prairie smoke

Geum triflorum (prairie smoke) isĀ one of the most recognizable plants of the prairie, thanks to feathery, smoky appearance in the landscape, particularly when planted in large masses. This species is often overlooked for its four-season appearance in the garden.

This North American native member of the Rosaceae is found in the wild from Canada, west to California, east to New York, and into southern southern Illinois. The species is one of the most recognizable plants of the prairie, thanks to the elongated styles that appear once seeds begin to form. This characteristic gives G. triflorum a feathery, smoky appearance in the landscape, particularly when planted in large masses.

The odd-pinnate leaves of G. triflorum are as equally impressive as the flowers–having a green rough fern-like appearance in the spring and summer, while bringing deep maroon reds to the winter garden. Plants grow best in full sun and rocky or sandy soil with moderate moisture. Prairie smoke does not tolerate competition from taller or more aggressive plants. At the Lurie Garden, you will find G. triflorum growing among other low-growing plants or in small masses onto itself. The species creates dense mats of ground-level vegetation, which is both great for controlling weeds during the growing season and covering ground in the fall and winter months.

Late winter is a perfect time to visit the Lurie Garden and check out G. triflorum in its winter color. Then plan to visit again in spring to see plants in full bloom.

Botanical Name Geum triflorum
Common Name prairie smoke
Family Rosaceae
USDA Zone 3 to 7
Light Requirement Full Sun
Season(s) of interest Spring
Height and Spread
0.5-1.5ft x 0.5-1ft (15-45cm x 15-30cm)
Flower Color Pink
Attracts Wildlife Bumblebees
Additional Information Native to the Chicago Region
Location in Lurie Garden
West Meadow, East Meadow, Northeast Light Plate, Northwest Light Plate, Southwest Light Plate, Southeast Light Plate