Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 124 results
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 leafy spurge seed heads
Species Types
Scientific Name
Euphorbia esula
Description
When you consider the negative effects this plant has on natural habitats, and how hard it is to control or eradicate, you almost want to rename it “leafy scourge”! This invasive plant is spreading in our state. Learn how to identify it.
Media
Photo of Carolina false dandelion flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pyrrhopappus carolinianus
Description
One of several native plants called dandelions, Carolina false dandelion is an annual with sulphur yellow flowers and puffy seedheads.
Media
Photo of two-flowered Cynthiana flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Krigia biflora
Description
There are several members of the aster family that look something like common dandelions. But unlike the familiar lawn weed, two-flowered Cynthia is a native Missouri wildflower.
Media
Photo of beaked hawkweed flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hieracium gronovii
Description
A native wildflower of forests, blufftops, glades, pastures, and roadsides, beaked hawkweed looks something like a hairy, yellow-flowering chicory. It is found mostly south of the Missouri River.
Media
Photo of two golden aster flowerheads plus a few leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Heterotheca camporum (syn. Chrysopsis villosa var. camporum)
Description
Golden aster can cover entire valleys with its bright yellow flowers. It blooms June through October and is scattered mostly south of the Missouri River.
Media
Photo of yellow crownbeard flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Verbesina helianthoides
Description
Yellow crownbeard and its close relatives are called wingstems because of lengthwise, winged ridges along the stems. Look for it blooming, May through October, in open and rocky areas.
Media
Photo of western goat's beard or salsify flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tragopogon dubius
Description
With its yellow composite flowers and round seedheads of fluffy “parachutes,” goat’s beard looks like a gigantic dandelion. A native of Europe, many people view it as an invasive weed.
Media
Photo of rough-fruited cinquefoil plant and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Potentilla recta
Description
Rough-fruited cinquefoil is common in most of North America in fields and pastures, along roadsides, and other disturbed areas. It’s a stout, tall, hairy plant with five yellow to cream-colored, slightly notched petals.
Media
Photo of eastern prickly pear plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Opuntia humifusa (formerly O. compressa)
Description
Cacti make us think of the desert southwest, but there is at least one species native to Missouri. This prickly pear grows in glades, sand prairies, rocky open hillsides, and other dry, sun-soaked areas.
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!