Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

This is a wonderful plant, if only it would bloom longer! In prairies, the pink flowers rise above the surrounding vegetation and can be seen from a considerable distance. It has a very distinctive appearance, and can't be confused with any other native plant. However, the introduced Filipendula ulmaria (Queen-of-the-Meadow) is somewhat similar. This latter species differs from Queen-of-the-Prairie by having white flowers and twisted fruits. Return
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This native perennial plant is unbranched and about 3-6' tall. The central stem is smooth and sometimes reddish. The alternate compound leaves are up to 2' long. They are often yellowish green, and become much smaller and sparser while ascending the central stem. Each compound leaf consists of 1-7 palmate leaflets that are aligned along each reddish leaf-stem in succession. Each leaflet is up to 6" long and across and has 2-5 cleft lobes. The margins are coarsely dentate. The inflorescence occurs on a long naked stalk, consisting of a panicle of pink buds and flowers about 5-8" across. Each flower is about 1/3" across, consisting of 5 pink petals and numerous long white stamens with pink anthers. The overall appearance of the inflorescence resembles wind-tossed fluff or foam, and is quite beautiful. The flowers bloom from the bottom up, and have little or no fragrance. The blooming period occurs from early to mid-summer, and lasts about 3 weeks. Afterwards, straight reddish fruits develop that are about ¼–½" across. The root system consists of a taproot and rhizomes. Queen-of-the-Prairie tends to form colonies under moist conditions.
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Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Ecology

Associations

Faunal Associations

The colorful flowers provide pollen as a reward for insect visitors, but not nectar. Various species of bees collect pollen from the flowers and probably are the most important pollinators. Beetles and flies feed on the pollen. Wasps and butterflies may land on the flowers looking for nectar, but their search will be futile. Little is known about the floral-fauna relationships for birds and mammals. The foliage doesn't seem to be bothered by deer and other herbivorous mammals. Photographic Location
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Flower-Visiting Insects of Queen-of-the-Prairie in Illinois

Filipendula rubra (Queen-of-the-Prairie)
(bees collect pollen for their larvae, while other insects feed on the pollen; nectar is not produced by the flowers; all observations are from Aspinwall & Christian)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera cp fq; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus sp. cp

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Augochlorella sp. cp, Halictus ligatus cp, Lasioglossum sp. cp fq

Flies
Syrphidae: Unidentified spp. fp; Muscidae: Unidentified spp. fp

Beetles
Cantharidae: Chauliognathus marginatus fp gnw

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

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Threats

Comments: Filipendula rubra is at high risk to habitat loss and fragmentation. Forest management practices may also impact the species, as sedimentation and lack of disturbance leading to succession have been reported as threats. Collection could also be a minor factor. (Southern Appalachian Species Viability Project 2002).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full or partial sun, and wet to moist conditions. The soil should be high in organic content, and can contain a little sand. The cooler climate of the Great Lakes region is preferred, rather than hot, dry summer heat. Occasionally, the leaves become spotted from foliar disease, otherwise it is not subject to any special problems. Range & Habitat
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