Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 46 results
Media
Photo of Adam and Eve orchid flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aplectrum hyemale
Description
Adam and Eve orchid is noticeable on winter woodland hikes. It is a green-and-white-striped, pleated leaf lying flat upon the dead leaves on the forest floor. Check back in May to see its flowers!
Media
Photo of American germander flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Teucrium canadense
Description
Like most other mints, American germander has square stems, opposite leaves, and two-lobed flowers. The unusual configuration of the corolla lobes is the key identifying characteristic.
Media
Photo of blue phlox (wild sweet William) plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phlox divaricata
Description
A common, eye-catching native spring wildflower, blue phlox is found nearly statewide.
Media
Photo of bluebells, or Virginia cowslip, plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Mertensia virginica
Description
One of our most stunning early spring wildflowers, bluebells is also a popular native plant for gardening. As with all native plant gardening, make sure you get your plants from ethical sources.
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 cardinal flower plants in flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lobelia cardinalis
Description
Cardinal flower provides a splash of bright red along streams and rivers, in bottomland forests, in ditches by roads, and in other wet places. It's a long-blooming Missouri native wildflower.
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 common milkweed flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asclepias syriaca
Description
Common milkweed is famous as a food plant for monarch butterflies. It bears curious seedpods bearing seeds that fly on silky parachutes. It's common statewide in a variety of habitats.
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
Photo of Dutchman's breeches plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dicentra cucullaria
Description
Dutchman’s breeches, a common spring wildflower, is easy to identify. Note its bluish-green, fernlike leaves and its leafless stalks, from which dangle several white flowers shaped like old-fashioned knee breeches.
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!