It’s called a Pasqueflower, a lovely of the high plains, mountain states and north.
Among the very first wildflowers of spring here in the foothills of Colorado, pasqueflowers sometimes even push up through light snowcover. And though I haven’t seen one yet this year, I took this photo in very early spring some time back. As a cold weather flower, they tend to stay close to the ground, about six inches tall, and often can be found as in this photo in drier, rocky areas that hold the warmth of the late winter sun.
Sometimes confused with tulips, it’s also called the Prairie Crocus, May Day Flower, and appropriately, Easter Flower: those of you who perceive the etymology of words might have guessed the latter. Pasque comes from paschal: ‘of, or relating to, Easter or Passover.’ Picking up on the symbolism within the Jewish celebration of Passover, where a lamb’s blood protected the Hebrew people from the ravages of death (see Exodus 12), Jesus, in 1 Corinthians 5:7, is referred to as our Passover, or paschal, lamb. Though there are other flowers also associated with the blood of Christ (the Rose and Bleeding Heart among them), the Pasqueflower is associated with Easter by the timing of the season.
And so, with those redeemed of Christ throughout nearly one and a half millennia, we pray:
O Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, grant us Your peace.
O Lamb of God, Who takes
away the sins of the world,
grant us Your peace.
Interestingly, though the plant is full of toxins, its derivatives can be used medicinally for birthing/labor issues and certain vision impairments. These uses offer all kinds of possibilities for further spiritual symbolisms, connecting Easter life to our circumstances, if we wanted to go that route.
Finally, kudos to the State of South Dakota and the Canadian Province of Manitoba, both of which had the creative presence of mind to name the Pasqueflower their state/provincial bloom, though known there by different names.
~~RGM, March 14, 2013