Plant id – pasque flower

(Question)

My friend saw this plant recently while walking along a Toronto street in the Yonge & Davisville area. Can you tell us what it is?

 

(Answer)

This looks like a Pulsatilla vulgaris, or pasque flower.  There are several cultivars, including those with deeply dissected petals that make the edges of the flowers edges look frilled or fringed – like this one.  Take a look at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s article about Pulsatilla vulgaris subsp. grandis ‘Papageno’.  It includes some photos, as well as characteristics of the plant.  It blooms in spring (hence the name “pasque” flower, which refers to Easter).  And ‘Papageno’ likely comes from the colourful feathered bird-catcher featured in Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute.