Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 48 results
Media
American blue hearts blooming flower stalk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Buchnera americana
Description
American bluehearts is a single or few-stalked wildflower of prairies and glades. It has distinctive, showy purple flowers that turn black as they age.
Media
Photo of blackberry lily showing open and spent flowers and developing fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Iris domestica (formerly Belamcanda chinensis)
Description
Blackberry lily has leaves like an iris, flowers like an Asian lily, and seeds that look like blackberries! Introduced as an ornamental, this self-seeding member of the iris family occurs on bluffs, roadsides, and old homesites.
Media
Top of a prairie blazing star’s floral spike, with the sky and prairie visible in the background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Liatris spp.
Description
Missouri boasts nine native species of blazing stars, or gayfeathers, in genus Liatris. These showy, upright, unbranching spikes of magenta-pink wildflowers bloom in sunny habitats.
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 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
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
Curlytop ironweed flower cluster viewed from the side
Species Types
Scientific Name
Vernonia arkansana
Description
Curlytop ironweed is one of Missouri’s five species of ironweeds. It’s easy to identify because of its tapering, curling, threadlike involucral bracts. Also, it is usually a smooth, hairless plant.
Media
Cylindrical blazing star, top of blooming plant showing 3 flowerheads
Species Types
Scientific Name
Liatris cylindracea
Description
Cylindrical blazing star is one of several Missouri native species of blazing stars, or gayfeathers. It is widely scattered in the Ozarks and eastern Missouri. Identify it by its bracts, which are pressed against the base of the flowerhead, accentuating its cylindrical look.
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.
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!