The nodding pink flowers look like closed bells—it’s the seed heads that give prairie smoke its common name. After the flower fades, the styles elongate into feathery upright plumes that look somewhat like a feather duster. The leaves green up in early spring; flowers appear in mid-to-late spring/early summer and are followed quickly by seeds, which linger on the plants for a month or more. When not in flower or fruit, the plant consists of a dense rosette of pinnately lobed and toothed, and slightly fuzzy, basal leaves. The leaves remain green well into the autumn and through drought, although in severely dry conditions the plant can go dormant. G. triflorum is a federally listed threatened species in Michigan and New York—two states at the very edge of its range.
Width: 4-8”, expanding over time to 2’ or more
Water needs: low to moderate
Exposure: full sun to part shade
Availability in nurseries: fairly common
Native range: western North America (WY native)
Plant family: Rosaceae