The Petal Pusher Volume 39 (2024) Number 4 (Jun-Jul) is now online

Just a note to inform the membership that MONPS’ first President, Jon Hawker, died in his home of Clarkdale, AZ, one day short of his 79th birthday. Jon served as President from the founding of the Society in June of 1979 to June of 1981. Our condolences to his wife Pat and all the rest of his family.

2023 MONPS Awards

Two people were recognized for their outstanding contributions to native plant conservation and education at the 2023 MONPS Annual Meeting on June 17:

Besa Schweitzer received the Erma Eisendrath Memorial Education Award. Besa’s recent book, The Wildflower Garden Planner has introduced many new gardeners in the St. Louis area to native plant landscaping and she has been educating on that topic for many years through the Facebook page she created, St. Louis Native Plant Swap, and her involvement with local chapters of Wild Ones and Missouri Master Naturalists. She was nominated by Susan Orr.

The Plant Conservation Award was given to Mike Reed for practicing and promoting the use of native aquatic and wetland plant species on MDC-managed impoundments and wetlands. Mike has worked as a Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries biologist for over 20 years. Early on, he worked with the likes of Jim Whitley and Becky Erickson to learn about propagating and establishing desirable native plants for fish, amphibians, wetland insects, and wetland bird species. Knowledge of the identification and culture of aquatic and obligate wetland plants is often lacking among native plant enthusiasts who typically deal just with upland species and/or facultative wetland species. Mike has pioneered the role of these aquatic and obligate wetland species in wetland reconstructions and pond enhancements for the benefit of both native fish and wildlife. He also has taught multiple MDC staff about the role and propagation of native aquatic and wetland plants. He was nominated for this award by Mike Leahy.

Thank you to the award recipients for their contributions and those who submitted nominations for their recognition!

Missouri Botanists Big Year (MBBY) – 2023

Announcing Missouri Botanists Big Year 2023!

The Missouri Native Plant Society is extremely happy to host this third annual friendly competition on the online citizen science tool and website, iNaturalist. Our observations from this competition will help researchers track and better understand the flora of Missouri and how it changes over time, from native plants to exotic invasives. This data provided by our members will be publicly available, to help improve science communication.

Each year’s competition is a separate collection of data under the umbrella project “Missouri Botanists Big Year.” You must join each year’s project in order for your observations to be counted for that year’s event. You can sign up for the 2023 event by logging into your iNaturalist account (or creating an account at if you don’t yet have one), going to, and tapping the JOIN button.

There are a few key rules:
• Observation must be a wild plant observed in Missouri in 2023.
• Observation must be research grade, so submit many descriptive photos.
• To be entered to win the grand prize, you must be a member of the Missouri Native Plant Society – join at the Membership link on the website.

For those of you new to iNaturalist or in need of a refresher, MBBY Project Leader James Faupel’s presentation to the St. Louis chapter (July 2021) , “Citizen Science with iNaturalist and the Missouri Botanists Big Year 2021 Project” was recorded and can be viewed on our website under the ‘MONPS Webinars’ link.

Additional Information

    If you are an expert in the field of botany in Missouri, please help us vet and identify the observations made. There are not nearly enough professionals helping identify the flora of Missouri on iNaturalist. Log onto iNaturalist and help here

    Please mark the geoprivacy of any state-listed rare or endangered species as obscured.(If you do not, we will notify you.) Our partners at the Missouri Department of Conservation will greatly appreciate your assistance in helping protect our plants of conservation concern! See the list here –

    This is a collection project for only the year 2023, within the umbrella project Missouri Botanists Big Year,that will collect the data of every year of the event going forward. You must join each years project to have your observations be included in each years event. Joining the umbrella project doesnt make your observations available to the 2023 project.

    To see all the vascular plants observed on iNaturalist within the state of Missouri, visit our project the Flora of Missouri –

    To see all the non-vascular plants (also known as bryophytes) observed within the state of Missouri on iNat, visit our project MOSSouri –

    Need help identifying a plant? Check out the Missouri Plants website for detailed information on our flora –




Thanks for joining the project and good luck!

2023 Stan Hudson Research Grant Awardees

The Stan Hudson Research Grant is awarded annually for research aligned with the mission of the Missouri Native Plant Society. This year, the committee for the Stan Hudson Research Grant has selected two recipients from a wonderful pool of applicants. Daphne Miles is an undergraduate student at Missouri State University researching the effects of curly leaf pondweed (Potamogeton crispus), an invasive aquatic species, on native aquatic vegetation. Sloane Scott is a graduate student at the University of Missouri studying pollinator habitat restoration in severely damaged wooded communities. Since Hudson Grant recipients present the results of their research at the Missouri Botanical Symposium, keep an eye out for these two up and coming researchers.     For more information about the Stan Hudson Research Grant, visit  :

Hudson Award grantee Daphne Miles. 
Sloane Scott at one of the seeded plots at the Shawnee National Forest..

MONPS 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award

Paul Nelson

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Paul Nelson’s lifetime commitment to the protection, maintenance, and restoration of Missouri’s highest quality natural communities and the preservation of hundreds of species of conservation concern. Paul has been a leading conservationist, ecologist, and natural areas manager for over 45 years. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Missouri Natural Areas Committee and the Missouri Natural Heritage Program. He is the author of The Terrestrial Natural Communities of Missouri, the premier natural community publication in the Midwest, and his detailed botanical drawings have illustrated numerous publications. Between 2012 and 2017, Paul conducted an extensive glade mapping project in Missouri and Arkansas where he identified over 97,000 glades totaling 182,465 acres in Missouri and 45,800 glades encompassing over 55,000 acres in Arkansas. This project resulted in the creation of shape files for identified glades in Missouri that is available on the Missouri Spatial Data Information Service

First Annual Missouri 2021 Botanists Big Year Winners

GRAND PRIZE – Most research grade species of plants-
1st place – (637) Rick Gray
2nd – (431) Joanna Reuter
3rd – (304) Kathy Bildner
4th – (293) Jared Gorrell
5th – (271) Pam Barnabee 

The Explorer – Most observations overall (1,090) – Joanna Reuter
The GrassMaster – Most research grade Poaceae (50) – Rick Gray
The FiddleHead – Most research grade Polypodiopsida (42) – Thomas Koffel
The Compositor – Most research grade Asteraceae (126) – Joanna Reuter
The SedgeHead – Most research grade Cyperaceae (86) – Rick Gray
The Traveller – Farthest spread across Missouri – James Faupel
The Northerner – Farthest spread across Northern Missouri – Joanna Reuter
The Southerner – Farthest spread across Southern Missouri – Nathan Aaron
Most observed flowering plant (42 specimens) – Viola pedata, bird’s foot violet
Most observed non-flowering plant (42 specimens) – Polystichum acrostichoides, Christmas fern

Top Identifiers of Plants in Need-
1st place – (1,749) Lee Elliott
2nd – (1,392) Cal Maginel
3rd – (1,061) Norman Murray
4th – (866) Claire Ciafre
5th – (394) Rick Gray

2021’s Missouri Botanist Big Year’s reach across the state

Nativar Position Statememt

The Missouri Native Plant Society was founded to promote the enjoyment, preservation, conservation, restoration, and study of the flora native to Missouri.

To uphold these values, we oppose the use of cultivars derived from native species, called “Nativars”. These horticultural derivatives are genetically detrimental to truly wild species because through cross pollination, subsequent generations may have incorrect bloom color, bloom time, and nutritional requirements for insects, birds, and mammals who rely on them to flourish.

Please obtain your native plants from growers that produce plants responsibly from local seed sources to avoid ecological decline.

MONPS Awards

1) Plant Stewardship: Jeff Cantrell

Jeff has been an advisor for the Missouri Master Naturalist (MMN) Chert Glades chapter since helping establish the group in 2005 and also assists with the Lake of the Ozarks chapter. He donates the majority of the MMN advisor workload as a volunteer, allowing him to devote his full work schedule to his conservation educator job. Advising these and other public groups, he directs several stewardship projects each year for Missouri State Parks, Corps of Engineer, and Mark Twain Forest public lands near Cassville and Shell Knob. Of particular significance is his work at Chute Ridge near Roaring River Conservation Area and Big Sugar Creek State Park.

Beyond those special projects, Jeff conducts garlic mustard pulls in Barry County and highlights star of Bethlehem as a problem exotic species at special event share tables at George Washington Carver National Monument and at the annual Dogwood Festival in Neosho, Missouri. For Naturescaping classes (pre-pandemic with live audiences), Jeff made freshly-cut displays of invasive burning bush, privet, bush honeysuckle, and other exotics local to the site where the classes were taught and offered native planting solutions to fit that landscaping niche. These are just a few of the examples of what Jeff tackles as a volunteer and the teamwork he puts together for our public contact areas and regional natural communities. He is a longstanding member of Arkansas and Missouri Native Plant Societies, the Missouri Prairie Foundation, and other nature place-based non-profit organizations. Our native plants and world benefit from his stewardship efforts.

2) Top Facebook Administrator Recognition

Awarded to seven individuals for their exceptional efforts in managing the MONPS Facebook page: Michelle Bowe, Andrew Braun, Brian Edmond, Susan Farrington, Jeff Nelson, John Oliver, and Deb Tyler. Thank you for your diligence!