Called the Show Me state, Missouri is known for its iconic Gateway Arch and delicious barbecue. But did you know that this state is home to a wide array of plant life? The wildflowers in Missouri range in size, shape, color, and even bloom time. Many of these plants are considered beneficial, providing food for various insects and wildlife. Read on to learn about 14 different wildflowers in Missouri.
14 Wildflowers in Missouri
State Wildflowers of Missouri
The state flower of Missouri is the White Hawthorn Blossom, also known as the Missouri Hawthorn. The White Hawthorn Blossom is a symbol of Missouri’s natural beauty and is celebrated each year during the Hawthorn Blossom Festival held in the town of Labadie. The flower is also known for its medicinal properties and is used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.
Scientific Name: Echinacea spp.
Missouri is home to various species of coneflowers, which are an important food source for various pollinators. Coneflowers come in a wide array of colors, such as yellow and purple, and have a dark brown center that sticks up above the petals. Coneflowers are found throughout the state, and thrive in full sun.
Scientific Name: Solidago spp.
Goldenrod is another important wildflower that honeybees, as well as other pollinators, love. What’s even better is that this plant is found all over Missouri. This plant produces tall stalks that have clusters of small golden yellow flowers near the top.
They spread easily and can be found growing in a wide array of habitats, including areas where other flowers don’t normally grow.
3. Swamp Milkweed
Scientific Name: Asclepias incarnata
The Swamp milkweed, as well as other species of milkweed, is arguably one of the most important wildflowers in Missouri due to the Monarch butterfly relying on this plant for survival. Swamp milkweed produces clusters of pinkish to purple blooms on tall stalks. They are distributed throughout Missouri, growing in damp soils.
4. Wild Geranium
Scientific Name: Geranium maculatum
The Wild Geranium, also known as Cranes Bill, is a perennial that produces branched stems that are stiff and hairy. Their flowers measure about an inch across and have 5 petals that are dark magenta, rose, or pink in color. These blooms appear from April to June, and supply nectar and pollen to various insects.
Rodents will sometimes consume the seeds of this plant, while deer and other herbivores can eat the leaves. You can typically find this wildflower in wooded areas.
5. Virginia Bluebells
Scientific Name: Mertensia virginica
Virginia Bluebells are a native Missouri plant found in rich wooded areas and river floodplains throughout the state. It is a clumping wildflower that can grow up to 2 inches tall. It produces clusters of blue trumpet-shaped blooms that appear in early spring.
6. Missouri Primrose
Scientific Name: Oenothera macrocarpa
The Missouri Primrose is often used as a native ground cover in the state. It reaches heights of between 6 and 10 inches tall, tolerates drought and poor soil quality, and has a long bloom period. Its yellow flowers are rather larger, reaching about 4 inches across, and will appear from spring through the summer months.
7. Tatarian Aster
Scientific Name: Aster tataricus
While asters are a large genus of flowering plants found throughout the United States, there is only one true aster that grows wild in Missouri, and that is the Tatarian Aster. This non-native perennial comes from East Asia and can grow aggressively. It has basal-like leaves that are shaped like a paddle and purple blooms.
Scientific Name: Campanula rotundifolia
Known as harebell or bluebell, this delicate wildflower produces bell-shaped nodding blooms that are blue in color. These flowers can appear singly or in clusters and typically show up from June to September. Harebell thrives in grasslands, crevices, sandy shores, rocky slopes, and meadows.
9. Eastern Red Columbine
Scientific Name: Aquilegia canadensis
The Easter Red Columbine is a native wildflower that can be found in rocky woods, open areas, ledges, and slopes throughout the state. It produces red-colored bell-shaped flowers that drop and attracts hummingbirds, moths, and butterflies.
10. Marsh Marigold
Scientific Name: Caltha palustris
The Marsh Marigold thrives in wet meadows and swamps, and was first reported in the state of Missouri in 1987. It reached just barely over 1 foot tall and wide, and produces small yellow blooms that appear in April. Marsh Marigold continues to bloom until June.
11. Purple Prairie Clover
Scientific Name: Dalea purpurea
The Purple Prairie Clover is found throughout the state, except for the Mississippi Lowlands, and produces purplish flowers on tall stalks. It can reach about 3 feet tall and is found in open wooded areas, glades, prairies, and along roadsides. Because this plant is a member of the legumes, it can actually fix nitrogen in the soil.
12. Rose Verbena
Scientific Name: Glandularia canadensis
The Rose Verbena is a herbaceous perennial that grows no more than 12 inches tall. It produces hairy stems that spread along the ground. These stems can take root wherever they touch the ground.
From March to November, the Rose Verbena produces rose, purple, or magenta blooms that appear in flat-topped clusters. This wildflower is found in most areas of the state and thrives in various habitats.
13. Black-Eyed Susan
Scientific Name: Rudbeckia hirta
The Black-Eyed Susans may be one of the most easily recognized wildflowers that are found throughout the state of Missouri. This plant is related to daisies and sunflowers, and produces a vibrant deep yellow bloom with a reddish brown to black center. These blooms appear from May to October, and attract various pollinating insects.
14. Downy Phlox
Scientific Name: Phlox pilosa
The Downy Phlox is a perennial wildflower that can be found in woodland areas, as well as in prairies and even along the road. It produces loose clusters of pinkish rose-colored blooms from February to April and attracts various butterflies and moths, which drink the plant’s nectar.
Best Places to see Wildflowers in Missouri
If you’re looking for spring wildflowers, one of the best locations is the Amidon Memorial Conservation Area, which stretches across Madison and Bollinger counties. Here you will find over 1,600 acres of land that is filled with various plant life. Other options for seeing wildflowers in Missouri include Mark Twain National Forest, Cape Girardeau Nature Center, and Bluffwoods Conservation Area.
Missouri also has an impressive 92 state parks, most of which contain various trails for hiking. These trails take you throughout the parks, allowing you to view native and non-native flora and fauna found in the state.