Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 54 results
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 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 black mustard flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Brassica nigra
Description
Next time you breeze past weedy black mustard on the highway or spot it in a fallow field, think of how important this and other mustards are to the world economy – and to your dinner table.
Media
Top of a prairie blazing star’s floral spike, with the sky and prairie visible in the background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Liatris spp.
Description
Missouri boasts nine native species of blazing stars, or gayfeathers, in genus Liatris. These showy, upright, unbranching spikes of magenta-pink wildflowers bloom in sunny habitats.
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 cardinal flower plants in flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lobelia cardinalis
Description
Cardinal flower provides a splash of bright red along streams and rivers, in bottomland forests, in ditches by roads, and in other wet places. It's a long-blooming Missouri native wildflower.
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
Photo of several cattail flowering stalks
Species Types
Scientific Name
Typha spp.
Description
Missouri’s cattails are all tall wetland plants with narrow, upright leaves emerging from a thick base, and a central stalk bearing a brown, sausage-shaped flower spike.
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
Cobaea beardtongue blooming at Painted Rock Conservation Area
Species Types
Scientific Name
Penstemon cobaea
Description
Cobaea beardtongue, or purple beardtongue, is probably Missouri’s showiest species of penstemon. Native to Missouri's southern Ozarks, it is grown statewide for its beauty, and because pollinators like it. It may be purple or white.
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!