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?
"Pip, pip, and cheerio!" Many of our most common weeds traveled with European colonists "across the pond" and have done "smashingly well" over here! Like the common dandelion, English plantain should be familiar to every Missourian.
This pretty, long-blooming, pink-flowered sweet pea is a native of the Old World. An old-fashioned garden plant your grandma might have grown on a fence, everlasting pea often persists at old homesites.
False aloe is one of the few native Missouri plants related to the agaves, or century plants, of the Southwest. Unlike agaves, a false aloe rosette can bloom and rebloom, and doesn’t die after sending up a flowering stalk.
False dragonhead is a member of the mint family that grows 3-4 feet tall and forms dense spikes of pink or lavender snapdragon-like flowers. When you push one of the flowers sideways, it "obediently" stays in place for a while.
One of eleven water primrose species in Missouri, false loosestrife is distinguished by its cubical fruits that open at a pore in the tip. Look for it in wet places like the edges of ponds, ditches, and along rivers and streams.
To distinguish false rue anemone from "true" rue anemone, look for the following: 5 white (not pinkish) sepals, and leaves present on the flowering stems. Confirm your identification by noting that it's growing in a colony (not singly) and is in a moist, low area.
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