Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 20 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
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
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.
Media
Photo of cup plant flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Silphium perfoliatum
Description
Called carpenter’s weed for its remarkably square stems, cup plant is also notable for its large, opposite leaves that fuse around the stem to form a leafy cup that holds rainwater.
Media
Giant ragweed foliage
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambrosia trifida
Description
Large stands of wind-pollinated giant ragweed commonly form in disturbed areas, causing late-summer misery in the form of hay fever for many Missourians.
Media
Photo of the upper portions of two Jerusalem artichoke plants.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helianthus tuberosus
Description
Jerusalem artichoke deserves a better common name. This tall native sunflower has edible tubers and great crop potential, but it has never been very big commercially. Fortunately, we can enjoy it for free in nature.
Media
Late boneset plant in bloom, vertical image
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eupatorium serotinum
Description
Late boneset, or late-flowering thoroughwort, is a native perennial wildflower with clusters of white, fuzzy-looking flowers. It’s one of nine similar-looking species of thoroughworts in Missouri.
Media
Photo of mist flower or wild ageratum plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Conoclinium coelestinum (formerly Eupatorium coelestinum)
Description
Mist flower, or wild ageratum, is a vigorous native perennial bearing fluffy-looking, bluish-purple flowerheads. It looks quite a bit like the annual ageratum that is sold as a bedding plant in garden centers.
Media
Photo of three ox-eye or false sunflower flowerheads
Species Types
Scientific Name
Heliopsis helianthoides
Description
Ox-eye is a sunflower lookalike. This member of the sunflower family is not a true Helianthus, but a Heliopsis. This attractive perennial is growing in popularity as a native garden flower.
Media
Photo of leaf cup flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Polymnia canadensis
Description
Leaf cup is named for the leafy appendages that wrap around the stem at the bases of the opposite leaves. Part of the sunflower family, leaf cup has about 8 white ray florets surrounding yellow disk florets.
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!