Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 22 results
Media
Arrowhead plant showing leaves and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sagittaria spp.
Description
Arrowheads are aquatic plants with erect, usually arrow-shaped leaves and distinctive three-petaled flowers. They are often called duck potatoes because ducks, geese, and swans relish the tuberlike rootstocks.
Media
Photo of Chinese yam showing leaves and bulbils
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dioscorea oppositifolia (sometimes called D. batatas)
Description
Similar to kudzu, Chinese yam is an aggressive vine that overtakes nearly everything within reach that stands still long enough! Learn more about this invasive plant — and please don’t plant it!
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
Rope dodder stems
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cuscuta spp.
Description
Dodders are easy to identify, even though at first you might not recognize them as plants. These parasitic plants usually look like a hairlike mass of yellow or orange, leafless, wiry, vining stems wrapping around the stems of other plants.
Media
Photo of dwarf larkspur flowers with leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Delphinium tricorne
Description
Dwarf larkspur is a single-stemmed perennial with an upright flower stalk bearing racemes of bluish-purple flowers. Like other larkspurs, there is a spurlike appendage behind each flower.
Media
Photo of tall goldenrod plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Solidago spp. (23 species in Missouri)
Description
There are 23 species of goldenrods in Missouri. They can be hard to identify to species, but as a group, the goldenrods are common and nearly unmistakable.
Media
Photo of horse nettle flowers and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Solanum carolinense
Description
Horse nettle is a native perennial with spiny stems and leaves, white to purplish flowers, and toxic fruits that look like tiny yellow tomatoes. It does well in disturbed habitats, and many people consider it a weed.
Media
Photo of horseweed flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Conyza canadensis (formerly Erigeron canadensis)
Description
Horseweed looks something like a goldenrod, except that the tiny composite flowers are not yellow. Instead, they are cream-colored and rather drab. In Missouri, this plant is especially associated with disturbed habitats and is a troublesome crop weed.
Media
Photo of Japanese knotweed
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fallopia japonica
Description
One of the worst invasive species in the world, Japanese knotweed can thrive in many places and can even damage foundations of buildings — not to mention the harm it causes in natural habitats. Learn to recognize it so you can prevent its spread.
Media
Photo of moth mullein flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Verbascum blattaria
Description
Moth mullein is a native of Eurasia introduced to our continent in the early 1800s. Since then, it has spread across North America. It’s named because the fuzzy flower, with 2 antennalike stamens, looks something like a moth.
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!