Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 119 results
Media
Photo of lotus in pool at Duck Creek CA
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nelumbo lutea
Description
American lotus is an aquatic plant with circular leaves that are held above water. The large yellow flowers have an interesting showerhead-like disk at the center.
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 ashy sunflowers showing flowers, leaves, and stems.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helianthus mollis
Description
Ashy sunflower is relatively short compared to others in its genus. Its leaves are grayish, hairy, sessile, and broadly oval. Its colonies are common in upland prairies in the southern half of the state.
Media
Photo of autumn sneezeweed flowerheads, closeup.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helenium autumnale
Description
Autumn sneezeweed is a late-blooming perennial with conspicuously winged stems. The flowerheads have yellow, domed disks. The ray flowers are fan-shaped, yellow, and notched.
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 bird's-foot trefoil, close-up of flower cluster.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lotus corniculatus
Description
Bird’s-foot trefoil forms low patches of bright yellow flowers along roadsides, having been planted to stabilize soil after road construction. Up close, it clearly has pea flowers. The leaves are cloverlike, with two leafy stipules at the base of each.
Media
Photo of blooming bitterweed plant shown from top.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helenium amarum
Description
Our weediest sneezeweed, bitterweed arrived in Missouri in the late 1800s from its home range in Texas and Louisiana. Like our other heleniums, it has domed disks and yellow, fan-shaped, notched ray florets. Unlike them, the leaves are narrowly linear.
Media
Photo of black medick closeup of cloverlike yellow flowerhead
Species Types
Scientific Name
Medicago lupulina
Description
The small, cloverlike flowering heads and trifoliate leaves of black medick are clues that this plant is in the Fabaceae, the bean or pea family. An introduced, weedy species, it is closely related to alfalfa.
Media
Photo of black mustard flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Brassica nigra
Description
Next time you breeze past weedy black mustard on the highway or spot it in a fallow field, think of how important this and other mustards are to the world economy – and to your dinner table.
Media
Photo of several black-eyed Susan flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rudbeckia hirta
Description
Black-eyed Susan is a tremendously popular native wildflower for gardening. It’s also commonly planted along roadways, so when it’s blooming, May through October, you’re sure to see it somewhere.
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!