It’s prime time to see Kansas prairie wildflowers

Jun 19, 2014

Butterfly milkweed

Recent rains came just at the right time to spur and explosion of wildflowers across the Kansas Prairie.  Along roadways and in pastures flower paint the prairie with splashes of orange, red, purple, blue, white and yellow reported the Wichita Eagle.

“The wildflowers are just like farm crops,” says Wichita naturalist Jim Mason. “It depends on what the weather has been and the rain is timed.

“You can have good years for some and not so good years for others. Each has its own schedule. And whether that matches up to Mother Nature is variable each year.”

This is a great year for butterfly milkweed.  The plant is a splashy bright orange in the Flint Hills, yellow in western Kansas counties like Stafford, and has a deep brick-red color close to the Kansas-Nebraska border.   

Jeff Hansen is a board member of the Kansas Native Plant Society.  He says butterfly milkweed is one of the few native orange plants in Kansas.

Butterfly milkweed is vital to the survival of butterflies and bees. 

“Every plant on the prairie has value,” says Barry Barber, District Conservationist in Cowley County.  “When I was fresh out of college, I talked in terms of good plant and bad plant. I’ve learned over the years there is no such thing. All have a purpose, and you have to figure out how to work with them.”

You can learn more about prairie wildflowers and their purpose from the Wichita Eagle.