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. Thisearly blooming beauty is one of the first flowers to brighten our earlyspring hikes and may be found in many locations throughout Missouri andthe United States as a whole. The daffodil's blooms may run many different colors with combinations of whites, yellows, pinks, oranges and more. Forthose of you who are dog lovers, you'll certainly want to think twicebefore planting these in your yard. These flowers are poisonous, withtheir bulbs containing the bulk of the poison compounds andveterinarians 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)
We found this little brilliant blue beauty on our hike on the Shut InTrail at Sam A. Baker State Park and we were awestruck by it'stechnicolor shade. This perennial may grow up to three feet tall, withdark 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 usuallyfound blooming from May to early July and these beautiful blooms maywill only open up for one solitary day! If you are truly lucky you mayeven happen upon the rare rose colored variety of this plant, so keep an eye out on your next hike in Missouri.
Skullcap (Scutellaria incana)
This scary sounding flower is actually quite beautiful and should not beconfused 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 calyxof the flower. It's beautiful blue to violet blooms can be seen fromJuly through September on plants that may be as tall as 30 to 40 inches. Hummingbirds and honey bees love these blossoms and can commonly beseen going about their pollinating business on the flowers. I took thephoto shown on a late summer hike through Hawn State Park in Missouri,in a partially shaded area. These native Missouri wildflowers grow bestin the full sun to partially shaded areas in open woods, clearings, oralong 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 amulti-tiered, whorled, globular clusters that rest upon their own little bracts, perched atop a square stem that can reach nearly three feettall. Many insects may nibble upon this plant, which may make itsappealing blooms appear tattered by late July and August.
Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
This fragrant flowering vine is native to eastern Asia, including China,Japan and Korea. Its vines may climb up to 33 feet or higher in treesand will host wonderfully smelling, double-tongued white to yellowflowers. To me, summer simply hasn't started until the honeysuckle'ssweet vanilla-like scent begins to sail upon the breeze. Many of us mayhave grown up learning to pluck the flower and then remove the stamen,ever so carefully, which may contain a single drop of sweet nectar uponit which we could lick. The plant serves as refreshment not only forchildren seeking a bit of nectar, but also deer, rabbits, hummingbirdsand other wildlife who may consume a significant amount of the plant.You may actually find this invasive species sold in your local nurseryunder the name Lonicera "Halls Prolific".
Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus carota)
This relatively royal sounding wildflower gets its common name from itsresemblance to lace, with the middle, reddish colored flower (whichserves to attract insects), is imagined to be a droplet of blood fromwhere Queen Anne pricked her finger while making the lace. This somewhat common wildflower can be seen all over the state of Missouri andIllinois and is, in fact, a relative of the domesticated carrot, henceits other common name, the Wild Carrot. You may actually eat the taproot of this plant, although you should be very, very careful as our friendQueen Anne's Lace looks very much like Poison Hemlock (Hippocrates would disapprove), also avoid the leaves of the plant as they are toxic aswell. Look for the blooms from May through October and for a fun littlescience experiment you can cut these wildflowers and set them in foodcolored water to color the small flowers.
❀❀❀❀ RED ❀❀❀❀
Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
This woody vine isn't "creepy" at all, it's a vigorous grower here in theheartland known for its beautiful trumpet shaped red flowers which bloom from June through July. Thisinvasive 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 nectarcontained 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 theplant 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.