Queen-of-the-Prairie – Flowers

(Ulmaria rubra)

Rose family

(Spirea lobata of Gray)

Flowers—Deep pink, like the peach blossom, fragrant, about 34 in. across, clustered in large cymose panicles on a long footstalk. Calyx 5-lobed; 5-clawed, rose-like petals; stamens numerous; pistils 5 to 15, usually 10. Stem : 2 to 8 ft. tall, smooth, grooved, branched. Leaves : Mostly near the ground, large, rarely measuring 3 ft. long, compounded of from 3 to 7 leaf-lets; end leaflet, of 7 to 9 divisions, much the largest; side leaflets opposite, seated on stem, 3 to 5 lobed or parted ; all lobes acute, and edges unequally incised. Prominent kidney-shaped stipules.

Preferred Habitat—Moist meadows and prairies.

Flowering Season—June—July.

Distribution—Western Pennsylvania to Michigan and Iowa, and southward.

A stately, beautiful native plant, seen to perfection where it rears bright panicles of bloom above the ranker growth in the low moist meadows of the Ohio Valley. When we find it in the East, it has only recently escaped from man’s gardens into Nature’s. Butterflies and bees pay grateful homage to this queen. Indeed, butterflies appear to have a special fondness for pink, as bees have for blue flowers. Cattle delight to chew the leaves, which, when crushed, give out a fragrance like sweet birch.