Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - December 10, 2013

From: O'Fallon, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Earliest spring wildflowers from O'Fallon Mo.
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Which spring wildflower blooms first around the St. Louis area?

ANSWER:

We cannot define the "first" wildflower to bloom in Saint Charles County at the east central border of Missouri, but we can find some that bloom early and list them for you. The reasons we can be no more exact than that are:

(1) Wildflowers bloom when and where they jolly well please. Every year we get questions from readers who have bluebonnets (traditionally blooming from mid-February to late April) blooming in their yards in August. Do we know why? Nope.

(2) There are some native wildflowers, almost all perennials, that can bloom year round, depending on weather conditions. Which is earlier in the Spring - a flower that started blooming in December and is still blooming in March or one that started in February and ended in May? Don't know the answer to that one either.

So, Mr. Smarty Plants is going to ignore those possibilities and search in our Native Plant Database for herbs and forbs (herbaceous blooming flowers), Missouri and January for bloom time. Here is how to do that: Go to our Native Plant Database, scroll down that page to Combination Search. Using that, select on Missouri for the state, herbs for Habit and January for Bloom Time. Click on the "Submit Combination Search" box and you will get a list of flowers that fit your criteria.

Using that search criteria, we got 15 results; however, 3 of those did not show up on the USDA Plant Profle Map as growing in the St. Louis area. Also of that number, 5 showed that they can bloom from January to December. You can always repeat the search, using other months as the first month of Spring.

Allium stellatum (Autumn onion) - blooms January to December

Claytonia virginica (Virginia springbeauty) - blooms January to May

Corallorhiza wisteriana (Spring coralroot) - blooms January to July

Eclipta prostrata (False daisy) - blooms January to December

Eclipta prostrata (False daisy) - bloom January to December

Equisetum hyemale (Canuela)- blooms January to December

Erigenia bulbosa (Harbinger of spring) - blooms January to May

Froelichia gracilis (Slender snakecotton) - blooms Janury to December

Phytolacca americana var. americana (American pokeweed) - blooms January to December

Taraxacum officinale (Common dandelion) - blooms January to December

 

From the Image Gallery


Autumn onion
Allium stellatum

Virginia springbeauty
Claytonia virginica

Spring coral-root
Corallorhiza wisteriana

Pie plant
Eclipta prostrata

Scouring-rush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale var. affine

Harbinger of spring
Erigenia bulbosa

Slender snakecotton
Froelichia gracilis

American pokeweed
Phytolacca americana var. americana


More Wildflowers Questions

More on bluebonnets
April 19, 2007 - Are pink bluebonnets still considered very rare? I discovered several growing amongst normal blues on the National Instruments corporate campus here in Austin. I wasn't sure if the Wildflower Cente...
view the full question and answer

Winter wildflower blooming in East Texas in the winter
October 06, 2009 - Is there a wildflower that will grow/bloom in east texas during the winter that can be tilled into garden in springtime. We put rye and red clover but were interested in getting some color/variety to ...
view the full question and answer

Perennials for flower bed in Humble TX
July 28, 2010 - I have a 10 foot by 10 foot flower bed that needs to be replanted and I am located in Houston, TX so what would be some good perennials to plant that are good to grow in this heat? I have been told L...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Steep, Sunny Slope in Iowa
April 28, 2013 - I am looking for plants native to Iowa for a steep, sunny slope or groundcover.
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet blooming in July in Leander TX
July 27, 2009 - I have a bluebonnet growing in my front yard in July! Early this year, my son planted the bluebonnet seeds. We did not expect them to grow since we planted them in February/March. One plant grew ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.