One of My Fave Prairie Wildflowers

Last week’s photo journey was primarily to find/identify/photograph wildflowers that are growing in Missouri. The first stop was to a large prairie in southwest Missouri, Prairie State Park. You might remember some of my past posts from this spectacular prairie location that I first visited last fall (when photographing northern harriers and short-eared owls). I have read some great things about this place, so I thought it was time to really check it out … when wildflowers were in bloom.  Great decision!

Spring and early summer wildflowers are beginning to carpet much of the 3,300 acres (should be a real treat to photograph the free-ranging bison in the peak colors of the summer wildflowers!) and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many different species. I was fortunate to find at least a couple dozen “lifer” wildflower species! Now I just need to identify them all  :o)

Today’s post features one of my favorite prairie wildflowers, the Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea). I was fortunate 2 years ago, to find a single plant growing in the prairie near my home. But the display of the dozens of bright red wildflowers that were blooming across the Prairie State Park”s landscape was unbeatable! Here is a cluster of several Indian Paintbrush plants (~12″-18″ tall):


Indian Paintbrush wildflower



And some closer looks at individual plants:


Indian Paintbrush wildflower


Indian Paintbrush wildflower


Heck, not only was I impressed with the colorful display, but the local wildlife also were apparently enjoying it!


Indian Paintbrush with Swallowtail Butterfly



Tomorrow, I’ll share a rather unusual wildlife find in the prairies of Prairie State Park.



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