Wildflowers at Washita (Top Left: Dayflower, Bottom Left: Plains Sunflower, Right: Indian Blanket)
One of the most beautiful aspect of the prairie is the presence of wildflowers. These beautiful plants provide splashes of color that are both aesthetically pleasing and biologically important. Many of these flowers are represented in the sunflower family, or as it's otherwise known, the asters. White-petaled members include heath aster and rough fleabane. Adding a yellow hue are silver golden aster, cut-leaved daisy, Missouri goldenrod, and several species of sunflower including common, prairie, and Maximilian's. Well known to Oklahomans is the orange-red indian blanket, the state flower. Brilliant and distinctive purple asters come by way of dotted snakeroot and western ironweed. Though not asters per se the Ohio spidewort, silky prairie clover, catclaw sensitivebriar, small skullcap, purple poppy mallow, silverleaf nightshade, and horsenettle are no less distinctive or purple in their character. One other flowering plant worth mentioning is a buckwheat, the umbrella plant. It resembles Queen Anne's lace in its growth form, and when it flowers the tops of the plant are speckled with small, deep red petals. This is especially striking when the plants are grouped closely together. Due to the relative lack of color in the grasslands, when a plant does flower the display can be breathtaking.