Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 33 results
Media
Photo of American ginseng plant with ripe berries
Species Types
Scientific Name
Panax quinquefolius
Description
Wild and cultivated ginseng produce an annual crop in the United States and Canada valued in excess of $25 million, but overzealous collection is causing serious concern about the survival of American ginseng in the forest ecosystem.
Media
Photo of blue false indigo flowering stalk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Baptisia australis
Description
Blue false indigo is a native bushy perennial with three-parted compound leaves and showy, upright stalks of blue pea flowers. The seedpods are inflated and turn black upon maturity, and the seeds rattle around in the dry pods.
Media
Photo of butterfly pea plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Clitoria mariana
Description
Butterfly pea is a low, shrubby, or twining perennial in the pea family, with showy, butterfly-like flowers. The leaves are compound with three leaflets. This species grows in the southern parts of Missouri, in acid soils.
Media
Photo of Carolina larkspur plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Delphinium carolinianum
Description
Small blue, lavender, or white flowers shaped like cornucopias dance along the tall stems of this Carolina larkspur, which grows in prairies and grasslands.
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 columbine flower closeup
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aquilegia canadensis
Description
Native to much of eastern North America, eastern red columbine's range almost matches the breeding territory of the ruby-throated hummingbird, its number-one pollinator. Its bloom time matches the hummingbird's northward migration, too.
Media
Photo of common cinquefoil plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Potentilla simplex
Description
Common cinquefoil, or five-finger, is named for its leaves, which are divided into five fingerlike leaflets. One of seven cinquefoils in Missouri, it blooms from April to June and is scattered nearly statewide.
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 crown vetch, closeup of a flower cluster.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Securigera varia (formerly Coronilla varia)
Description
In summer, you’re almost guaranteed to see big colonies of crown vetch along Missouri's highways. This weedy nonnative plant stabilizes the dirt after road construction but degrades our natural ecosystems.
Media
Photo of early buttercup plant with flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ranunculus fascicularis
Description
There are nearly 20 species in the genus Ranunculus in Missouri. Identify early buttercup by its early blooming time, its distinctively shaped, usually hairy leaves, and its preference for open woods, glades, or prairies.
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!