South Dakota Native Plant Research
Rosaceae : Geum triflorum

Rosaceae : Geum triflorum


Download Seed: Pinkish achenes of prairie smoke, 2-3 mm long. (58 KB)

Download Seedling: Two month old seedling grown in research greenhouse at SDSU. (85 KB)

Download Vegetative: The basal leaves of prairie smoke have two pairs of sessile leaves. (273 KB)

Download Flowering: Prairie smoke droops during flowering. (1.8 MB)

Download Fruiting: Hairlike top on the prairie smoke indicates its' fruiting stage. (554 KB)

Download Mature plants (5.4 MB)

Family Name


Common Name

Prairie smoke, torch flower, maidenhair, old man's whiskers

Native American Name

Lakota: piŋkpá hiŋšmá


Geum triflorum is perennial herb growing from thick rhizomes, often forming large clumps, with flowering stems 20-40 cm tall. The stems are purplish in color, softly hairy, with a pair of opposite, smaller, finely dissected leaves about half way up. The basal leaves have blades 5-20 cm long, unequally pinnately divided into 7-19 lobes or pinnae up to 5 cm long, generally larger toward the tip. The inflorescences are cymes, with peduncles up to 10 cm long, with 3-4 nodding flowers. Each flower has a hemispherical hypanthium 4-5 mm long, with 5 purple sepals 8-12 mm long and simple to trifid bracts between them. There are 5 yellow to pink to purple rounded petals enclosed by, to exerted from the sepals and bracts. The stamens and pistils are numerous. The fruit are achenes ~ 3 mm long with purplish, plumose styles 2.5-5 cm long. Prairie smoke blooms from April into June on prairies and in open woodlands along the eastern and western borders of South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Prairie smoke is a striking groundcover in a rock garden or an open grassland setting. It forms dense clumps with eye-catching leaves and flowers that are colorful at anthesis and produce tufts of erect seeds as the fruit matures. Their early flowers are an important food source for bumblebee queens when they first emerge in the spring.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in June to July when the achenes darken and the plumes are upright.

Germination: Fall sowing produces the pest germination rates.

Vegetative Propagation: Clumps can be divided in spring or fall.

Soils: Tolerates a wide variety of well drained soils from sands to clays.

Light: Full sun.

Water: Dry to medium dry. Drought tolerant.

Rosaceae : Geum triflorum