Monday, July 21, 2014

Who says flowers need petals to be pretty?

Of the large genus of panic grasses, Panicum virgatum is one of the biggest--it is even majestic.  It is a local grass here in Massachusetts, as well as being important in the tallgrass prairie and an important food for livestock.  It has just come into bloom in my yard.

These are a part of the little "prairie garden" of native grasses, goldenrods, milkweeds and the like  I allow to run riot, only cutting it back when it begins to block our driveway.

Only a few days ago, finally taking a close look at the flowers, did I realize how beautiful they are.  Each plump flower in the large cluster is individual.  Pistils extend feathery orange stigmas to catch wind-borne pollen grains from neighboring grasses, while purple stamens in turn release pollen grains to the breeze.

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