Wildflower Favorites

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Published on: Jun. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 26, 2010

Missouri's natural landscapes are rich in beautiful wildflowers. From the open, windswept prairies of the Osage plains to the rugged Ozark hills there is a seasonal progression of colorful flowers that have adapted to our climate and soils over the last 10,000 years. Those special places, where native wildflowers still grow in profusion as they did before the state was settled, have long been valued and protected by Missourians.

Over the last decade there has been a growing interest in using native wildflowers in residential landscaping. The same plants that grace our woodlands, prairies and glades can enhance your home landscape with their beauty and their benefits to wildlife. Once established, these plants typically require little or no watering, fertilizing or disease control. With the continuing conversion of natural habitats to other uses, we can help conserve native plants by providing a place for wildflowers in the home landscape.

Featured here are 12 of the most popular native wildflowers that are now being used in flower gardens and other plantings around the home. All are perennials that can add color to your surroundings for years to come. It's easy to see why these beauties are being planted!

Plants of sunny, open habitats

Smooth beard-tongue (Penstemon digitalis)

Flowers: May - July

Look for the showy white flower clusters of smooth beard-tongue in Missouri's prairies, moist alluvial woodlands, roadsides and fallow fields throughout most of the state. In cultivation the species needs sun to partial shade and moist soil. It can grow to 4 feet in height with many stems. The name "beard-tongue" refers to one of the five stamens that is modified into a hairy, tonguelike structure that helps in pollination.

Tickseed coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)

Flowers: April - July

A plant of rocky prairies, roadsides and glades, tickseed coreopsis grows mostly in the Ozarks. It spreads well from seed and can colonize dry, disturbed areas with poor soil. Plant in locations receiving full sun to partial shade. Stems grow in clumps and reach heights of about two feet. Five other native species of coreopsis grow in Missouri. Some have seeds that can stick to clothing, thus the name "tickseed."

New England aster (Aster novae-angliae)

Flowers: August - October

One of the showiest of our native asters, New England aster grows in moist sites in prairies and in low areas along streams throughout much of

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