The Look and Life of the Prairie
will do with this barn if the seed business doesn't work out," Rex Hamilton says with a wide smile.
The Hamiltons are producing a unique product at a time when there is growing interest in the restoration of all things native - from fish and animals to plants. They would shy from the description of them as some of the most knowledgeable people in Missouri in the area of prairie restoration, but they will in fact be responsible for much of the seeds, plants and roots that go out to people with an awakening enthusiasm for the state's prairie heritage.
Where to See Native Wildflowers on Public Lands
The best time to see native wildflowers in Missouri is in June when coneflowers start blooming, though there is probably something to enjoy from the end of March through October. In mid-August a smaller peak takes place when showy blazing star blooms.
Paintbrush Prairie Natural Area
This wildflower site is located on the 314 acre Paint Brush Prairie Conservation Area in Pettis County south of Sedalia. It has good access where it adjoins Highway 65. The area is home to rare plants and animals, including the endangered Mead's milkweed. For further information and a brochure of the site, contact the Wildlife District Supervisor, West Central District Office, 1014 Thompson Blvd., Sedalia 65301, or phone (816) 530-5500.
Taberville Prairie Natural Area
...is located on the 1,680-acre Taberville Prairie Conservation Area in St. Clair County. This is Missouri's largest natural area. It has upland prairie and a prairie headwaters stream. Its wildflowers and grasses create a beautiful landscape. To reach Taberville Prairie, go .5 mile east of Appleton City on Hwy. 52, then 2 miles south on Hwy. A, then 7 miles south on Hwy. H. For more information, contact the Wildlife District Supervisor, Osage District Office, 722 E. Hwy. 54, PO Box 106, El Dorado Springs 64744, or phone (417) 876-5226.
La Petite Gemme Natural Area
...is located south of Bolivar in Polk County. It is small compared to other prairie tracts but is of exceptional quality. The name is French for "the little gem" and recognizes the French influence on Missouri as well as the gemlike quality of the prairie wildflowers. The natural area is 1 mile west on the first county road west of the junction of Hwy. 13 and Business Hwy. 13. For more information, contact the Wildlife District Supervisor, Southwest District Office, 2630 N. Mayfair, Springfield 65803, or phone (417) 895-6880.
Niawathe Prairie Natural Area
...is a 240-acre site near Greenfield in Dade County. It features an upland tallgrass prairie. Interesting plants include fringed poppy mallow, blue false indigo, royal catchfly and the endangered Mead's milkweed. To reach the area go 1 mile west of Hwy. 97 on Hwy. E, then .5 mile north on an unnamed gravel road. For more information, contact the same district office listed for La Petite Gemme Natural Area.
- The source for this information is the Directory of Missouri Natural Areas, copyright 1996 by the Missouri Natural Areas Committee.