Missouri State Tree

The next time you consider planting a (sometimes invasive) Callery ‘Bradford’ pear that just ends up breaking apart in high winds or ice or gets topped when it reaches utility lines,  consider planting something native.  Native plants offer natural endurance, seasonal interest, and, best of all, actual contributions to area biodiversity.  Small native trees (e.g., understory trees) can be perfect for your yard.

Consider the Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida).  White/pink flowers in springtime, interesting trunk texture, varying fall color, red berries fall/winter.

Cornus florida

Some other small/medium-sized trees and shrubs to consider: Redbud (Cercis canadensis), Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Pawpaw (Asimina triloba), Serviceberry (Amelanchier), Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) (aka Fruit Loop tree in my book…just smell a twig!), Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)…

For advice on native Midwestern choices look here, otherwise see the extensive information at Missouri’s Grow Native.


Week of the Wood Sorrel

Just a week ago, I visited Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center and Reserve near Kirkwood, MO and noticed many familiar spring ephemerals.  Many of them were up early.  Well, this week, due either to timing or the 90 degree weather, the palette of spring flowers changed drastically.  The lingering bluebells were being overtaken by leafing-out bush honeysuckle (an EVIL invasive), the spring beauties were all but gone, and the toothwort were almost done.  On the other hand, the lone violet wood sorrel I found last week now has many companions.

The Violet Wood Sorrel (Oxalis violacea) occasionally has purple markings on its leaflets, though this one didn’t…

Oxalis violacea

but the leaflets were a vibrant maroon underneath.