Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 8 of 8 results
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 several big bluestem seed heads against a blue sky.
Species Types
Scientific Name
All true grasses (species in the grass family)
Description
Missouri has 276 species in the grass family, including well-known crop plants and our native prairie grasses. Distinguishing between the species can be difficult, but it’s easy to learn some basics about the group.
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 hogwort plant showing upper stem leaves and flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Croton capitatus
Description
Hogwort is fuzzy, densely covered with whitish hairs. A common but often overlooked plant in pastures, prairies, ditches, and roadsides, it’s usually less than 18 inches tall.
Media
Photo of Japanese knotweed
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fallopia japonica
Description
One of the worst invasive species in the world, Japanese knotweed can thrive in many places and can even damage foundations of buildings — not to mention the harm it causes in natural habitats. Learn to recognize it so you can prevent its spread.
Media
Whorled milkweed flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Subfamily Asclepiadoideae
Description
Milkweeds are a group of plants that used to have their very own family. Now part of the dogbane family, they’re still a pretty distinctive group.
Media
Photo of yellow passionflower flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Passiflora lutea
Description
Yellow passion flower is the smaller of Missouri’s two Passiflora species. Both are vines that climb via tendrils. This one has yellowish-green flowers about an inch wide. Look for it along and south of the Missouri River.
Media
Photo of soapweed, a type of yucca
Species Types
Scientific Name
Yucca smalliana, Y. glauca, and Y. arkansana
Description
Three species of yucca grow wild in Missouri. Spanish bayonet was introduced from the Southwest and has escaped from cultivation, but our two soapweeds are native.
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!