Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 22 results
Media
Buffalo grass with male flowering stalks
Species Types
Scientific Name
Buchloe dactyloides
Description
Buffalo grass is a native perennial warm-season short grass that creeps widely by runners and forms dense mats. As a native, it occurs in the prairies in far northwest Missouri, but it now occurs elsewhere in the state and has become popular as a lawn grass.
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
Common ragweed leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambrosia artemisiifolia
Description
Common ragweed is instantly recognizable by its ornate, 2–3 times pinnately lobed, hairy leaves. You’ve probably seen it many times and wondered what it was.
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
Giant ragweed foliage
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambrosia trifida
Description
Large stands of wind-pollinated giant ragweed commonly form in disturbed areas, causing late-summer misery in the form of hay fever for many Missourians.
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
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 Johnson grass flower clusters
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sorghum halepense
Description
Johnson grass is a native of the Mediterranean that is invasive in our country. It’s a weed that infests cropland and degrades native ecosystems, and heavy infestations are found in all the major river bottoms of Missouri.
Media
Lamb's quarters plant growing in bare, disturbed soil
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chenopodium album
Description
Lamb’s quarters won’t win any beauty contests for its flowers, but it merits an award for being both a common garden weed as well as a nutritious leafy green valued around the world.
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.
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!