Pulsatilla patens
(L.) P. Mill.

Synonym: Anemone patens. Other names: prairie crocus, wild crocus, lion's beard.
Family: Ranunculaceae, Buttercup
Genus: Pulsatilla

General: perennial with 1 to many stems 5-25 cm tall,
often clustered, from a simple or more commonly
branched, erect to ascending base, more or less grayish
soft- to stiff-long-hairy throughout, rarely nearly hairless.
Leaves: mainly basal, numerous, long-stalked, usually
developing after the earliest flowers, the blades 4-10 cm
broad, primarily divided in 3's 1-3 times but dissected into
numerous strongly veined, ultimately linear divisions 1-2
mm broad and often over 1 cm long. Stem leaves smaller,
stalkless, in a whorl near mid-stem, dissected similarly to
the basal leaves.
Flowers: single, petals lacking, the 5-7 sepals showy,
petal-like, blue to purple (rarely white), oblong-elliptic to
oblong-lanceolate, 2.5-3.5 cm long, hairy on the outside.
Stamens numerous, yellow.
Flowering time: May-August.
Fruits: achenes, numerous, silky, linear-ellipsoid,
about 3 mm long. Style slender, slightly S-winding, short-
feathery, 2-3.5 cm long.

Prairies to mountain slopes, mostly on well-drained soil,
mostly in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from s. AK to
Alberta, WA, TX, and e. to IL.

Medicinal plant: see below.
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Use of pasqueflower reportedly lessens sexual excitement. It does not diminish sexual power but rather strengthens it by lessening excitement. A drug derived from the chopped whole plant induces vomiting and irritation of the kidneys. In high doses it acts as a depressant on the central nervous system and the heart. A decoction of the plant was used by the Blackfoot Indians to speed delivery of a child. They also used a poultice of crushed leaves applied to affected parts as a counterirritant for rheumatism. The Chippewa Indians used dried, pulverized leaves "smelled" for headache, and made a compound decoction of root taken for lung trouble. A volatile oil contained in the plant is used as an irritant.

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