The long plumes of a three-flowered avens as it goes to seed
© Sunshine Haven Photo/Shutterstoc
Old man's whiskers growing wild
The three-flowered avens is known by several names, including prairie smoke and old man's whiskers. It blooms across North American prairies in the spring, its purple-tinged, closed bell-shaped flowers hanging in clumps of three. After bees go to work pollinating the buds, the fertilised flowers open and look upwards transforming their pistils into soft swirling tendrils that are said to resemble an old man's whiskers. As summer marches on, the plants continue their spectacular show as the fuzzy pink-tinged seed heads begin to resemble low-lying prairie smoke.