Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Majestic Wildflower

American Columbo is blooming its heart out this year and is looking the best I have seen it in the past three springs. Wowser on the blooms that the bees simply adore. But, as pretty as the little blooms are they are quite hard to really enjoy unless you get up close to the plant. The real show with the American Columbo is the stature of these grand native wildflowers.
From a distance of over 200 feet the American Columbo will draw your eye to it immediately. The unknowing plant person will likely wonder what the tall and stately plant can be. For you see, in my experience American Columbo is not so common around my area of Tennessee. I am sure many hikers and naturalists are familiar with it but until buying this property I had never seen or noticed it before. An interesting note is that when I was visiting my daughter in Louisville a few weeks ago we took a trip to Bernheim Arboretum (highly recommended trip) I noticed some plants of American Columbo and was most excited. There were only a few plants and none in bloom that I could see but hey, it was a start on finding this cool plant in a spot other than our property.
These plants range in height from three to eight feet tall. That is a really tall wildflower and I believe this particular wildflower is one of the tallest wildflowers in Tennessee. In fact, the book Wildflowers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians says it is one of the tallest in Tennessee. If you saw a mass of them in person you would be awed!
This mass of the wildflower is in the corner of my yard in a native plant area that I try to maintain by leaving it alone. All year long there will be a parade of stunning native wildflowers come in and out of bloom in this area. The butterflies and pollinators are in heaven. I was quite pleased to see the bumble bees and honey bees love the American Columbo flowers. My two beehives are still doing fairly well and the bees have been a lot of fun. I have been stung twice but that's okay and to be expected.
Like I said in the opening of  this post this year makes the best year ever for the American Columbo. The sad thing is that once all of these flowers have bloomed out and the plant has set seed these plants that are blooming will all die. Their dying will leave a void in the area, but a void I hope will be filled with new American Columbo plants from the interesting seed stalks the American Columbo will leave behind. I will do a post on the seed stalks once they come into their glory. I don't think there is a lot of information on the seed stalks but they are most interesting in their own right. This American Columbo grows in this field, in the woods, along side the hills, on road banks, and many places you would not expect it to grow. Despite it being so adaptable it is not an invader or a troublesome plant. Soon all of these plants that are not blooming will go dormant until next year....

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Interesting plant. I don't think I have ever seen this before.

  2. A neat plant but too bad it does not hang around longer. But with blooms for the bees, it serves it purpose and returns another year....

  3. I don't remember this plant. Been gone too long I guess.

  4. I've never seen anything like this before. Perhaps if they all set seed, you will have a even bigger stand next season.

  5. I don't recall ever seeing this plant. I wonder if it is hardy way up here in my area. I like the tall, stately wildflowers.

  6. It certainly is magestic. It must have a limited range as a wildflower because I don't recall ever having seen it here in Illinois or in Florida. It looks lovely on your property.

  7. Like Lisa said, I have never seen them before.

  8. Here in southern MN. something that tall on the prairie would likely be in the sunflower family..:)