Flower Fridays

Flower Fridays

Follow us for Flower Fridays! Every Friday throughout the summer, we will be posting a flower that is native to Alberta and found in the Crowsnest Pass! We will share a photo, description of the plant, and what habitats you can look for these native flowers!

Our department is focused on removing invasive species from our ecosystems so we can protect the biodiversity here in the Crowsnest Pass. It is important to protect these beautiful flowers and ensure they continue to grow so it is encouraged not to pick them, but rather take a picture to help ensure their beauty lasts forever. If you would like to grow these native perennial flowers in your garden, please contact The Agriculture and Environmental Department. We have information on where you can buy clean, native seeds here in Alberta.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata)

Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) is a North American perennial herb that flowers from April to July. It is an early bloomer attracting many insects and birds with its aromatic smells. The stems are 20-70 cm tall, the leaves are large and triangular 10-30 cm long. The flower is yellow and are borne singly on long stalks.

You can find these flowers from the foothills to montane in dry, stony, or open wooded areas.  The common name “balsamroot” refers to the sticky substance the root exudes. 

Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum)

Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum) is a perennial herb that flowers from April to August. The nodding flowers are yellow in colour and curl backwards, ‘opening up’ during the day and uncurl at night. The stems are 10-40 cm tall, leafless, unbranched and they tend to grow in large patches in moist, open montane to subalpine slopes.

Can be confused with Yellowbells which also starts flowering in April (Fritillaria pudica). Both species are native to North America and belong to the Lily family. 

Prairie Crocus (Pulsastilla patens)

Prairie Crocus (Pulsastilla patens) is a perennial herb native to Alberta that flowers from April to June. Another common name for this flower is Pasque-flower. It has pale blue to light purple petals, sometimes they can even be white, with silky hairs found all over the plant. As the flowers and fruit appear, it becomes elongated growing from 8- 40 cm tall. It grows in clusters and spreads by seed in dry open areas such as sand dunes, pine forests, and prairie grasslands.

In the Crowsnest Pass, seeing the Prairie crocus is a sign that spring is here, as it is one of the first flowers to appear on south to east facing slopes. This plant has also been called the “ears of the earth” due to its ability bloom through the snow, listening for the approach of summer. It can be found through most of Alberta all the way up to the border of Northwest Territories. 

You can also find it’s similar species, Chalice-flower (Pulsatilla occidentalis) which has white petals, becomes woolly while in flower, but during maturity is nearly hairless. The species name occidentalis means western, as it is found on the western side of Alberta, throughout the Rockies. 

Mouse-ear chickweed or Field Chickweed (Cerastium arvense)

Mouse-ear chickweed or Field Chickweed (Cerastium arvense) has white flowers from April to August, the petals are deeply notched and are longer than the sepals. The hairy stems are sticky and when the nodes touch soil they can produce roots which helps differentiate it from Common chickweed. Mouse-ear chickweed grows in dry, open plains and hillsides. The stems are 10-30 cm tall, erect to ascending, hairy and branched. The leaves are opposite, 1-4 cm long and the upper surface is often hairy.

This plant is often fed to goslings, chickens and caged birds when ill.