Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 406 results
Media
Arrow-leaved violet plant blooming on a prairie in springtime
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola sagittata
Description
Arrow-leaved violet, or arrowhead violet, is a native Missouri perennial spring wildflower that grows in prairies, glades, and woodland openings. It has distinctive arrowhead-shaped leaves.
Media
Plains violet, or wayside violet, Viola viarum, plants in bloom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola viarum
Description
The leaf blades of plains, or wayside violet are highly variable, and the plant produces differently shaped leaves as the season progresses. It’s quite similar to cleft violet, but the leaves are smooth and hairless.
Media
Cobaea beardtongue blooming at Painted Rock Conservation Area
Species Types
Scientific Name
Penstemon cobaea
Description
Cobaea beardtongue, or purple beardtongue, is probably Missouri’s showiest species of penstemon. Native to Missouri's southern Ozarks, it is grown statewide for its beauty, and because pollinators like it. It may be purple or white.
Media
Virginia sneezeweed flowers in bloom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helenium virginicum
Description
Virginia sneezeweed is the rarest of Missouri’s four sneezeweeds. A state endangered and federally threatened species, it occurs in about 60 sites in our southern Ozark counties, primarily in boggy, sinkhole pond habitats.
Media
Photo of showy partridge pea showing flowers, buds, and leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chamaecrista fasciculata (formerly Cassia fasciculata)
Description
The interesting, bright yellow flowers of showy partridge pea are immediately recognizable. At night, the leaflets close and pull upward into a sleeping position.
Media
Photo of American ginseng plant with ripe berries
Species Types
Scientific Name
Panax quinquefolius
Description
Wild and cultivated ginseng produce an annual crop in the United States and Canada valued in excess of $25 million, but overzealous collection is causing serious concern about the survival of American ginseng in the forest ecosystem.
Media
Common violet, closeup of flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola sororia
Description
The common violet can be violet, white, or white with violet mottling or spots. One of 17 species or violets in Missouri, it occurs statewide in a variety of habitats. Note its heart-shaped or rounded, scalloped leaves, and (usually) the presence of hairs on stems and/or foliage.
Media
Bird's-Foot Violet
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola pedata
Description
In springtime, bird's-foot violet can make a glade or bluff top heavenly with its pretty lavender and purple "faces." When you see your first big colony of bird's-foot violets, you will probably never forget it.
Media
Photo of yellow violet plant with flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola pubescens (formerly V. pensylvanica)
Description
The yellow violet is Missouri's only all-yellow violet. This native wildflower is less common than violet violets. Look for it in low woods, rich slopes, and wooded floodplains.
Media
Photo of blue-eyed Mary flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Collinsia verna
Description
The flowers of blue-eyed Mary are only about a half inch wide, but this pretty wildflower makes up for it by usually appearing in abundance, covering a patch of forest floor with little sky-blue and white “faces.”
See Also

About Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants in Missouri

A very simple way of thinking about the green world is to divide the vascular plants into two groups: woody and nonwoody (or herbaceous). But this is an artificial division; many plant families include some species that are woody and some that are not. The diversity of nonwoody vascular plants is staggering! Think of all the ferns, grasses, sedges, lilies, peas, sunflowers, nightshades, milkweeds, mustards, mints, and mallows — weeds and wildflowers — and many more!