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Nature Common Wildflowers

flower drawing Wildflowers are not planted by anyone, but that doesn't mean that they grow all by themselves. In order for the flowers to get there, they have to come from a tiny seed. But where do those seeds come from? They come from other wildflowers, of course! 

That is why it is very important never to pick wildflowers. If you pick the flowers, they can't produce the seed that is needed to produce next year's flowers. If you want to take some flowers home with you, take a picture with a camera, or draw a picture instead. That way the seeds can stay in the forest. The flowers in your pictures will never wilt.

Some Common Wildflowers

Black-eyed Susan  Rudbeckia hirta

The black-eyed Susan gets its name from the dark center of its flower--its "black eye". This dark center is surrounded by orange-yellow petals. The undersides of this plants leaves are covered with tiny hairs called pubescence. This pubescence makes the leaves feel fuzzy and soft. The scientific name for this plant, hirta,means "hairy" in Latin. Black-eyed Susans bloom in the summer and like to grow in lots of sun. They don't mind growing in dry or rocky places, so they are most common along the edges of forests. 

Dandelion  Taraxacum officinalle

The dandelion may not be the most beautiful flower, but it's very common in the Ozarks. This plant begins flowering in early spring, and continues to produce flowers, and more flowers, until fall. Dandelions have bright yellow flowers that are fluffy, like a lion's mane. Dandelion seed grows in feathery white balls that fall apart if you touch them. The white feathery part at the base of each seed makes it possible for the wind to carry the seed up into the air and drop it far away. Because dandelion seed is so good at traveling, you can find dandelions in the woods, along Bryant Creek, and likely in your yard too. 

Queen Anne's Lace  Daucus carota

If you dig up a Queen Anne's lace plant, you will find a big carrot-like root under ground. Because of this root, this plant is sometimes called "wild carrot". Scientists believe that the carrots that you eat today come from ancient people growing these "wild carrots" in their gardens. After hundreds of years of selecting the very biggest and best tasting carrots from their gardens, we now have nice, orange, juicy carrots. If you tried a bite of a Queen Anne's lace plant "carrot", you would really wish you hadn't. YUCK! The name "Queen Anne's lace" comes from the lacy-white, delicate flowers that bloom in the summer time. You will see the Queen Anne's lace in fields and along roadsides. This plant's scientific name is made up of the Greek word for carrot, Daucus,and the Latin name for carrot, carota.

Pale Purple Coneflower  Echinacea pallida

The top of the pale purple coneflower looks almost like a prickly pine cone. These prickles are surrounded by long pink, drooping petals. When it blooms in the summer time, the flowers on this plant grow up to 3 feet tall. The pale purple coneflower can grow in poor, rocky soil in the sun. The root of this plant was used by American Indians as a treatment for allergies and for curing snake bites. Today it is used to stop infections. Because it is such good medicine, too many people have harvested this plant from the wild and now it is becoming very rare. 

What are all of these funny looking plant names? 
To find out, see the Scientific Names page. 

Written for the Atlas by Jessica Crandall.