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Geum triflorum
Geum triflorum
Geum triflorum. Synonym: Erythrocoma triflora. (Prairie Smoke, Old-Man's-Whiskers)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows. Summer.
Lizard Head Trail, June 19, 2004.

There is no mistaking this plant. Finely cut parsley-like leaves are surmounted by almost leafless red flower stems from which droop pink flowers that seem to be a cross between a flower, an insect, and a science fiction character. (See Artemisia scopulorum for another alien-looking plant.)  Geum triflorum seeds are borne on feathery plumes (the mature styles), as shown in the last photograph below.

Linnaeus named the Geum genus in 1753. "Geum" is a classical Latin name for some now unknown species in the Rose Family. Geum triflorum was named and described by Pursh in 1814 from a plant collected early in the 1800s by John Bradbury in present day South Dakota.  In 1906 Edward Greene renamed the species, "Erythrocoma" (Greek for "red mane"), but most botanists now accept the name Geum triflorum.

Geum triflorum
Geum triflorum. Synonym: Erythrocoma triflora. (Prairie Smoke, Old-Man's-Whiskers)
Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows. Summer.
Cross Mountain Trail, July 13, 2005.

Geum triflorum
Geum triflorum. Synonym: Erythrocoma triflora. (Prairie Smoke, Old-Man's-Whiskers)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows. Summer.
Lizard Head Pass, June 19, 2004.

The bracts and sepals are pink; the flower petals (barely visible at the bottom of the far left and far right flowers) are very light yellow/green/white.

Geum triflorum
Geum triflorum. Synonym: Erythrocoma triflora. (Prairie Smoke, Old-Man's-Whiskers)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 10, 2008.

Geum triflorum
Geum triflorum. Synonym: Erythrocoma triflora. (Prairie Smoke, Old-Man's-Whiskers)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows. Summer.
Navajo Lake Trail, June 11, 2005.

Seeds are borne at the base of feathery plumes that gave rise to the common name, "Prairie Smoke".

Click for a very similar seed head.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Geum triflorum