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Content tagged with "edible"

Photo of slender mountain mint blooming

Slender Mountain Mint (Blooming)

When slender mountain mint opens its flowers, each has the typical, two-lipped mint configuration: The upper lip is not lobed, and the lower lip has three lobes. The petals are white or pale lavender, often with little purple spots.

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Photo of slender mountain mint flower clusters in bud

Slender Mountain Mint (In Bud)

Even in bud, slender mountain mint catches your eye. It has tightly packed heads of pointed white buds, with long, pointed, nearly linear bracts below the heads. It blooms June–September.

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Photo of smooth spiderwort flowers being visited by beelike syrphid flies

Smooth Spiderwort

Tradescantia ohiensis
Smooth spiderwort is the most common and widely distributed of Missouri's spiderworts. It has slender, straight or zigzag stems. The long, narrow leaves are folded lengthwise and attach to the stem in a thick node. The 3 petals of the triangular flower are blue, rose, purple, lavender, or white.

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Photo of smooth spiderwort flowers being visited by beelike syrphid flies

Smooth Spiderwort

Each spiderwort flower is open for just one day. Many insects, like the beelike syrphid flies shown here, pollinate spiderwort. Since each flower is open for just one day, and usually closes before noon, the pollinators have to work quickly.

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Photo of smooth spiderwort flower cluster

Smooth Spiderwort (Flowers)

Smooth spider has 3 petals, which are blue, rose, purple, lavender, or (rarely) white; the overall shape of the flower is triangular, about ¾–1½ inches across. The stamens are bearded and fluffy. The flower clusters are subtended by 1 or 2 leaves similar to the rest of the leaves—long, narrow, folded lengthwise, and clasping the stem in a thick node.

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Photo of smooth spiderwort from side showing structure of flower cluster

Smooth Spiderwort (Side View)

Smooth spiderwort is named for the smoothness of its foliage; it typically lacks hairs on the vegetative parts. Each flower is open for a day. When it closes, it droops down, making room in the flower cluster for new buds to bloom the following day.

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photo of a Smooth Sumac seed head

Smooth Sumac

Rhus glabra
This colony-forming shrub is most noticeable in early autumn, because it is one of the first plants to turn color—and boy, can it turn a brilliant red! If you're into wild edibles, you'll want to learn to identify smooth sumac, so you can make drinks and jellies from the clusters of fuzzy red berries.

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Photo of blooming spiderwort plants

Spiderwort

There are 8 species of spiderworts in Missouri, plus several documented hybrids that display characteristics of more than one species. Smooth spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) hybridizes with nearly all of them, and it is the commonest and most widely distributed of Missouri’s spiderworts.

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Photo of spring cress flower clusters

Spring Cress (Bitter Cress)

For a plant in the mustard family, spring cress bears rather showy flowers. They are visited by a variety of insects, which gather nectar and often pollinate the plant, too. Nearly all the members of the mustard family, including broccoli and radishes, have flowers with four petals.

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Photo of spring cress plant with flowers

Spring Cress (Bitter Cress)

Like many of its relatives in the mustard family, spring cress has a bitter or pungent flavor, similar to horseradish. It is sometimes used as a condiment and in salads. Or you could just enjoy the pretty white flowers!

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