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The Missouri Native Plant Society

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Published on: Feb. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 10, 2010

"I brake for native plants" would be a suitable bumper sticker for Missouri Native Plant Society members, and such a sticker might help avert fender benders.

During a field trip in southwestern Missouri, Society members' cars and trucks formed a slow, dusty convoy along county roads. As they idled along, members occasionally stuck their arms out car windows to point out interesting roadside plants. With so much distraction and sudden stops, drivers had to remain vigilant to avoid hitting the vehicle ahead.

Keeping Track of Missouri's Plants

Missouri's plant life is exceptionally well documented, and known locations of endangered plants are mapped and recorded thanks to the Missouri Department of Conservation's Natural Heritage program. This information-a good amount gathered by MONPS members-guides the sound management of land to protect the plants. Missouri's Natural Heritage Program is a member of NatureServe, a non profit, international organization dedicated to developing and providing knowledge about the world's natural diversity.

In addition, the Flora of Missouri project, supported by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Botanical Garden, maintains descriptive information and distributions of all species of Missouri plants.

Dr. George Yatskievych, the director of the project, collects and analyzes Missouri plant information. He has used the information to write the revision of Julian Steyermark's landmark The Flora of Missouri, a book that contains a technical description of all plants known to have naturally growing populations outside of cultivation in Missouri. Steyermark's original work was published in 1963. The first volume of Yatskievych's revision was published in 1999, and the second is in production. Only a handful of states have active flora projects. If you would like to purchase a copy of Steyermark's The Flora of Missouri by George Yatskievych, you may order it online from the Missouri Department of Conservation's Nature Shopor call toll-free (877) 521-8632.

The Missouri Native Plant Society dates back to 1979. Its members work as nurses, historians, doctors, homemakers, sheep farmers, teachers and biologists, but they go wild several times a year. Their field trips have taken them to every corner of the state. Not only have the society's members uncovered many plant treasures, they also know where the state's best homemade pies are served!

"At first I went on only an occasional weekend trip," said Jack Harris, current president of the Missouri Native Plant Society, "but that was enough to get me hooked."

The purpose of MONPS is to promote the enjoyment, preservation, conservation, restoration and

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