Prairie crocus, dream-grass, or Easter anemone
Pulsatilla vernalis in Eastern Alps Pasque flower after an April snowstorm
... any name of these plants reflects their fairy-tale, ethereal springtime beauty ... large, gently swaying bells of flowers, all covered by silky white hair. No shortage of legends and folk beliefs about this flower. Some say that it was pasqueflower which put Brunhild of Eddic verses to her enchanted sleep; others tell of placing a flower under a pillow on full moon nights to see the future in one's dreams.
is old French for Easter or Passover (derived from Hebrew Pesach
), and it of course refers to the early spring season of these flowers. Latin Pulsatilla
means pulsating, swaying. Some botanical classifications consider Pulsatilla
a standalone genus of Buttercup family, while others list it as a subgenus of Anemone
(which has its own SP album now!
Pasque flowers were once very common in Northern United States (where it is the state flower of South Dakota), Europe, and Siberia, but they've become rare and protected in many European countries.
As it is usual for Buttercups, pasqueflowers are poisonous, and their most traditional medicinal uses were to induce abortions. This may explain why this beautiful spring flower is often considered cursed by Virgin Mary in folk tales.
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