Winter Prairie Pods

River Bend
Nature Center

prairie pods

Many people are familiar with and enjoy prairie flowers when they are at their most brilliant in spring, summer, and early autumn. When late autumn and winter arrive the flowers go to seed and leave behind beautiful and unique pods. However, most people do not give these pods a second look.

Take some time between late fall and spring to enjoy the prairie in a different light.


Click on the thumbnails to see full size.

aster pods

Aster pods can be fluffy and white

wild bergamot

Wild Bergamot

black-eyed susan pods

Black-eyed susan pods are conical

bottle gentian

Bottle Gentian

round-headed bush clover

Round-headed Bush Clover

compass plant

Compass Plant


Goldenrod can have a flat top...


...or a triangular one.


Goldenrod can also have galls, like this...


...or like this.

grey-headed coneflower

Grey-headed Coneflower

spotted knapweed

Spotted knapweed is an invasive weed.


Common Milkweed

mountain mint

Mountain mint

wild parsnip

Wild Parsnip

purple coneflower

Purple Coneflower has purple petals and a purple pod.

rattlesnake master

Rattlesnake Master has a unique name and pod.

white sage

White Sage





western yarrow

Western Yarrow looks much like its garden relative.

prairie clover

Prairie Clover can be white or purple.


Common Cattail is the larger cattail.

narrow-leafed cattail

Narrow-leafed Cattail is smaller.

swamp milkweed

Swamp Milkweed is smaller than common milkweed.

For further reference, please refer to these books:

Brown, Laura. Weeds in Winter. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1986.

Emberton, Jane. Pods: Wildflowers and Weeds in Their Final Beauty.
New York: Charles Sribner's Sons, 1979.

Page created and photos taken by
AmberBeth VanNingen

Please feel free to use these pictures for educational purposes but please contact us using the below information for commercial purposes.

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