anemone pulsatilla

Pasque flower

A pasque flower (or pasqueflower) is a deciduous perennial that is found in short clumps in meadows and prairies of North America and Eurasia. The genus Pulsatilla includes about 30 species, many of which are valued for their finely-dissected leaves, solitary bell-shaped flowers, and plumed seed heads. The anthers are bright yellow and the purple bell consists of sepals.

In its tallgrass prairie habitat, it is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring, often before the late winter snows have thawed.

This genus is sometimes included as part of genus Anemone as subgenus Pulsatilla, and is also commonly known as the prairie crocus, wind flower, Easter Flower and meadow anemone. The pasque flower is the official state flower of South Dakota and the provincial flower of Manitoba. It also grows in limestone pastures in central and northern Europe and parts of Russia, and locally in southern England from where the Pasque / Parsk / Pask family takes it name.

Pasque refers to Easter (Passover) as the flower blooms around that time of year.

Toxicity

Pasque flower is highly toxic, and produces cardiogenic toxins and oxytoxins which slow the heart in humans, and has been used as a medicine by Native Americans for centuries. Blackfeet Indians used Pasque Flower to induce abortions and childbirth.

References

  • Anemone pulsatilla, Wildflowers index, Department of Horticultural Science of NC State University
  • Edible and Medicinal plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, ISBN 0-87842-359-1
  • - Cambridgeshire, UK

Notes

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