Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)
We’ve only recently become aware of these attractive plants. We may have been overlooking them in the past, thinking they were faded Columbines or Paintbrush, or perhaps not spending enough time on the drier, eastern side of the Cascades where they are found.
The latin triflorum refers to the flowers’ tendency to come three per stem. The plant shares a genus with the previously posted Large-leaved Avens, and is often referred to as “Old Man’s Beard” due to the feathery seed heads that form from old flowers (below right), much like a smaller pink version of the Western Anemone seedhead, which is sometimes similarly characterized as”Old Man of the Mountain.”
For the adventurous: Ronald J. Taylor in Sagebrush Country: A Wildflower Sanctuary, claims that “the roots have an interesting sassafras-like taste and can be boiled to make a refreshing tea.”