Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 38 results
Media
Photo of American feverfew flower cluster.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Parthenium integrifolium
Description
A common component of high-quality upland prairie, American feverfew, or wild quinine, is a native wildflower that was used to treat fevers or malaria. It's in the composite family.
Media
Photo of blue-eyed grass flower closeup
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sisyrinchium campestre
Description
It has grasslike leaves, but it’s not a grass. In fact, it’s in the same family as the common garden iris! Four species of blue-eyed grass grow in Missouri, and this one, often found on prairies, glades, and pastures, is the most common.
Media
Butterweed blooming at Mokane Access, April 26, 2020
Species Types
Scientific Name
Packera glabella (formerly Senecio glabellus)
Description
Butterweed, one of Missouri’s seven species of ragworts or groundsels, is the only one that is an annual. It grows in colonies, at times covering acres of floodplain. Stems are heavily ridged and usually inflated or hollow. It blooms April–June.
Media
Photo of cleavers flower cluster with developing fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Galium aparine
Description
The tiny white flowers of this native plant are not very memorable, but the curious, sticky-feeling whorls of narrow leaves and lightweight, 4-sided stems make cleavers unique. And then there’s the tiny, round, “Velcro” covered balls of the seeds, which “stick tight” to your socks!
Media
Photo of common golden Alexanders plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Zizia aurea
Description
Named for its resemblance to a European herb that was popular in Medieval times, golden Alexanders is a native Missouri wildflower with bright yellow flowers arranged in umbrella-like clusters.
Media
Photo of common water hemlock or spotted cowbane flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cicuta maculata
Description
Full grown, water hemlock looks something like a gigantic Queen Anne's lace, but this common, widespread member of the carrot family is the most toxic plant in North America. All parts are deadly. A piece of root the size of a walnut can kill a cow-sized animal.
Media
Curly dock plants blooming on a field margin north of Jefferson City
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rumex crispus
Description
Curly dock’s rosettes of wavy-edged, leathery leaves are a common sight on roadsides and other disturbed lands. The fruit clusters at the top half of the plant turn dark rusty brown and are easy to spot from a distance.
Media
Photo of false garlic flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nothoscordum bivalve
Description
False garlic looks like a wild garlic or onion plant, but it doesn’t smell like one. The flowers can be white, yellowish, or greenish, and they appear in spring and sometimes also fall.
Media
Photo of flowering spurge flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Euphorbia corollata
Description
With widespread sprays of small white flowers, flowering spurge looks a lot like the "baby's breath" so popular with florists. Each little "flower" has 5 white false petals surrounding a cup of tiny yellow male flowers and a single female flower.
Media
Photo of foxglove beardtongue flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Penstemon digitalis
Description
Foxglove, or smooth beardtongue is a showy flower that is popular in native gardening. It is the tallest of the four white-flowered penstemons in Missouri.
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!