Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 94 results
Media
Western ironweed flowerhead in bloom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Vernonia baldwinii
Description
Ironweeds are tough, grayish-green, branching plants known for their fluffy-looking clusters of reddish-purple florets. They are a familiar sight on roadsides and pastures. Identify western ironweed by the bracts at the base of the flowerheads.
Media
Photo of fire pink flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Silene virginica
Description
Fire pink is a low, clump-forming perennial with many slender, spreading stems that are sticky from glandular hairs, with open clusters of bright red flowers. This showy native Missouri plant is growing in popularity among home gardeners.
Media
Photo of garlic mustard plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alliaria petiolata
Description
Because each plant disperses a large number of seeds, garlic mustard can outcompete native vegetation for light, moisture, nutrients, soil, and space as it quickly colonizes an area.
Media
Photo of glade coneflower flowerhead showing yellow pollen
Species Types
Scientific Name
Echinacea simulata
Description
One of Missouri’s five types of echinaceas, glade coneflower is distinguished by its yellow pollen, drooping pink or purple ray flowers, and narrow, tapering leaves. Look for it in the eastern Ozarks, and at native plant nurseries!
Media
Photo of white anemone
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anemone canadensis
Description
White anemone is a showy native wildflower with interesting, deeply toothed leaves. Often occurring in colonies, it spreads easily (even aggressively) from rhizomes and is sometimes cultivated in wildflower gardens.
Media
Photo of wild hyacinth flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Camassia scilloides
Description
In spring, wild hyacinth bears an elongated cluster of pale blue flowers with prominent anthers that sway on stalks up to 2 feet tall.
Media
spotted knapweed
Species Types
Scientific Name
Centaurea stoebe
Description
Spotted knapweed is an invasive plant that outcompetes native communities, takes over pastureland, and even beats back invasive sericea lespedeza! It has arrived in our state. Let’s prevent its spread.
Media
Photo of wild geranium plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Geranium maculatum
Description
Called “crane’s bill” for its sharply pointed seed capsules, wild geranium is a gardening favorite, and there are cultivated varieties of this woodland wildflower bred for unique petal and leaf colors.
Media
Photo of woollen breeches flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hydrophyllum appendiculatum
Description
Woollen breeches bears clusters of light blue, bell-shaped flowers. The lower leaves of this hairy plant are shaped something like maple leaves and often have grayish or light green marks that look like water stains.
Media
Photo of wild petunia flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ruellia strepens
Description
Although the funnel-shaped, 5-lobed flowers look something like the petunias you find at garden centers, our wild petunia is not related to them. This ruellia often has crinkled hairs in 2 narrow, lengthwise bands on opposite sides of the stalk.
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!