Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 51 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 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
Bird's-Foot Violet
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola pedata
Description
In springtime, bird's-foot violet can make a glade or bluff top heavenly with its pretty lavender and purple "faces." When you see your first big colony of bird's-foot violets, you will probably never forget it.
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.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Bromus pubescens (formerly B. purgans)
Description
Several species of brome grasses are found in Missouri. Canada brome, or hairy woodland brome, is one of the few that are native. It grows to 4 feet high, and its open flower clusters have drooping spikelets.
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
Cleft violet, Viola palmata, blooming plant viewed from above
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola palmata (syn. V. triloba)
Description
The leaf blades of cleft violet are highly variable, and the plant produces differently shaped leaves as the season progresses. Midseason leaves have a broad central lobe flanked by additional lobes toward the base.
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
Common periwinkle, or Vinca minor, flowers and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Vinca minor
Description
Common periwinkle is a low-growing, mat-forming, purple-flowering perennial herb that is woody at the base. Native to Eurasia, it is often grown as a groundcover. It has proven invasive in much of the eastern United States and frequently escapes from cultivation. Planting it is not recommended.
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!