< back

Common name: Prairie Smoke
Scientific name: Geum triflorum
Duration: Perennial
Family: Rose family (Rosaceae)
Habitat: Prefers a well-drained site in full to partial sun, moderately drought tolerant, loam or sandy soil is preferred, however heavy clay soil can be amended by adding peat moss and sand; do not put them in a low, wet spot or they will drown.
Blooming period: Spring to early summer
Color: Dusty-pink flowers becoming bronze to purplish feathered achenes
Height: 6-18''
Planting Time: Fall to Spring; no stratification required

Pronunciation: Geum triflorum (JEE-um TRY-flor-um)

Other common names: old man’s whiskers

Forage Value: This plant provides an essential early food source for insects in the spring due to its early Spring flowering.

Historic Uses: The leaves and roots of prairie smoke were boiled to make a tea by Native Americans. Some Plateau Indian tribes used this plant to treat tuberculosis.

Miscellany: Prairie smoke is a cool-season perennial. The flowers, which look as though they are still in bud, are pollinated by small bees that crawl inside to get the nectar and pollen. The roots taste like sassafras and can be made into tea.

Geum is an ancient Latin name.
triflorum means "three flowers," which refers to the flower clusters that come often in threes.

Photo credit: (top left) J.W. Jensen; (center) B. Erhardt; (right) T. Heekin

Home About Us
Why Plant Natives
What is a Weed
Palouse Prairie Guide
Services Resources
Visit Places
Farm News Contact Us Search
jump to home page
1461 Thorn Creek Road, Genesee, Idaho 83832