Find a beautiful flower while out on your hike, or maybe just see one along the side of the road during your commute? Check here to see what type of flower it may be, as we update our Wildflower Page with photos and descriptions of the botanical beauties of Missouri and more.
The daffodil may have received its genus name from the old myth of a young Greek hunter, Narcissus,
who fell in love with his own reflection and... well... drowned. This
early blooming beauty is one of the first flowers to brighten our early
spring hikes and may be found in many locations throughout Missouri and
the United States as a whole. The daffodil's blooms may run many different colors
with combinations of whites, yellows, pinks, oranges and more. For
those of you who are dog lovers, you'll certainly want to think twice
before planting these in your yard. These flowers are poisonous, with
their bulbs containing the bulk of the poison compounds and
veterinarians have stated that as little as one ingested bulb could kill some pets.
Roundleaf Ragwort (Packera obovata)
This Member of the Aster family sounds like something Harry Potter would toss into a potion, doesn't it? Well, Harry would be happy to find this flower as it is one of the earliest bloomers out there, with a beautiful yellow color, you may spot these on your walks, hikes or even your daily commute to work. Once roundleaf ragwort has established a foothold in an area, it will colonize quickly, providing an attractive bit of ground cover as it blooms. Other common names for Packera obovata are: Golden groundsel, Roundleaf groundsel and Squawweed.
❀❀❀❀ PURPLE &BLUE ❀❀❀❀
Ohio Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)
found this little brilliant blue beauty on our hike on the Shut In
Trail at Sam A. Baker State Park and we were awestruck by it's
technicolor shade. This perennial may grow up to three feet tall, with
dark blue-green grass-like leaves that measure up to 1.5 inches long and
1.75 inches wide. The blue colored three-petaled flowers are usually
found blooming from May to early July and these beautiful blooms may
will only open up for one solitary day! If you are truly lucky you may
even happen upon the rare rose colored variety of this plant, so keep an
eye out on your next hike in Missouri.
Skullcap (Scutellaria incana)
scary sounding flower is actually quite beautiful and should not be
confused for the warm sporty head-wear that also bears the same name.
This wild beauty nabs it's name from the skull (or helmet) shaped calyx
of the flower. It's beautiful blue to violet blooms can be seen from
July through September on plants that may be as tall as 30 to 40 inches.
Hummingbirds and honey bees love these blossoms and can commonly be
seen going about their pollinating business on the flowers. I took the
photo shown on a late summer hike through Hawn State Park in Missouri,
in a partially shaded area. These native Missouri wildflowers grow best
in the full sun to partially shaded areas in open woods, clearings, or
along streams and are quite drought tolerant.
Wild Sweet William (Phlox divaricata)
Talk about a "wild" flower you can take home to momma... Ok, bad joke I know, but this is one of the prettiest flowers that we come along frequently on our hikes. This wildflower is an early bloomer (April-June), that seeks shady to partly shady rich soils in areas of the woods and near creeks. This sweet smelling flower is a favorite of deer, grouse and butterflies. Belonging to the Polemoniaceae (phloxes) family you may hear Wild Sweet William go by the name of Blue Phlox as well, but remember a Sweet William by any name would smell as sweet. Usually the blooms will be blue, lavender, or white, however, you may spy a red or pink as well. One must love the diversity of this perennial wildflower. Please note, the Missouri Department of Conservation asks that you do not dig up Sweet William for home use, but to find an ethical nursery to purchase your beautiful blooms from.
❀❀❀❀ WHITE ❀❀❀❀
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Always be kind to your Elderberries... Seriously. These woody shrub(ish) type of wildflowers have been touted to possess some seriously helpful traits to us. Some folks take Elderberry supplements in order to help with a bevy of flu like symptoms such as: fever, headache, sore throat, fatigue, cough and good old fashioned body aches. The berries contain a natural substance called flavonoids, and according to some studies, these flavonoids have been found to help reduce swelling, fight inflammation, and boost the immune system. The small white flowers, which usually appear as large, disk shaped clusters, can perch on woody stems that may reach over ten feet tall. In addition to the multitude of uses for the berries in jams, jellies, syrups, wine-making and as health supplements, the flowers themselves smell absolutely delightful, so go grab yourself a noseful and then, possibly a glassful too... But a quick pro tip, these berries are TART, so they aren't really for snacking on raw as you hit the open trail, unless you like making an instant "pucker face". The Elderberry's flavors shine best when cooked.
Hairy Wood-Mint (Blephilia hirsuta)
I had quite the time trying to identify this Missouri native perennial we spotted on a short hike through Sam A. Baker. I was positive that it was some type of mint, due to the distinctly minty aroma that it's leaves emitted when rubbed together.
The plant's alluring little white flowers are arranged in a
multi-tiered, whorled, globular clusters that rest upon their own little
bracts, perched atop a square stem that can reach nearly three feet
tall. Many insects may nibble upon this plant, which may make its
appealing blooms appear tattered by late July and August.
Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
fragrant flowering vine is native to eastern Asia, including China,
Japan and Korea. Its vines may climb up to 33 feet or higher in trees
and will host wonderfully smelling, double-tongued white to yellow
flowers. To me, summer simply hasn't started until the honeysuckle's
sweet vanilla-like scent begins to sail upon the breeze. Many of us may
have grown up learning to pluck the flower and then remove the stamen,
ever so carefully, which may contain a single drop of sweet nectar upon
it which we could lick. The plant serves as refreshment not only for
children seeking a bit of nectar, but also deer, rabbits, hummingbirds
and other wildlife who may consume a significant amount of the plant.
You may actually find this invasive species sold in your local nursery
under the name Lonicera "Halls Prolific".
Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota)
relatively royal sounding wildflower gets its common name from its
resemblance to lace, with the middle, reddish colored flower (which
serves to attract insects), is imagined to be a droplet of blood from
where Queen Anne pricked her finger while making the lace. This somewhat
common wildflower can be seen all over the state of Missouri and
Illinois and is, in fact, a relative of the domesticated carrot, hence
its other common name, the Wild Carrot. You may actually eat the taproot
of this plant, although you should be very, very careful as our friend
Queen Anne's Lace looks very much like Poison Hemlock (Hippocrates would
disapprove), also avoid the leaves of the plant as they are toxic as
well. Look for the blooms from May through October and for a fun little
science experiment you can cut these wildflowers and set them in food
colored water to color the small flowers.
❀❀❀❀ RED ❀❀❀❀
Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
woody vine isn't "creepy" at all, it's a vigorous grower here in the
heartland known for its beautiful trumpet shaped red flowers which bloom from June through July. This
invasive weed can grow over 30 feet in length and 7 inches in width,
climbing trees, bushes and nearly anything else in its path.
Hummingbirds love the showy blooms of the Trumpet Creeper and along with
honeybees are among the few creatures that can reach the sweet nectar
contained within the long, narrow flower. Trumpet Creeper may also go by
the common names of Trumpet Vine. Trumpet Creeper also has less flattering common names such as; Cow Itch, a nickname given to the
plant due to the rash it occasionally causes in some animals, Hellvine and Devil's Shoestring. The vine can cause damage to concrete and masonry if allowed to creep upon it.