A month or so ago, I wrote a post that began, "I wish I knew the names of flowers." Since then, I've done a little studying.

Last year, very early in the spring, when the daffodils bloom, I came across this in the floodplain of Beaver Creek, near the river at Meremec State Park:

A closer view:

It's not a great image, but it's not as terrible as it seems. It's just the the flower was so small. I wouldn't have noticed it, except that I looked down to see where I was putting my feet, and happened to notice it next to my boot. I'm pretty sure that it's claytonia virginica, commonly known as Spring Beauty. Aptly named, not because it's flashy, but because it's a harbinger of spring.

In early May of this year, I was lucky enough to catch Mina Sauk Falls immediately after a big rain. Water was everywhere on Tauk Sauk, and the spring flowers were everywhere. For a good sense of how the ground looked in the glades, see this wallpaper.

Identifying flowers isn't always that tough. The wild varieties often look like their domesticated cousin, as in the case of these examples of Wild Hyacinth (Camassia scilloides):

The glades were covered in them, so covered that a pale lavender mist seemed to hang low over the spring-green grass:

I gather that Wild Hyacinth is fairly common in the state; however, its blooms don't last long, so chance plays a big part in seeing them (although it probably helps to plan a flower viewing trip on the last weekend in April and the first one in May).

Phlox is another type that's familiar from gardening. I'm fairly confident that this is Blue Phlox, or Wild Sweet William (phlox divaricata):

Odd that it would be called Wild Sweet William, since Sweet William in the garden is a variety of carnation.

This too seems to be a phlox or one kind or another:

As does this:

But phlox is to common, and so varied, that sometimes I see phlox even when I'm looking at something else. For example, I've incorrectly identified this as a type of phlox:

I took the following picture because if offered an interesting combination of forms and textures (see this wallpaper).

It took a long time to identify the drooping yellow-white flower buds. I now think they're nothoscordum bivalve, also known as Crowpoison or False Garlic. The problem in identifying them is that the literature describes opened flowers, and not buds. There a at least two other kinds of flowers in this picture (and in most of the flower pictures I took that day), which demonstrates just how in bloom Taum Sauk was. Here's another wallpaper, dominated by phlox pilosa (Downy Phlox), but also with a few Crowpoison, plus something tiny and purple that I haven't bothered to identify.

I'm pretty sure the tiny purple thing, which has four petals, isn't Crowpoison, which has five. I'd bet it's some kind of houstonia (see below), but I wouldn't bet a lot.

I can't say that I have every paid much attention to this (Silene virginica, Fire Pink) before:

I don't see what's so "pink" about it. But the common names are often a puzzle.

This is a showy little flower, and I somehow managed to get a good picture of it:

Its name (tradescantia longipes, Spiderwort or Wild Crocus. From somewhere (wikipedia?), I gathered that it's named after John Tradescant, gardener to Charles I. Apparently it's also called, perhaps with a bit of rather heavy-handed moralizing, the Fame Flower. I get the part about fame being a fleeting as a spring flower, although it's rarely as pretty as Spiderwort.

Sometimes the obvious is, well, obvious:

It's a daisy, right? Turns out that it was a welter of names. Leucanthemum vulgare or chrysanthemum leucanthemum, if we're doing Latin. Ox-eye Daisy, common daisy, dog daisy, or moon daisy, if we aren't. Daisy seems fine. Vulgare is ambiguous: is it vulgar, or vernacular? I prefer the latter. Either way, I can't get enough of them:

Coreopsis: I've had this in the garden at home, so part of the pleasure is being to identify something besides daisies:

Some of these images (the daisies and coreopsis, and the ones that follow) were taken in late May at Millstream Gardens, where the flowers were bright and showy:

I think these are commelina virginica, commonly know as Virgina dayflower or widow's tears, a name which would, were I a widow, spark a resentment.

The flashiest flower was this:

It's cecurigera varia, or crown vetch. It's a native of the old country, and was introduced for erosion control. It's considered invasive. Figures.

All these, however, are not my favorite spring flower. Above all else, I look especially for clusters of tiny white flowers in the forest. It's easy to overlook them. They're worth their own wallpaper.

The set above is, I think, houstonia minima, and the set below is houstonia longifolia.

The informal names are poetry: Least Bluets, Quaker Ladies, Quaker Bonnets, Star Bonnets, Little Washerwoman, Blue-eyed Babies, Wild Forget-me-not, Eye-bright, Angel Eyes, Nuns, Innocents, Star of Bethleham, Venus' Pride.

I think I'll stick with Innocents.