24 Most Beautiful Missouri Native Wildflowers

Curious about wildflowers of Missouri? Whether you’re interested in identifying blooms on your hikes or looking to plant native flowers in your yard, you’re in the right place. Let’s explore some of the common Missouri native wildflowers and how you can enjoy them both in the wild and at home.

When we moved to Kansas City I began researching wildflowers and native plants for the area. Our local farmers market has a vendor who only sells native plants and flowers and each spring, we plant a few more in our yard. I love them because many attract butterflies.

Various wildflowers in my backyard

So far, I have planted blue indigo, prairie blazing star, verbena, purple Missouri coneflower, black eyed Susan, rose milkweed and can’t wait to choose a few new ones to plant this year. I also love to find good local hikes in early spring to see wildflowers and take photos.

What Does is Mean For Wildflowers to be Native?

Native wildflowers in Missouri or anywhere, are naturally occurring plants that have evolved and adapted to the specific environmental conditions of the region over time.

Where to Find Wildflowers for a Garden

You can find wildflower and native plants at any garden store. While big brands like Home Depot and Lowes carry some, I find locally owned garden stores tend to have a better assortment to choose from. Also, as I mentioned above, you will probably be able to find them at a local farmers market. If all else fails, you can find Missouri Wildflower Seeds on Amazon.

Missouri Native Wildflowers

Once established, wildflowers in Missouri typically require little or no watering, fertilizing or disease control. If you are looking for wildflowers in nature, you’ll be able to find them from early spring through early fall.

List of 24 Missouri Native Wildflowers

Black-Eyed Susan 

Black-Eyed Susan 
  • Scientific Name: Rudbeckia hirta 
  • Plant Family: It belongs to the Asteraceae family., which includes daisies and sunflowers.
  • Description: The black-eyed Susan can be easily identified as its bright yellow petals spread out like sun rays around the black-colored cone, also known as the eye. This Missouri wildflower is bigger than many other wildflower options. With its cheerful yellow petals and dark brown center, the Black-Eyed Susan is a classic sight in Missouri’s meadows and roadsides, especially in late summer.
  • Size: It can grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall.
  • Blooming Season: May to October, with June considered to be the peak blooming season.
  • Symbolizes: Black-eyes Susan symbolizes encouragement.
  • Habitat and Conservation: These Missouri native wildflowers grow in openings of moist to dry uplands and include lands like forests, pastures, railroads, old fields, roadsides, and open areas. They are a great option to plant in your garden.
  • Special Features: 
    • Easy to grow. 
    • The patterns on flowers reflect UV light that’s invisible to humans, but bees and insects can see it and attracts them.

Purple Coneflower 

Coneflowers in my front yard
  • Scientific Name: Echinacea purpurea
  • Plant Family: It belongs to the Asteraceae family that includes daisies and sunflowers.
  • Description: The purple coneflower can be easily identified because of its big, purplish-pink flowers that grow on hard stems. It has a showy daisy-like appearance and a spiked, cone-shaped center. 
  • Size: It can grow up to 2 to 5 feet tall.
  • Blooming Season: May – October
  • Symbolizes: Purple cornflowers symbolize life and fertility.
  • Habitat and Conservation: These flowers grow in moist prairies, meadows, and open woods, but they can adapt to heat, humidity, and poor soil conditions as well.
  • Special Features: 
    • It is easy to grow in sunny areas to part shades.
    • These can grow in a range of soil types, from dry to medium moisture levels.

These large wildflowers native to Missouri have showy flower heads of purple can appear in open woodlands throughout most of Missouri. A single older plant can have many stems of flowering heads.

The flowers produced throughout the summer are a good nectar source for butterflies. Of the several native coneflowers, this species is the most widely grown in cultivation. It grows well in light shade to full sun in average to moist soil. Many gardeners like to use this plant for cut flowers. A related plant, pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida), has similar characteristics but tolerates drier soils.

Bluebell Bellflower 

Bluebell Bellflower 
  • Scientific Name: Campanula rotundifolia
  • Plant Family: It belongs to the Campanulacea family. 
  • Description: The blue bellflower is known for its delicate and graceful appearance. As the name suggested, the flowers are bell-shaped and blue-violet hanging at the stems’ tip. 
  • Size: It can grow up to 1 to 1.5 feet tall.
  • Blooming Season: Blooms throughout summer and fall.
  • Symbolizes: The Bluebell flower symbolizes gratitude, humility, and everlasting love.
  • Habitat and Conservation: These Native Missouri wildflowers grow in full or part shade. Their water needs are average, and they can grow in chalk, loam, and sandy soil. 
  • Special Features: 
    • These flowers are effectively disease & pest-free. Also, these are deer-resistant.

Cardinal 

Cardinal wildflower
  • Scientific Name: Lobelia cardinalis
  • Plant Family: It belongs to the Campanulacea (bellflower) family. 
  • Description: The cardinal red flower grows in bunchs, first unbranched and later starts flowering side branches. These flowers are 2-lipped, with 3 lobes of the lower lip that appear more noticeable than 2 lobes of the upper lip. 
  • Size: It can grow up to 2 to 4 feet tall.
  • Blooming Season: It blooms in late summer, from July to October.  
  • Symbolizes: The Cardinal flower symbolizes strength, determination, and passion.
  • Habitat and Conservation: These flowers grow in wet places, such as areas near rivers and streams, ditches, swamps, and lakes. It prefers rich, humusy, medium to wet soil and needs partial shade. 
  • Special Features: 
    • These red wildflowers in Missouri are beautiful to the major pollinators, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

Late summer canoeists often see the brilliant plumes of cardinal flower growing along mud or gravel banks of Ozark streams. Cardinal flower also inhabits other wet sites throughout much of the state.

This popular flower is a magnet for hummingbirds, but it also attracts butterflies. In the home landscape, cardinal flower grows to 3 feet tall in moderate shade to full sun in rich, organic soil. Because of its preference for moisture, cardinal flower requires watering through dry periods, unless planted in a moist location.

Wholeleaf Rosinweed 

Rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium)
  • Scientific Name: Silphium integrifolium
  • Plant Family: It belongs to the Asteraceae family. 
  • Description: The Wholeleaf Rosinweed is shorter as compared to other Rosinweed and can often be confused with sunflower. Its stem often turns reddish in color in bright sun. It has sunflower-like flower heads which are open clusters at the top of the plant commonly with 20 to 35 yellow petals.
  • These blooms, resembling small suns, are a sight to behold and attract a variety of pollinators, including butterflies and bees.
  • Size: It can grow up to 2 to 6 feet tall.
  • Blooming Season: It blooms in July-September.
  • Symbolizes: The Wholeleaf Rosinweed symbolizes strength.
  • Habitat and Conservation: These Missouri wildflowers grow in openings of mesic to dry upland forests, glades, banks of rivers and streams, near ponds and lakes, edges of crop fields, ditches, roadsides, etc.
  • Special Features: 
    • Most species of Rosinweed have folk medicine uses- they are often used for pain relief and treating urinary tract infections. 

Blue Vervain 

Blue Vervain
  • Scientific Name: Verbena hastata
  • Plant Family: It belongs to the Verbenaceae family.
  • Description: The blue vervain is a slender, tall, erect plant with branching. Its flowers range from deep purple, violet, lavender, and white. The flowers are 5 lobed and open from the base of spikes.  
  • Size: It can grow up to 5 feet tall.
  • Blooming Season: It blooms in June-October.
  • Symbolizes: The Blue Vervain symbolizes enchantment. 
  • Habitat and Conservation: These flowers grow in low and wet places such as, woodlands, lakes, streamsides, wet prairies, roadsides, etc.
  • Special Features: 
    • The butterflies and nectar-loving insects are attracted to blue vervain. 

Blue Sage

azure blue sage
  • Scientific Name: Salvia azurea
  • Plant Family: It belongs to the Lamiaceae family. 
  • Description: The Blue Sage is a native Missouri wildflower hairy plant which has few wandlike branch. The leaves of this plant are widely spaced on the stem. 
  • Size: It can grow up to 2 to 5 feet tall.
  • Blooming Season: It blooms in July-September. 
  • Symbolizes: The Blue Sage symbolizes serenity and communication.
  • Habitat and Conservation: These flowers grow in openings of dry upland forests, fencerows, roadsides, open distributed areas, etc.
  • Special Features: 
    • Blue sage is one of the basic foods for pollinators such as bumblebees, digger bees, longhorn bees, butterflies, and skippers.

More wildflowers Native to Missouri

Spring Beauties (claytonia virginica) produces sweet, edible underground tubers that taste like chestnut and were consumed by early Americans.

Spring beauty is a perennial wildflower that grows to between 3-6″ tall. They bloom in early spring in large patches and are typically white, but can vary from white to pink to almost crimson.

Rue Anemones wildflower patch

Rue anemone is a woodland perennial that grows about 9 inches tall. The flower is pink or white blossoms.

Spring Beauties wildflower patch

Smooth beard-tongue (Penstemon digitalis) bloom May – July.

smooth beard-tongue flower

Look for the showy white flower clusters of smooth beard-tongue in Missouri’s prairies, moist alluvial woodlands, roadsides and fallow fields throughout most of the state. In cultivation the species needs sun to partial shade and moist soil. It can grow to 4 feet in height with many stems. The name “beard-tongue” refers to one of the five stamens that is modified into a hairy, tonguelike structure that helps in pollination.

Tickseed coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) blooms from April – July

Tickseed coreopsis

A plant of rocky prairies, roadsides and glades, tickseed coreopsis grows mostly in the Ozarks. It spreads well from seed and can colonize dry, disturbed areas with poor soil. Plant in locations receiving full sun to partial shade. Stems grow in clumps and reach heights of about two feet. Five other native species of coreopsis grow in Missouri. Some have seeds that can stick to clothing, thus the name “tickseed.”

New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae) flowers from August – October

New England Aster and monarch butterflies
Photo Credit: Prairie Garden Trust.

One of the showiest of our native asters, New England aster grows in moist sites in prairies and in low areas along streams throughout much of Missouri. It is one of our later flowering plants, and its flowers provide nectar for migrating monarch butterflies each fall. This aster grows best with full sun to light shade in moist soil, where it can reach a height of 6 feet. A shorter plant will result from pinching back the stems early in the growing season.

Grayhead Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) flowers from May – September

Grayhead Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)

Prairies, edges of forests and roadsides are home to this wildflower throughout Missouri, except for the Bootheel counties. Grayhead coneflower (also known as Gray-head Mexican Hat, Pinnate Prairie Coneflower, Yellow Coneflower) grows well in full sun to light shade, reaching heights of 3 to 5 feet. The clumps of basal leaves stay green late into the fall and reappear early each spring.

Missouri Primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa) flowers: May – August

Missouri Primrose

Also called glade lily or evening primrose, this plant of Missouri’s glades, bluffs and rocky prairies has multiple stems that trail along the ground. Flowers open in the late afternoon for night pollination by moths. Primrose is a favorite for cultivation in rock gardens and other full-sun locations. The large (up to 4 inches across), lemon-yellow flowers make Missouri primrose one of our showiest wildflowers.

Note: (Botanists have changed the name for this species from missouriensis to macrocarpa).

Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea) blooms from May – September

Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)

A legume of prairies, glades and other open habitats, purple prairie clover grows wild throughout the state, with the exception of the lowland counties of southeastern Missouri. Clusters of stems grow to 3 feet in height in full sun, even in dry soils. The finely cut leaves are themselves attractive in landscaping. The closely related white prairie clover (Dalea candida) is also popular for home landscapes.

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) blooms from May – September

Butterfly weed (milkweed)
Butterfly Weed (Milkweed)

A vibrant wildflower, butterfly weed inhabits prairies, glades and rocky, open places such as roadsides throughout the state. It is one of 15 species of milkweed native to Missouri. Older plants have many flowering stems, forming a shrublike growth up to 2.5 feet tall. In addition to being an excellent nectar source for many butterflies, butterfly weed is food for monarch butterfly larva. It grows best in full sun on well-drained soil. A yellow-flowered form of butterfly weed is occasionally found. As the name suggests, this orange-flowered milkweed is a magnet for butterflies and other pollinators, making it a must-have in native plant gardens.

Button Snakeroot (Liatris pycnostachya) flowers: July – October

Button Snakeroot (Liatris pycnostachya)

Most Missourians will recognize the tall, purple spikes of this plant of prairies and rocky, open ground. Also called prairie blazing star or tall gayfeather, it grows wild nearly statewide and is increasingly being grown in cultivation. Bumblebees, butterflies and other insects will be frequent summer visitors to button snakeroot. Grown in full sun in average to moist soils, older plants can produce ten or more flowering stems. The tall stems of button snakeroot can reach heights of 6 feet and may require support to remain erect.

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) blooms from April – July

Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

With its unique red and yellow flowers that resemble tiny hanging lanterns, Wild Columbine is a delightful addition to rocky hillsides and woodland edges.

This plant grows throughout most of Missouri. Found on limestone or dolomite ledges in the Ozarks, it inhabits moist woodlands and other habitats elsewhere in the state. Columbine will spread readily from seed in flower beds or other plantings. It can tolerate shade or sun in average to moist soils, growing to a height of 3 feet. The red, tubular flowers are a popular nectar source for hummingbirds. A rare variety of columbine has solid yellow flowers.

More Common Missouri Native Wildflowers

Missouri has a stunning array of native wildflowers, adding vibrant pops of color to its landscapes throughout the year. Here are some of the most common ones you might encounter:

  • Goldenrod (Solidago spp.): Despite its reputation for causing allergies (which it doesn’t actually do, as it’s wind-pollinated), Goldenrod adds a burst of golden-yellow color to fields and prairies in the late summer and fall.
  • Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa): Also known as Bee Balm, this fragrant flower attracts pollinators with its lavender blooms and is a lovely addition to prairie habitats.
  • Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata): In early spring, you might spot patches of Blue Phlox with their delicate, lavender-blue flowers carpeting the forest floor.
  • Spiderwort (Tradescantia spp.): These charming, three-petaled flowers come in shades of purple, pink, and white and often bloom in shady woodland areas.
  • Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica): Found in moist woodland areas, Virginia Bluebells produce clusters of bell-shaped, pinkish-blue flowers that create a stunning spring display.
  • Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata): Another springtime favorite, Woodland Phlox blankets forest floors with its delicate, fragrant flowers in shades of pink, lavender, and white.

These above are a few examples of the diverse array of wildflowers you can find in Missouri. Exploring nature trails, prairies, and parks throughout the state is the best way to discover even more of its floral treasures.

4 Reasons it is Important to Grow Native Wildflowers in Our Yards

Planting native Missouri wildflowers in our yards plays a crucial role in bolstering ecosystem health, fostering sustainable landscapes, and enhancing biodiversity to the advantage of both human inhabitants and wildlife populations.

  1. Support Local Ecosystems: Native wildflowers provide food and habitat for local wildlife such as birds, butterflies, and bees. By planting native species, we can help support biodiversity and maintain healthy ecosystems in our own communities.
  2. Water Efficiency: Native Missouri wildflowers plants are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions, which means they generally require less water and maintenance compared to non-native species. This can help conserve water and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
  3. Resilience: Native plants are well-suited to the local environment and are more resilient to pests, diseases, and extreme weather conditions. They are also less likely to become invasive.
  4. Preservation of Native Flora: Planting native wildflowers in our yards helps preserve and promote the natural beauty and diversity of our local landscapes. It contributes to the conservation of native plant species and helps maintain the unique character of our region.

What wildflowers native to Missouri are your favorites? Which ones are you planting this year?

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