Wildflowers Throughout the Summer
Clicking the blue highlighted month provides additional flower listings .
Summer holds promises of a colorful prairie kaleidescope as Mother Nature offers an array of native wildflowers changing colors, it seems, almost on a whim. Explore the J. Clark Salyer NWR Sandhills Walk to see what you can find.
In early May, spring awakens from an endless wintery white sleep, greeted by the cheerful pasque flower. Answering to another name - the crocus - the lavender-blue flower sometimes peaks through remnant snow patches, ever eager for a new year.
Scan your eyes across the prairie sandhills, for the pasque flower could be anywhere scattered amongst the refuge's sandy hillsides and native prairie grasslands. This perennial flower returns year after year, greeting spring and welcoming visitors.
In June, red false mallow will show its colorful face. The only native mallow in the northern Great Plains, its many stamens create a brilliant yellow center. The five flower petals vary from orange to brick red. Squatty red false mallow reaches about six to eight inches in height, forming a mat of stems with several flowers each.
As warm days and cool nights meld into July heat, spiderwort comes out to play. No, not spiders with warts, but the three-petaled purplish-pink native plant with upright stems. Look for this plant on the sandy slopes and hillside of the refuge.
As August creeps across the calendar, the uplands become dotted with what look like clown's caps - purple prairie clover. A legume, the plant's flower is actually the deep rose to purple-colored fuzzy stuff at the bottom of the cone-shaped spike.
Purple prairie clover provides insight into the health of the grasslands - providing important soil nutrients as well as food for many of the critters calling the refuge home.
Even though September forewarns the coming of winter, Mother Nature's colors still grace the prairies: Yellow smiley faces of golden aster dot the refuge's upland prairies and sandhills.
The bushy plant can reach a height of 24 inches. Each branch, rising from a single taproot, has a flower - and sometimes branches number from one to thirty.