Photos of Roadside Wildflowers: Nature Walk in the Ozarks

by AbbyFitz

Wildflowers abound in the Missouri Ozarks. View beautiful pictures of wildflowers and their descriptions. Buy wildflower accessories and the best identification guide.

I have been visiting the central Ozarks region of Southern Missouri all of my life. My mother was born and raised in a small town named Alton, so we would make the yearly trek to visit relatives.

Now, I'm from a rural part of North Florida. But rural Florida and rural Missouri are two different things. In my town here in Florida, there's about 5,000 people. In Alton, Mo, it's about 500.

Big difference.

To this Florida girl, all the open spaces and rolling hills are a wonder, which is why I always loved to go on long walks with my camera and take pictures of everything that fascinated me, which was usually flowers, old buildings such as barns and mills, and animals.

I want to share with you a few of my favorite flowers I have discovered in my ramblings.

The Lady Gaga of the Flower World

This Maypop pops with color
This Maypop pops with color


These passionflowers grow and thrive on the sides of the roads, in spite of traffic

Passionflowers (also known as Maypops) are one of my favorites.

When I walk down the country gravel roads, I see these growing in vines along the sides. Every time I see a passionflower I just have to take a picture of it, nevermind that I must have one hundred or more pictures of them already.

I think I like this flower so much because it's not content to be a typical flower. It can't just have white flower petals. I call it the Lady Gaga of flowers. In addition to normal flower petals, it wears a feathery purple hat with yellow stamens.

The passionflower was named by Spanish missionaries to America. To them, the passionflower told the story of the Crucifixion. They believed the stigmata represented the three nails that held Jesus to the cross, and the five anthers represented the five wounds he received to his flesh at the Crucifixion. They even found deity in the leaves. They believed the spear-shaped leaves represented the spear tip that was used to pierce Jesus' side.

Wild Carrot, Anyone?

Standing proud on the roadside
Standing proud on the roadside
Loyal subjects adore her
Loyal subjects adore her

Queen Anne's Lace

Related to the carrot, but Bugs Bunny wouldn't eat it

Queen Anne's Lace are more noticeable simply because they are one of the taller and larger flowers that grow alongside the road.

When I'm walking up or down one of the many hills (or mountains to my Florida mind), these are one of the first flowers I see in the distance. I like these flowers because butterflies and other insects are attracted to them, and I usually can get a picture of them resting on the petals.

Queen Anne's Lace is in the carrot family, but not edible. The roots are tough and stringy. Its leaves can also easily be mistaken for hemlock, so it's best to stay away from them just to be sure.

There are many stories as to why this wild carrot is named Queen Anne's Lace. One of the popular stories tell that King James I's consort, Queen Anne, pricked her finger and stained some lace with a drop of her blood.


An escapee from Asia, it has made itself at home in the Ozarks

I see a lot of these daylillies on the sides of country roads during my walks. Although they're not truly a native Missouri flower, I still love them for their deep orange color.

Originally introduced to the US from Asia, they have quickly made themselves at home here and thrive in 42 of the 50 states. They are so abundant and hardy, that some consider them invasive weeds.

I for one am glad that they found their way into my country walks. Their bright orange brings warmth to the rainbow of colors I see on the sides of the road.

Beauty is Fleeting

A Daylily's bloom only lasts a day
I like Florida and Missouri oranges
I like Florida and Missouri oranges

Keep On the Sunny Side

Black Eyed Susans are always cheery
And keeps a sunny disposition
And keeps a sunny disposition

Black Eyed Susan

Common but possesing uncommon beauty

They are a common flower with a common name, but when I look out across fields and I see nothing but yellow, it brings a smile to my face.

Susan joins me every step along the way of my strolls. She grows on the sides of the road, fills entire fields, and grows deep in the woods if she can find enough sunshine.

These flowers are as tall as Queen Anne's Lace, but Susan and Anne get along just fine. They complement each other perfectly. Anne's lacy white gives contrast to Susan's bright sunny yellows.

The stalks of these flowers are covered with thick hairs to keep the ants away from the blossom. This allows the bees to pollinate without the pesky ants. I haven't gotten close enough to photograph the bees visiting Susan. I don't plan to either. I will adore Susan from afar.

Buy a Passionate Laptop Bag

Show your passion for your job with this passionflower laptop tote

or a "hoppy" Grasshopper Mousepad

Hop on over to your desk and give this little guy a run for his money!

The Wildflowers of the Midwest are Varied and Colorful

Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea)
Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea)
Pretty yellow wildflowers
Pretty yellow wildflowers
White Potato Vine
White Potato Vine
Purple Iris
Purple Iris

Identify Wildflowers Easily by Color

My aunt who is a librarian in Missouri recommended this book. It's quick and easy to identify wildflowers
Missouri Wildflowers: A Field Guide to the Wildflowers of Missouri

The sixth edition of Denison's classic work makes identifying common Missouri wildflowers easy. Its 297 color photographs are arranged by flower color and blooming time. Plant c...

View on Amazon

Take a Nature Walk and Discover Your Neck of the Woods

Go outside and discover what beauty is near you

Taking photographs of wildflowers is just one of my hobbies. I love to discover and photograph beautiful things. When I visit Missouri, I search out flowers, barns, old mills, basically anything that speaks to me and tells me a story.

Flowers tell me that beauty is everywhere, you just have to be willing to look for it. Each and every flower has its own flavor and personality. From a Lady Gaga passionflower to the regal and refined Queen Anne's Lace, they all contribute to the larger society of wildflowers by being diverse but complimentary.

It's kind of how our world should be. We're all unique. We all have peculiar quirks and look different, yet we can all contribute to our human society and make our little part of the world a more beautiful place.

Updated: 07/21/2014, AbbyFitz
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AbbyFitz on 05/26/2013

Thank you!

MikeRobbers on 05/26/2013

Beautiful photos and a very nice article Abby!

AbbyFitz on 04/02/2013

Thank you. I didn't know they were called maypops either until I looked them up in a book. Funny name!

whitemoss on 04/02/2013

Lovely photos. I especially love the name "maypop"- never heard that before

AbbyFitz on 03/07/2013

I love the ozarks. I guess because it's such a contrast from here in Florida. I didn't know they produced fruit. I'll have to look for that next time I'm up there. Thanks!

cazort on 03/07/2013

My family on my mom's side is originally from the Ozarks, although she grew up in Little Rock, AR. I love that part of the country's a little backwater but it's beautiful. I love the wildflowers and other natural elements there.

Someone near me in Philadelphia has a maypop growing in their yard. They produce a delicious fruit which has a somewhat unappealing (at least to me) texture but an amazingly wonderful taste...a lot like passionfruit, which they're apparently a close relative of. I also like the herbal tea you can make by drying the leaves, stems, and tendrils of the plant and brewing them up as herbal's strongly relaxing, actually quite potent (much more so than, say, chamomile).

AbbyFitz on 02/28/2013

Thank you. I was surprised I got it!

HollieT on 02/28/2013

These are lovely photographs, Abby, and many congratulations on your EC award.

AbbyFitz on 02/26/2013

Thank you!

katiem2 on 02/26/2013

WOW beautiful images :)K

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