Spring is just around the corner and now is the time to start planning your flower beds and naturalized areas. We thought it might be fun to start showcasing some of our native wildflowers. Today we are looking at the Anemone patens or its common name Pasque Flower. This flower is also known by other names such as April Fool, Badger, Easter Plant, Gosling Hartshors, Prairie Smoke, Rock Lily, Wild Crocus and Windflower .
The Pasque Flower is from the Ranunculaceae Family – From the Greek term anemone, meaning “wind” which probably refers to seed distribution or perhaps because the delicate stems and leaves sometimes seem to tremble in the wind and patens, meaning “spreading”.
Found in all prairie regions from the Arctic Circle to the Southern United States. It is the earliest of all prairie flowers blooming in March and April. Grows from 2 inches to 16 inches and sports a single blue, purple or white flower on a long, thin stem. Pasque flowers do not have true petals; instead it is the sepals that give the flower color.
Pasque Flower was one of the native prairie species that was included on the official United States pharmacopoeia catalog from 1882 to 1918 because of its diuretic, expectorant and menstrual-inducing qualities. Native Americans used this species for treating the pain of rheumatism and other painful conditions. It was used as a diaphoretic, a diuretic and as a salve or wash to treat boils, burns and sore eyes. Healing of wounds was often accelerated using the entire plant, dried and ground, applied to the wound. Great caution was used when using this species as a medicine because it contains alkaloids that can cause depression, nervousness and intestinal distress. It should be noted that Pasque flower is poisonous. It is extremely irritating both internally and externally and use of this plant should be avoided.