Purple prairie flowers puzzle passerbys

MITCHELL COUNTY, Iowa – The Midwest farming region is known for its supply of corn and soybeans, but there is a relatively new crop growing in north Iowa that has been getting some attention.

Between Manly and Osage on Hwy 9, there are four plots of land that are bright purple. Many people who drive by think the area has just been over grown with weeds, but we are told these purple fields have a purpose. These acres are home to the crop Monarda, or horsemint.

Todd Von Ehwegen, a naturalist with the Lime Creek Nature Center tells us this plant is indigenous to the area, and used to be a popular homeopathic remedy used by the Native Americans. The prairie flower was used to treat things like “skin irritations, sore throats and even, what we now call the common cold,” he explains.

The owners of the land wish to remain anonymous, but tell us the plans for the plant have been growing over the last couple of years. The growers also tell us that if folks haven’t had the chance to see the sea of purple, they better act quickly, since they plan to harvest the land within the next week.

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