Long-Leaved Bluets (Slender-Leaved Bluets)

Houstonia longifolia (sometimes called Hedyotis longifolia)
Family

Rubiaceae (madders)

Description

A perennial herb with upright, slender, branching stalks arising from a basal rosette of leaves. Flowers on slender stems arising from upper leaf axils, in loose or crowded clusters, minute, white or pinkish, with 4 petals that are hairy on the inside surface. Blooms April–July. Basal leaves in a rosette, narrow, linear. Stem leaves are opposite, oblong to linear. Both types have only one central vein.

Similar species: There are six other species of bluets in Missouri.

Size

Height: to 8 inches; sometimes taller.

Habitat and conservation

Occurs on prairies, rocky, open slopes, glades, open woods, and old fields. It usually occurs on acid soils but also is found on limestone.

image of Long-Leaved Bluets Slender-Leaved Bluets distribution map
Distribution in Missouri

Can be found in the Ozarks, south of a line drawn from southwestern corner of state to St. Louis. This is roughly the southeastern half of Missouri.

Human connections

There are many fun and engrossing activities in Missouri's outdoors. One of these is "botanizing," or hunting for a variety of plants the way birders seek out and identify different species of birds. All you need is a good field guide and perhaps a camera with a good closeup lens.

Ecosystem connections

The flowers, though tiny, attract a number of insect pollinators, including bees, flies, and butterflies. The foliage doubtless is included in the foraging of numerous herbivorous mammals.