Wildflowers can be found throughout the State of North Dakota. Whether you are out on the prairie or up in the forests of the Eastern and Northern parts of North Dakota, you will see wildflowers. A wildflower is a natural growing plant that has flowers. Flowers can be located at lakesides, swamps or marshes, places where there is plenty of moisture. But they can also be seen along country roadsides, in ditches, old graveyards and along railroad tracks and often in the forested areas. Some of them love to grow on the extensive prairies of the State, a part of North Dakota that is declining. It is thought that at one time most of North Dakota was prairie but that has drastically changed with the increase of agriculture. Some wildflowers are found only on certain soil types; others are likely to grow where the temperature is just right while others may be found in areas that are akin to deserts. They are everywhere.
Probably the primary reason we like flowers is that they are so beautiful. Many of them have amazing colors and some combine those vivid colors with unique shapes and a lovely fragrance. Another reason we enjoy flowers is that their lifespan may be very short. If you miss your favorite wildflower in a given year, it may be another whole year until you see it again. We can enjoy wildflowers on camping trips, hikes and nature walks. An interest in wildflowers gets us outside in the wide-open spaces where we can relax and enjoy life. Some wildflower enthusiasts will hike for miles, even up into the mountains, to see a new bloom. These adventures bring us into close contact with a Designer God who created such lovely additions to our planet.
Just recently I stopped by a bookstore in Minot, North Dakota and purchased the National Wildlife Federation's Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America. This is a guide that covers the whole of the United States. One can also visit the local library or simply use the Internet to learn more about wildflowers in your area. Remember too that the Great Plains Indians used the roots of many of these plants (ground up and made into a tea) to treat all sorts of ailments including spider bites and rattlesnake bites. Success to each of you, especially to those who may be opening a brand-new chapter in the grand book of nature. Enjoy wildflowers!
Wayne Easley/written on Aug. 11, 2022/Harvey, North Dakota
PICTURES: These can be used for educational purposes.
1- Prairie Smoke-an exciting summer wildflower that can cover the prairie slopes. My favorite.
2-Rocky Mountain Bee Plant-lots of color in this one.
3-Prairie Purple Clover-summer blossoms where the flowers are in dense clusters.
4- Wood Lilies-a widespread summer flower in prairies, meadows and woods. Great flower!
5-6-Prairie Cone Flowers-late summer to early fall.
7-Prairie Sunflower-a wildflower that grows alongside the fields of much larger cultivated sunflowers of North Dakota.
8-Prairie Spiderwort-grows in prairies, plains and fields in spring through summer. Sticky leaves.
9-Bees attracted to Dogwood Flowers in early spring.
10-Lead Plant-found in J. Clark Salyer Refuge near Towner, North Dakota. Tiny flowers are located at the top of leaflets.
11-Thistle-widespread in North Dakota especially in the western part of the State. And there are many more.