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Queen of the prairie Filipendula rubra

Known in Missouri from only sites in four counties, this striking wildflower is found in rare natural communities called fens. Fens are small wetlands that are formed where ground water reaches the land surface, providing moist, saturated soils and cool temperatures. Queen of the prairie is one of a group of rare plants considered to be relicts from the last glacial period, when ice sheets covered north Missouri and the Ozarks where much cooler and wetter than today. These plants survive only in isolated fens because they provide a cool, moist oases in a mostly hot and dry summer landscape --Tim Smith