Dutchman’s breeches, a common spring wildflower, is easy to identify. Note its bluish-green, fernlike leaves, and its leafless stalks, from which dangle several white flowers shaped like old-fashioned knee breeches.
There are nearly 20 species in the genus Ranunculus in Missouri. Identify early buttercup by its early blooming time, its distinctively shaped, usually hairy leaves, and its preference for open woods, glades, or prairies.
Micranthes virginiensis (also called Saxifraga virginiensis)
The name "saxifrage" means "rock-breaker." The meaning of the name helps you remember the habitat of early saxifrage—rock outcroppings, ledges, glades, and bluffs. In Missouri, it blooms February through June.
Cacti make us think of the desert southwest, but there is at least one species native to Missouri. This prickly pear grows in glades, sand prairies, rocky open hillsides, and other dry, sun-soaked areas.
You may not recognize elephant’s foot as a member of the daisy or sunflower family because it lacks petal-like ray florets. Also, it has unusual, doubly compound flower clusters. And how did it get its name, anyway?
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