Blue vervain is a tall, slender, erect perennial with branching stems and rough hairs. Its tubular flowers are clustered in many terminal spikes, and can be deep purple, violet, light lavender, or rarely white.
It has grasslike leaves, but it’s not a grass. In fact, it’s in the same family as the common garden iris! Four species of blue-eyed grass grow in Missouri, and this one, often found on prairies, glades, and pastures, is the most common.
The flowers of blue-eyed Mary are only about a half inch wide, but this pretty plant makes up for it by usually appearing in abundance, covering a patch of forest floor with little sky-blue and white “faces.”
Brown-eyed Susan is a bushy perennial with much-branching stems and plenty of flowerheads. Compared to Missouri’s other Rudbeckia species, its flowerheads are the smallest, growing to only about one inch across.
Bull thistle is a weedy introduction from Europe, found statewide. To tell it from our other thistles, note its stems with spiny-margined wings, and its leaves with the upper surface strongly roughened with stiff, spiny bristles.
Butterfly pea is a low, shrubby, or twining perennial in the pea family, with showy, butterfly-like flowers. The leaves are compound with three leaflets. This species grows in the southern parts of Missouri, in acid soils.
This bright orange milkweed is a favorite nectar plant for butterflies, and the leaves are eaten by the caterpillars of monarch butterflies. One of our showiest native wildflowers, butterfly weed is also a favorite of gardeners.
Canada thistle is a native to Eurasia and arrived on our continent probably before the Revolutionary War—most likely mixed in agricultural seed. A bad weed of crop fields and rangeland farther north, it causes problems in Missouri, too.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources.
We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature.
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