The prairie crocus is a beloved sign of spring across the prairies.
The Cree name, mostos otisiy, ᒧᐢᑐᐢ ᐅᑎᓯᐩ, literally means “buffalo’s belly button.” There must have been a sacred story once that told us why.
In Manitoba, where the crocus is the provincial flower, the village of Arden – in typical môniyaw fashion – has sought attention for itself by creating the world’s largest crocus as a wayside attraction. The village hosts a crocus festival each year, and I still remember the time I got to stop and hunt for crocuses on my way from Winnipeg to visit the late Freda Ahenakew at Muskeg Lake. The village’s last photo contest was held in 2018. The photos in the attached collection would all make worthy entries, but they were taken at Hidden Valley, north of Regina, just last week by Solomon Ratt and Shannon Dumba. The photos include the labels sd for Shannon, sr for Solomon. I’ve also included a photo by George Penner of the Manitoba Historical Society of the highway monument that stays in bloom year round (you’ll see why I have a personal interest in this one!)