July 26 - August 1
Discover nature this week and identify native Blazing Star in your area. Learning to identify and appreciate Missouri’s native wildflowers will get you one step further to enjoying some of our most enjoyable wildlife species, butterflies.
It’s said butterflies go wherever they please and please wherever they go. If you find Blazing Star wildflowers, you’ll usually find butterflies -- because they love the nectar they drink from the tall stalks of rounded, rosy, purple flowers that bloom this time of year. Most of these flowers open at the same time making it a good cut flower.
Blazing Star grows to 24 to 36 inches tall in full sun with well-drained soil and average moisture. It’s found on dry prairies, glades and savannas. Though it may take several years to bloom from seed, and the plants may not bloom every year, the seeds will germinate the next spring when planted in fall or autumn.
When gardening for butterflies, remember that any pesticides you use will affect the insects attracted by the plants. Pesticides kill butterflies. Some pesticides not only kill insects, but pets and humans, too. Butterfly gardening is next to impossible when pesticides are used. Because of their sensitivity to chemicals and toxins, butterflies’ presence, diversity and abundance indicates the health of the ecosystem on your property. A healthy community will have a diverse, abundant population of butterflies, while a contaminated or altered community will not.
Other native plants that attract butterflies include Black-eyed Susan, Butterfly milkweed, Cardinal flower, and Indian paintbrush. Extensive information on gardening for butterflies can be found at www.mdc.mo.gov.
To keep track of current natural events like when to watch for the deep purple blooms of Missouri’s native Blazing Star wildflower, you can get your own natural events calendar from the Missouri Department of Conservation.