Small Bluet (Tiny Bluet; Star Violet)
Mat-forming winter annual, a tiny courier of spring. Flowers about ¼ inch wide, at the top of a slender stem that usually branches only once, near the middle; subtended by minute bracts; 4 petals, purple-blue to deep violet or white with a reddish-purple center and a yellow throat; always pointed skyward. Blooms March-April. Basal leaves to ⅜ inch long, with a few opposite. Stem leaves opposite, smaller (less than ½ inch long), linear, sessile.
Similar species: There are 7 species of bluets recorded for Missouri. Big bluet (azure bluet, innocence, Quaker ladies) (Houstonia caerula), is perennial, has larger (½ inch wide), light or sky-blue flowers with a yellow center, stalks that branch at the base, and spatula-shaped basal leaves in a rosette. It grows to 8 inches tall and blooms April-May; found in acid soils of sandstone or granite, wet meadows, sandy open woods, and glades in eastern Ozarks.