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.
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.
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!