Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 46 results
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 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.
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 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
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.
Media
Photo of several pinesap plants showing multiple flowers per stalk.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Monotropa hypopitys
Description
Pinesap is a plant that puts the "wild" in wildflower! It lacks chlorophyll, so its roots connect to fungi underground and absorb nutrients from the fungi.
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 purple milkweed flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asclepias purpurascens
Description
The flowers of purple milkweed are pale purple to reddish purple to dark purple, with greenish or red tints. The scientific name means “becoming purple”: The flowers start off rather pale and become more intensely purplish as they mature.
Media
Photo of perennial or summer phlox flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phlox paniculata
Description
Perennial phlox has big, showy clusters of flowers. A tall, late-blooming native wildflower of woodland borders, steamsides, and gravel bars, it is also an old-fashioned garden favorite.
Media
Photo of false dragonhead plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Physostegia virginiana
Description
False dragonhead is called "obedient plant" because when you push one of the flowers sideways, it "obediently" stays in place for a while.
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!