Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 144 results
Media
Photo of rose verbena, or rose vervain, flower cluster showing leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Glandularia canadensis (formerly Verbena canadensis)
Description
One of our jazziest spring flowers, rose verbena catches your eye in the prairies and open areas it prefers. At first glance, you might think this is a type of phlox, but the rough, lobed and toothed foliage will tell you a different story.
Media
Photo of sand phlox several flowers showing cleft petal lobes
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phlox bifida
Description
A spreading, mat-forming perennial of dry, rocky soils, sand phlox is distinguished from our other phloxes by its creeping habit and the deep, V-shaped notch on each of the five petal lobes.
Media
Photo of purple milkweed flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asclepias purpurascens
Description
The flowers of purple milkweed are pale purple to reddish purple to dark purple, with greenish or red tints. The scientific name means “becoming purple”: The flowers start off rather pale and become more intensely purplish as they mature.
Media
Photo of false dragonhead plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Physostegia virginiana
Description
False dragonhead is called "obedient plant" because when you push one of the flowers sideways, it "obediently" stays in place for a while.
Media
Photo of Fremont’s leather flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Clematis fremontii
Description
The only non-climbing clematis in the state, Fremont’s leather flower is a shrubby perennial with bell-shaped flowers. It grows on open glades in the eastern part of Missouri and in southwestern Missouri’s Ozark County.
Media
Photo of blue-eyed grass flower closeup
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sisyrinchium campestre
Description
It has grasslike leaves, but it’s not a grass. In fact, it’s in the same family as the common garden iris! Four species of blue-eyed grass grow in Missouri, and this one, often found on prairies, glades, and pastures, is the most common.
Media
Photo of shining blue star flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Amsonia illustris
Description
Often found on gravelly Ozark streamsides, shining blue star lifts its clusters of showy, light-blue flowers in late spring. A top choice for native wildflower gardening, it is interesting spring, summer, and fall.
Media
Photo of southern blue flag iris plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Iris virginica
Description
Ten species of iris grow wild in our state, but only four of them are native. Of our native irises, this one is the most common. But drainage “improvements” are eliminating the habitat of this beautiful wetland wildflower.
Media
Photo of hairy vetch flower clusters and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Vicia villosa
Description
Branching, spreading, and tangling, hairy vetch forms dense colonies along highways and other disturbed sites. This softly hairy ground-covering plant has one-sided clusters of purple pea flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Orbexilum onobrychis (formerly Psoralea onobrychis)
Description
Looking absolutely nothing like a grass, French grass, a legume, bears upright spikes of pale purple flowers on long stems from the leaf axils. The leaves are trifoliate, resembling those of soybeans.
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!