Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 59 results
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 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 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 a bull thistle flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cirsium vulgare
Description
Bull thistle is a weedy introduction from Europe, found statewide. To tell it from our other thistles, note its stems with spiny-margined wings, and its leaves with the upper surface strongly roughened with stiff, spiny bristles.
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
Photo of Culver's root plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Veronicastrum virginicum
Description
Culver’s root is a tall, graceful perennial with flower clusters that look like candelabras. The white flowers are packed together in slender, brushlike spikes. The leaves are in whorls, well-spaced along the stalk.
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.
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!