willing to have your blog re-published in pdf form as an article in our 2017 issue? Or perhaps at least allow us to link to your blog so that we can give you proper credit for the idea?

    Here is the link for our submissions page: .

    Thanks, and best regards,

    Roy Beckemeyer

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Roy —
      Thank you for reading Tuesdays in the Tallgrass. I am so grateful for the work you do with prairie. Konza is on my bucket list. I hope to visit there this summer.
      I would be delighted for you to use the blogpost “How to Speak Fluent Prairie” as a way to share prairie with more people. Would you be kind enough to e-mail me at phrelanzer@gmail and we can continue the discussion off-line? Thank you again, Roy! I appreciate you.

      Like

  2. You captured an impressive list of purple pleasers in this post! Some I haven’t seen but will be on the lookout for in future seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

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