Wildflowers of many colors are blooming now. Pinks, blues and whites are everywhere. But the yellow flowers tower over them all.
Height is one way these flowers tower over the other colors. Many of the plants reach eight feet or even more.
Leaf size is another way these flowers tower over the others. And cup plant is the tops in that category. Its leaves are a double leaf melding around the stem and forming a cup. Rain fills this cup.
Flower size is yet another way yellow flowers tower over the other colors. These are composite flowers with little tube flowers forming a disc in the center. Ray flowers form the outside ring.
These rays can be several inches long. The disc can be a couple of inches across or more. Sunflowers are in this group of yellow flowers.
Rolling along in a vehicle this array of yellow looks much alike. Walking along and looking at the flowers and plants shows they come in many different forms.
Seeing the differences is easy. Trying to put names with flowers is difficult.
All of these flowers are in the aster family. Many of them are in a group called heliantheae. I opened my “Flora of Missouri” and turned to the key. The first choice used ligulate corolla. Corolla refers to the rays. Sigh.
Pictures are the way to go. Since I now have at least eight different yellow flowers without names, my visit to www.missouriplants.com will be a lengthy one.
There are familiar flowers too. The cup plant, yellow ironweed, tickseed sunflower and prairie coreopsis are blooming now. Jerusalem artichoke will bloom soon.
Although Jerusalem artichokes are a garden vegetable, they are also a native wildflower. Both occur here, the one wild and the other attempting a garden take over.
The wild version does have edible tubers, usually small. The garden variety, if well watered, has large knobby tubers. The wild ones bloom a few weeks before the garden ones.
Summer is winding down. The wealth of yellow flowers blooming along the roads celebrates the season. As said in “Exploring the Ozark Hills”, yellow is the color of summer.