Plants and Animals

at Bennett Spring State Park

Animals of Bennett Spring State Park

Located in the central Missouri Ozarks, Bennett Spring State Park features many different habitats. Bennett Spring, one of the largest springs in the state, provides an average supply of more than 100 million gallons of water to the stream branch and the nearby Niangua River. In the southern, more remote areas of the park, the losing stream and lush bottomland environments associated with the spring valley system blend into oak-hickory woodlands of the surrounding hills.

Many animals native to the Ozarks make their homes here. These include numerous minnows and darters, southern red back salamander, pickerel frog, northern water snake, pileated woodpecker, belted kingfisher, muskrat and bobcat. Some additions to the area in the 1980s include the nine-banded armadillo and river otter.

The checklist includes 54 fish, 20 amphibians, 33 reptiles, 173 birds, 32 mammals, 125 common insects and 53 miscellaneous invertebrates found in the park. Remember that all plants and animals in state parks are protected and should not be disturbed. Please leave them for others to enjoy. Fishing permits for trout are available.

If you wish to share your observations or sightings, especially about new or rare species, leave the information at the nature center or park office, or mail it to Nature Center, Bennett Spring State Park, 26250 Highway 64A, Lebanon, MO 65536.

Wildflowers of Bennett Spring State Park

The Missouri Ozarks offer a rich diversity of flowering plants, from trees, vines and shrubs to grasses and herbaceous plants. Streamside habitats, rich bottomlands, dry cherty slopes and forest uplands provide the variety of soils and moistures to provide a mosiac of landscapes. This listing contains the 400 species of flowering plants currently known in the park. Some species are grouped generally under a single heading to simplify and shorten this list.

The wildflowers in this list are grouped by the predominant color of their bloom. Because names of wildflowers can vary from place to place, their scientific name is included for more definite identification. In the event that there are several species within the genus of a hard to identify group of wildflowers, only the genus is listed with "spp." and the number of species that may be found is in parentheses. For further identification of these genera, you may wish to consult Steyermark's Flora of Missouri. The flowers in this list are also grouped in order of the first month in which they usually bloom and listed in order of where they are in the current Missouri Wildflowers book (Missouri Department of Conservation, revised and expanded edition 1998). If they are listed in that book, the page number is included after the blooming month(s). If they are not listed in that book, there will be no page number.

Trees, shrubs and vines of Bennett Spring State Park

The central Missouri Ozarks offer a rich diversity of tree, shrub and vine species. The blend of rich bottomland and stream habitats with dry cherty slopes and forest uplands provide varied soils and moistures for a varied landscape. This listing of over 90 trees, shrubs and vines shows each species' typical habitat (although it may vary) and its abundance in the park.