This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Among the earliest flowers that may be seen on these plains is the above member of the Mal-lom family. The general form of the leaf is round, but it is parted or cleft and cut-lobed. The root is thick and fleshy, resembling a parsnip in form, and frequently reaching an inch in diameter. It is a perennial, being perfectly hardy here, and extending into Nebraska, and far up toward the mountains. Several stems grow from one root, and these spread out on the surface of the ground, and are thus rendered rather inconspicuous after taller vegetation has advanced somewhat. But, though humble in its manner of growth, this plant compels the attention of all who come near it by the brilliancy and beauty of its numerous flowers. The flowers grow on axillary peduncles that are from two to five inches in length. The flowers are about two inches in diameter, and vary in color from a brilliant scarlet to a dark mauve, excelling in size and rivaling in brilliancy the most splendid varieties of portulacca. Beginning in May, they continue to bloom in great profusion throughout the whole season. Where several of them grow near together, they cover the surface with their branching stems, and make a bed of dazzling beauty throughout the summer.
It seeds freely, and the seed is easily procured by a little attention. It is quite tenacious of life, and it is readily transplanted, so that it is an easy matter to have a fine bed, or even a whole yard or lawn covered with these rich colored flowers. Occasionally we see them transplanted to the garden or yard here, but on account of their commonness but little attention is given to their cultivation. This is certainly worthy of more attention in the States further east than it is receiving.