Common cinquefoil, or five-finger, is named for its leaves, which are divided into five fingerlike leaflets. One of seven cinquefoils in Missouri, it blooms from April to June and is scattered nearly statewide.
Common gerardia is a small, showy wildflower identified by its slender, opposite leaves and thin, wiry, branching stems. The small, funnel-shaped blossoms are pink or purple, with an upper lip that arches over the 4 hairy stamens.
You’ve seen tomatillos in the grocery store, and you’ve probably enjoyed a delicious salsa verde at a Mexican restaurant. Common ground cherry is closely related to the tomatillo, and its fruits are edible, too.
Pretty but poisonous, jimsonweed has white goblet-shaped flowers that open around midnight. This native of tropical America was introduced nearly throughout the United States and thrives in disturbed soils.
A wildflower common statewide, found in a variety of habitats, common milkweed is famous as a food plant for monarch butterflies. It is also notable for its curious seedpods bearing seeds that fly on silky parachutes.
Common reed is both native and exotic, but it’s the exotic subspecies that has become an invasive problem. Taking over wetlands with its dense stands, it changes the plant and animal communities and even the way the water flows.
Whether you see the wild form or any of the many cultivated varieties, this “poster child” of the sunflower family cultivates its own sunny impression. Common sunflower is also the state flower of Kansas.
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