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Geum triflorum Pursh
Old man's whiskers, Prairie smoke, Purple avens
USDA Symbol: getr
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
This is an attractive, 6-18 in. plant with foot-wide, basal clumps of ferny, blue-green, hairy leaves and reddish-purple, bell-shaped flowers that hang in groups of three. Clumps of feathery, plumed, pink-gray fruits stay on the plant much of the summer. The leaves of prairie smoke turn deep red in fall and are sometimes evergreen.
After fertilization, the bell-like flowers turn upward and plumes begin to grow from the pistils, ready to be caught by the wind or a passing animal and the seed so dispersed.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May
AZ , CA , CO , IA , ID , IL , MI , MN , MT , ND , NM , NV , NY , OR , SD , UT , WA , WI , WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
NY & s. Ont. to Alt., s. to n. IL, the Dakotas & sporadically in the Rockies; extending w. to B.C. & CA as vars. ciliatum & campanulatum Native Habitat:
Dry, open woods; prairies; open slopes; mt. meadows USDA Native Status: L48(N), CAN(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Thin soil over limestone.
Conditions Comments: Mature plants frequently form dense mats creating an attractive ground cover. In addition to the soil preference listed, prairie smoke is known to occur on rich prairie loams, clay and sand.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Prairie smoke can be grown from seeds or from divisions. Rhizome
cuttings or divisions of mature plants should be done in late summer or early spring. Seed Collection:
Collect seeds in late spring or early summer. Seed Treatment:
No pretreatment is necessary though stratification increases the germination rate. Commercially Avail:
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
- Westfield, WI
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
- Santa Barbara, CANative Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Recommended Species Lists
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Record Modified: 2012-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff