Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 35 results
Media
Photo of Bradbury beebalm plant with pale flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Monarda bradburiana (sometimes M. russeliana)
Description
Also called horsemint and wild bergamot, Bradbury beebalm is a showy, fragrant plant that is a favorite of native plant gardeners. It’s also a favorite of Missouri’s butterflies!
Media
Photo of butterfly pea plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Clitoria mariana
Description
Butterfly pea is a low, shrubby, or twining perennial in the pea family, with showy, butterfly-like flowers. The leaves are compound with three leaflets. This species grows in the southern parts of Missouri, in acid soils.
Media
Photo of a cornflower, closeup of a flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Centaurea cyanus
Description
A native of Europe, cornflower is a popular garden flower that often escapes to nearby areas. It’s used in bridal bouquets and men’s boutonnieres. Its intense blue color appears in boxes of crayons!
Media
Photo of crown vetch, closeup of a flower cluster.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Securigera varia (formerly Coronilla varia)
Description
In summer, you’re almost guaranteed to see big colonies of crown vetch along Missouri's highways. This weedy nonnative plant stabilizes the dirt after road construction but degrades our natural ecosystems.
Media
Deptfort pink blooming in an open area
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dianthus armeria
Description
Deptford pink has straight, strong, narrow stems that bear small clusters of pink flowers with white dots. Common statewide in sunny, open locations such as pastures and roadsides.
Media
Photo of field milkwort flowerheads.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Polygala sanguinea
Description
The dense, cylindrical flower clusters of field milkwort are pink to white and, at first glance, look something like a clover head. This small annual wildflower is common in prairies, old fields, meadows, and glades.
Media
Photo of fourleaf milkweed plant with flower clusters
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asclepias quadrifolia
Description
One of our earliest blooming milkweeds, fourleaf milkweed bears round clusters of pink or cream-colored flowers. As the common names suggest, at least some of the leaves are arranged in whorls of 4.
Media
Photo of glade coneflower flowerhead showing yellow pollen
Species Types
Scientific Name
Echinacea simulata
Description
One of Missouri’s five types of echinacea, glade coneflower is distinguished by its yellow pollen, drooping pink or purple ray flowers, and narrow, tapering leaves. Look for it in the eastern Ozarks, and at native plant nurseries!
Media
Photo of goat's rue showing flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tephrosia virginiana
Description
Two-colored flowers of pink and light yellow make goat's rue easy to identify. Look for this legume in rocky, open woods, savannas, prairies, glades, and fields.
Media
Photo of green-flowered milkweed showing flowers and leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asclepias viridis
Description
The flower clusters of green-flowered or spider milkweed bear large flowers for a milkweed. The jazzy purple hoods are dazzling against the greenish-yellow petals.
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!