Jeanne and I were looking for flowers on our morning walk at Charleston Falls and not finding many. It's past the ephemeral flowers season and not yet the showy prairie flowers season.
But then we found this on the prairie.
The plant that came to my mind was American Columbo ( Frasera caroliniensis) but I had never seen one at Charleston Falls and didn't expect to see one. The only one I had ever seen was years ago on a high ridge in a wooded area at Brukner Nature Center. I didn't have a wildflower book with me so I wasn't about to name it.
Back home, I looked in three wildflower field guides and found American Columbo or Monument Plant in the third one, Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. There was no mistaking the identification. The size was right and the leaf arrangement was right. It is found in open woods and meadows, the two places where I had seen it.
Now that I knew the name, I looked it up on the Internet. There were good photos of the flowers which are distinctive.
I persuaded Tom to come see the plant the next day.
Sources seem convinced that after it blooms, it dies. So any flowering American Columbo that shows up in that same vicinity years down the road is a "new" plant.