Pasqueflower
Pulsatilla patens
(L.) P. Mill.

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


Description
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.

Distribution
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.
(click on image for full size)


Contents
Identification
English Names Index
Scientific Names Index
Family Index
(click on images for full size)

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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