On a walk this summer, you and your family may come across many flowers. If your children are curious, you’ll need to know some flower names to answer their questions. Here are some common flowers that you may see on a walk during your outdoor family adventures.
These five flowers should become familiar quickly: Queen Anne's Lace, Dandelions, Sunflowers, Coneflowers, and Red Clover Flowers.
Garden walks with family can provide time for conversation and become an invitation to learn more about the world.
For each of the flowers mentioned I will share a link to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) website and others so that you can quickly gather more information if you would like to.
Queen Anne’s Lace
Latin Name: Daucus carota L.
This plant is loved by some and considered a weed by others. Tiny little white flowers form the head, which can be the size of a quarter or the size of a hand. These flowers are often spotted along roads or at parks.
Before Queen Anne's Lace Opens
A Field of Queen Anne's Lace
Here’s a link to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) with information about Queen Anne’s Lace.
Latin Name: Taraxacum officinale
Dandelions are bright yellow flowers with hearty roots and can be found all over North America. Seeds spread after the flowers close up, and open again revealing seeds with their own white parachutes. When these are blown by the wind, hundreds of little seeds spread, making these plants hard to contain.
Here's a link to Columbia's website for more information about the dandelion.
The USDA has more information about Dandelions.
Latin Name: Helianthus
These flowers typically have yellow petals and a large center. Some varieties are orange or red. Mammoth sunflowers can be 12 feet tall and have a head the size of a dinner plate. Smaller types can be around 3 feet tall. Sunflowers can have a single floral head, or many. These flowers are annual (need to be planted year after year).
A Sunflower Beginning to Open
A Sunflower Plant with Many Flowers
Various Stages of Sunflowers
Petals of an Orange Sunflower
Interested in growing your own sunflowers or would like to learn more about them? Here’s a link to Burpee’s website.
The USDA has more information about the sunflower.
The Chicago Botanic Garden has many facts and stunning images of sunflowers.
Coneflower or Echinacea
Latin Name: Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench
The purple coneflower is a perennial (a type of flower that will come back year after year). Its petals are purple or pink and its center has a tint of vibrant orange. It can be found from Florida to Michigan and from Colorado to the east coast. It is a favorite flower for pollinators like butterflies and bees. It has useful herbal qualities.
This link to the Chicago Botanic Garden provides video clips, photographs, and further information about Echinacea.
Here's a link to Eden Brothers with more about the coneflower.
The USDA has more information about coneflowers.
Red Clover Flower
Latin Name: Trifolium pratense L.
Clovers, which commonly have three leaves, have many small flowers that form a head (inflorescence). These can be purple, white, or red. Pollinators enjoy these flowers.
In Bambi (1942) Thumper declares, “‘Eating greens is a special treat, It makes long ears and great big feet. But it sure is awful stuff to eat.’ I made that last part up myself.” The Disney character enjoyed the red clover flowers instead of greens.
Red Clover Flower: Trifolium pratense L.
Information about the Red Clover Flower from the USDA.
White Clover Flower: Trifolium repens L.
Here's a link to the USDA's information about the White Clover Flower.
There are so many more flowers that your family will enjoy finding on trips outside. These flower basics will hopefully help you and your family have more conversations in the great outdoors!
Questions to Ponder:
What flowers does your family see when you are outside?
What types of flowers are your favorite?