Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 13 results
Media
Photo of climbing false buckwheat vines, leaves, and flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fallopia scandens (formerly Polygonum scandens)
Description
Climbing false buckwheat is a rampant annual or perennial climber that often forms curtainlike masses of twining red stems, covering shrubs and trees. Look for it in moist, open or shaded bottomlands, alluvial valleys, and floodplains.
Media
Rope dodder stems
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cuscuta spp.
Description
Dodders are easy to identify, even though at first you might not recognize them as plants. These parasitic plants usually look like a hairlike mass of yellow or orange, leafless, wiry, vining stems wrapping around the stems of other plants.
Media
Photo of various duckweeds and watermeal on water surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lemna spp.; Spirodella spp.; Wolffia spp.
Description
Duckweeds are the smallest of the flowering plants. They consist of tiny, green, round, leaflike bodies that float on the water’s surface. They are an important food for waterfowl.
Media
Photo of a geocarpon plant showing stems and foliage
Species Types
Scientific Name
Geocarpon minimum
Description
Geocarpon is a tiny, inconspicuous plant found almost exclusively on sandstone glade outcrops. Extremely rare, it is a species of conservation concern. It is related to carnations!
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 pokeweed plant with dangling stalks of ripe and unripe berries.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phytolacca americana
Description
A tall, smooth, branching plant with red stems and juicy, dark purple berries, pokeweed is both toxic and a traditional edible potherb called poke salat. It is common statewide.
Media
Photo of Solomon’s seal flowers and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Polygonatum biflorum
Description
Solomon's seal grows statewide in moist, rich earth. The greenish-white flowers dangle like little bells beneath the leaves, under the gracefully arching stems.
Media
Photo of a spatterdock flower held against a leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nuphar advena (formerly N. lutea)
Description
Spatterdock is a native aquatic plant with deep yellow, saucer-or globe-shaped flowers to 3 inches across. It grows in ponds, lakes, and slow-moving to stagnant portions of streams, rivers, and spring branches.
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 wood spurge flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Euphorbia commutata
Description
Conspicuous in early spring, wood spurge is a dainty species with loose clusters of small, light green flowers. Look for it in woods, valleys, streamsides, and waste areas in Ozark landscapes.
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!