Long-Leaved Bluets (Slender-Leaved Bluets)

Houstonia longifolia (sometimes called Hedyotis longifolia)
Family: 
Rubiaceae (madders)
Description: 

A perennial herb with upright, slender, branching stalks arising from a basal rosette of leaves. Flowers on slender stems arising from upper leaf axils, in loose or crowded clusters, minute, white or pinkish, with 4 petals that are hairy on the inside surface. Blooms April–July. Basal leaves in a rosette, narrow, linear. Stem leaves are opposite, oblong to linear. Both types have only one central vein.

Similar species: There are six other species of bluets in Missouri.

Size: 
Height: to 8 inches; sometimes taller.
Habitat and conservation: 
Occurs on prairies, rocky, open slopes, glades, open woods, and old fields. It usually occurs on acid soils but also is found on limestone.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Can be found in the Ozarks, south of a line drawn from southwestern corner of state to St. Louis. This is roughly the southeastern half of Missouri.
Human connections: 
There are many fun and engrossing activities in Missouri's outdoors. One of these is "botanizing," or hunting for a variety of plants the way birders seek out and identify different species of birds. All you need is a good field guide and perhaps a camera with a good closeup lens.
Ecosystem connections: 
The flowers, though tiny, attract a number of insect pollinators, including bees, flies, and butterflies. The foliage doubtless is included in the foraging of numerous herbivorous mammals.
Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/17512