Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 70 results
Media
Photo of white snakeroot leaves and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ageratina altissima (formerly Eupatorium rugosum)
Description
White snakeroot looks very similar to thoroughworts, but it has triangular leaf blades that are more broadly angled or rounded at the base. White snakeroot is common statewide. It’s a toxic plant if eaten, so it’s good to be able to identify it.
Media
Green dragon plant in bloom along Katy Trail east of Portland Mo
Species Types
Scientific Name
Arisaema dracontium
Description
What could be cooler than finding a green dragon? This leafy green plant with a long, noodly spadix is closely related to Jack-in-the-pulpit. It occurs in the same habitats but is less common and easily overlooked.
Media
Photo of wake robin, or trillium, plant with leaves and flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trillium sessile
Description
The flower of wake robin, or trillium, has 3 petals and 3 sepals, and 3 leaves that subtend the solitary flower. The petal color varies in this common woodland spring wildflower, but it is most commonly brownish or maroon.
Media
Photo of Chinese yam showing leaves and bulbils
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dioscorea oppositifolia (sometimes called D. batatas)
Description
Similar to kudzu, Chinese yam is an aggressive vine that overtakes nearly everything within reach that stands still long enough! Learn more about this invasive plant — and please don’t plant it!
Media
Photo of leafy spurge seed heads
Species Types
Scientific Name
Euphorbia esula
Description
When you consider the negative effects this plant has on natural habitats, and how hard it is to control or eradicate, you almost want to rename it “leafy scourge”! This invasive plant is spreading in our state. Learn how to identify it.
Media
Photo of yellow star grass plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hypoxis hirsuta
Description
Yellow star grass grows throughout the tallgrass prairie region. Imagine the thoughts of pioneers when they gazed upon these bright little lilies during stops along their westward journey!
Media
Photo of wood nettle leaves at top of plant.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Laportea canadensis
Description
Wood nettle, or stinging nettle, often forms dense stands in bottomland forests, streamsides, and other places. There, canoeists, anglers, and others try to avoid touching its stinging hairs!
Media
Caucasian bluestem seed head
Species Types
Scientific Name
Bothriochloa bladhii
Description
Causasian bluestem and the closely related yellow bluestem are both aggressive, weedy degraders of pasturelands that escape cultivation and endanger native habitats. Learn more about these Old World grasses, and please don’t plant them!
Media
Photo of several reed canary grass plants with flowering heads
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phalaris arundinacea
Description
Reed canary grass is native to Europe, Asia, and North America, and it varies quite a bit. Our native Missouri version, for instance, is quite different from the Eurasian type that has been widely introduced — and which has proven to be highly invasive.
Media
Photo of tall fescue plants
Species Types
Scientific Name
Festuca arundinacea
Description
You’ve seen it a million times, now learn to identify it! Technically an exotic invasive plant, tall fescue is practically everywhere, from lawns to levees, and from pastures to (unfortunately!) prairies.
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!