Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 14 results
Media
Red, or purple, clover flower head vied from the side
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trifolium pratense
Description
Red clover, or purple clover, is the familiar large, pinkish-purple clover that grows in lawns, pastures, and roadsides statewide. A Eurasian native, it was introduced to North America by the middle 1600s.
Media
Photo of a Queen Anne's lace flower cluster, seen from the top
Species Types
Scientific Name
Daucus carota
Description
Queen Anne’s lace is many things to many people — roadside wildflower, noxious introduced weed, wild edible, medicinal herb, delightful cut flower. In Missouri, it blooms May through October.
Media
Photo of large group of sericea lespedeza plants
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lespedeza cuneata
Description
Decades ago, sericea lespedeza was introduced in hopes it would provide hay, improve pastures, stop soil erosion, and supply food and cover for wildlife. Unfortunately, it has proven to be an aggressive, invasive weed that is extremely difficult to control, escapes cultivation, and outcompetes native plants.
Media
Round-headed bush clover blooming on a prairie
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lespedeza capitata
Description
Round-headed bush clover is a stiffly upright plant that has rounded flower clusters with cream-colored, pea-shaped flowers with purple markings on the banner petal. It grows statewide in open habitats.
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 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 Korean lespedeza plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Kummerowia stipulacea (formerly Lespedeza stipulacea)
Description
Korean lespedeza is an Asian clover that was introduced to North America to prevent erosion, to feed wildlife and livestock, and, since it is a legume, to add nitrogen to the soil. A weedy plant, it has spread statewide since the 1930s.
Media
Photo of ground plum, top of plant, showing flowers and several leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Astragalus crassicarpus (formerly A. mexicanus)
Description
Ground plum is a legume that bears plumlike, edible fruits. Its short, spikelike clusters of pea flowers can be white, cream, yellow, pink, or violet.
Media
Photo of a huge mass of kudzu vines covering trees and ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pueraria montana
Description
Of the many invasive exotic plants that were originally introduced to stop soil erosion and improve soils, kudzu is one of the worst. This “vine that ate the South” is often the first plant that comes to mind when we think of “invasive exotics.”
Media
Photo of slender bush clover flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lespedeza virginica
Description
A bushy native perennial legume with small clusters of pink flowers, slender bush clover provides nectar for numerous insects. Several types of birds eat the seeds, and many mammals eat the foliage.
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!