Shining Stars of Blue

My eyes are continually opened to new and amazing native plants that thrive in Missouri and the Ozarks.  A few days ago, I was surprised to find, among the horse-trampled acres of my parent’s land in southwest Missouri, several clumps of Blue Star (Amsonia spp.).  At first, I thought they were a kind of milkweed, but quickly honed in on the Amsonia genus.  Without returning to the plant with a taxonomic key, I’d have to guess that it’s Eastern Blue Star (Amsonia tabernaemontana) or Shining Blue Star (Amsonia illustris), also called Ozark Bluestar.  Common names often lead to confusion.

Blue Star in front of a clump of Oxeye Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum)

Anyway, these were found in clumps in the rocky bed of an ephemeral stream and in the field next to it.  Based on the plant specs, it appears to like moist, sunny conditions but can tolerate some dry conditions as well.  This plant is often referred to as an instant shrub, since it quickly reaches 2-4 feet tall.  This sort of flower will attract certain bees, hummingbird moths, hummingbirds, etc.

Just beginning to see open flowers...

You can add this to your garden as a hardy native plant.  If you’re looking for something slightly more drought-tolerant, consider something like the Threadleaf Bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii).  Grow native!

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6 thoughts on “Shining Stars of Blue

      • A nice surprise for sure! Sometimes we luck out and native plants are not only beautiful in their natural settings but also pleasing to our “gardening sensibilities.” (Hopefully more gardeners are starting to appreciate the native plants that have been growing right under our noses, as much as we love the quest for less-familiar plants.)

    • Your About page says you live in Maine. Eastern Bluestar’s northern range is New York or Massachusetts. You MIGHT see them at the far southern part of the state. Thanks for visiting the blog!

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