Looking like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, the seed heads of western pasqueflower (Pulsatilla occidentalis, Ranunculaceae) are a definite curiosity. In the spring and early summer this plant produces large, creamy white flowers that attract insects. By late summer the pollinated flowers develop into these fluffy, tufted clusters of dry fruit. These structures and the fine, thin basal foliage can persist well into autumn.
A native of the Pacific Northwest region, western pasqueflower occurs on well-drained mountain slopes. I came across these individuals this month at around 6000 feet (1829 m) of elevation at Glacier National Park in Montana and Mount Rainier National Park in Washington.