Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 50 results
Media
American, or common boneset, flower clusters and upper stem leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eupatorium perfoliatum
Description
American, or common boneset has small, white flowerheads in flat-topped clusters at the top of the plant. The leaves are hairy, narrowly triangular, and in opposite pairs fused around the stem.
Media
American bugleweed blooming on Tucker Prairie
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lycopus americanus
Description
Not the showiest of wildflowers, American bugleweed will catch your eye with its interesting geometry. The narrow, toothed leaves are opposite on the stalks and occur at right angles to the pair below.
Media
Photo of American germander flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Teucrium canadense
Description
Like most other mints, American germander has square stems, opposite leaves, and two-lobed flowers. The unusual configuration of the corolla lobes is the key identifying characteristic.
Media
Photo of American water willow closeup on flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Justicia americana
Description
American water willow is common on gravel bars and other stream banks throughout much of Missouri. The dense colonies of emergent stems have leaves like a willow’s, but the two-lipped flowers resemble little orchids.
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 beefsteak plant showing upper leaves and flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Perilla frutescens
Description
Introduced as an ornamental, beefsteak plant is native to Asia. It is common in moist or dry wooded bottomlands, open valley pastures, and along trails, railroads, and roadsides. It spreads invasively in our state.
Media
Photo of blue vervain flower clusters in a prairie
Species Types
Scientific Name
Verbena hastata
Description
Blue vervain is a tall, slender, erect perennial with branching stems and rough hairs. Its tubular flowers are clustered in many terminal spikes, and can be deep purple, violet, light lavender, or rarely white.
Media
Photo of Chinese yam showing leaves and bulbils
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dioscorea oppositifolia (sometimes called D. batatas)
Description
Similar to kudzu, Chinese yam is an aggressive vine that overtakes nearly everything within reach that stands still long enough! Learn more about this invasive plant — and please don’t plant it!
Media
Common chickweed plant in bloom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Stellaria media
Description
Common chickweed, native to Europe, has been introduced nearly worldwide and is a familiar garden weed in Missouri. It forms spreading mats on the ground and has small flowers with 5 petals, each deeply lobed making it look like 10.
Media
Common ragweed leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambrosia artemisiifolia
Description
Common ragweed is instantly recognizable by its ornate, 2–3 times pinnately lobed, hairy leaves. You’ve probably seen it many times and wondered what it was.
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!