Fire Pink

by Joshua Heston

Showy and brilliant, fire pinks are hard to miss. Growing in groups or singly — depending on soil quality — these wildflowers bloom early in the season.

Sometimes called a Catchfly, the flower produces a sticky exudate which traps small insects. Short-lived blooms are typically found on high ground here in the Ozarks, particularly on understory mountainsides where the dappled shade of oak and hickory keep other species from choking out the relatively short-lived and weak-stemmed plant.

If you do happen to see a clump of fire pink growing here or there, be sure to stop and appreciate their brilliance. These flowers will not last long.

The photos on this page were taken high atop Bear Den Cave Mountain (in the Mincy-Drury Conservation Area) on a warm April day..

Fire Pink (Selene virginica)

Size: 66 to 30 inches tall; flowers 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide. What to look for: flowers bright red, with 5 notched petals; stems and leaves hairy, sticky. Habitat: open woods, clearings, rocky slopes. In bloom: April through June.

— page 358, Wernett, Susan J., et al. North American Wildlife. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 1986.

All photo credits: J. Heston. Location: Mincy-Drury Conservation Area, Taney County, Missouri • SOTO © Archive 04/15/09. Botanical information courtesy of

Fire Pink

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Fire Pink

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Fire Pink

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chinkapin oak


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