South Dakota is a beautiful state of varied landscapes from sprawling prairies, rich farmland, green ranchland, glacial lakes, and beautiful mountains. In 1903 the state floral emblem for South Dakota was chosen to be the American Pasque (Pulsatilla hirsutissima). Pasque (or pasqueflower) grows native and wild all across the state. It is known by many names including May Day flower, Easter flower, prairie crocus, Prairie smoke, meadow anemone, Goslinweed, windflower, and sand flower.
The American Pasque is a solitary tallgrass prairie flower and is the first flower to bloom in early Spring, often poking its bloom out through the snow before it is completely melted away. It is considered by many to be the first sign of Spring in the state. It is a member of the buttercup family, a low perennial, and it is rare for it to grow over six inches. Paques have a beautiful, showy bloom that is in the purple family, and it can vary from lavender to a deep reddish-purple. The Native Americans of the area used the plant medicinally for hundreds of years, but modern scientists have discovered that it is actually highly toxic.