Anemone patens L. var. multifida Pritz.
Synonym: Pulsatilla patens (L.) Mill.
A very early spring bloomer (Pasque refers to Easter, for the bloom time), sometimes called prairie crocus, this plant is the state flower of South Dakota. The purple cup-like flowers with their contrasting golden stamens are followed by rather amusing feathery seed heads. Don’t mistake the pretty purple parts for petals—they are sepals masquerading as petals. In fact, pasqueflowers don’t have any petals! Once established, pasqueflower doesn’t transplant well. This plant can go dormant later in the year. All parts are toxic.
Water needs: moist in the early spring, can dry out later
Exposure: full sun to partial shade
Availability in nurseries: uncommon; non-native species are common
Native range: TX to AK (WY native)
Plant family: Ranunculaceae
Photo by Dorothy Tuthill