The Pasque Flower Hunt
They are elusive little beauties – those pasque flowers. I’d seen plenty of photos of pasque flowers over the years, but had never seen the real things for myself. I’ve probably driven or hiked right past them, unknowingly, but had never taken the time to search specifically for them.
Last Sunday, I did.
It was a cloudy, drizzly day and everything was a drab, grayish-brown color. So – in my mind – the small purple flowers with the yellow centers should have been easy to see, their colors standing in stark contrast to the dull surroundings of the forest floor. Nothing could have been further from the truth. They were nearly impossible to see from the gravel road as we slowly explored near Pactola Reservoir.
My wife and I had all but given up on finding what we had come looking for. Just before we were about to turn back onto Highway 385, out of the corner of my eye – I caught a flash of purple. I slammed on the brakes and about scared my wife out of the car as I hollered, “there they are!” And they were.
The South Dakota state flower – the pasque flower – that we had come in search of, was sprouting up through a dense bed of pine needles. We parked the car and explored the hillside, finding more and more of the little lavender harbingers of spring.
Pasque flowers can be a challenge to find, as our outing proved. I’d read that they tend to grow most readily in untilled soil, often on the north sides of hills. Those general directions perfectly described the location where we found these pasques. If you decide to go find pasque flowers on your own, good luck and happy hunting!