Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 255 results
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
Photo of goat's beard plant with flower clusters
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aruncus dioicus
Description
Goat’s beard is named for its bold, branching, plumelike clusters of flowers. Look for it growing in rich soils in low woods and north-facing slopes, bases of bluffs, and other moist places in the southeastern half of our state.
Media
Photo of blue-eyed grass flower closeup
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sisyrinchium campestre
Description
It has grasslike leaves, but it’s not a grass. In fact, it’s in the same family as the common garden iris! Four species of blue-eyed grass grow in Missouri, and this one, often found on prairies, glades, and pastures, is the most common.
Media
Photo of shining blue star flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Amsonia illustris
Description
Often found on gravelly Ozark streamsides, shining blue star lifts its clusters of showy, light-blue flowers in late spring. A top choice for native wildflower gardening, it is interesting spring, summer, and fall.
Media
Photo of leafy spurge seed heads
Species Types
Scientific Name
Euphorbia esula
Description
When you consider the negative effects this plant has on natural habitats, and how hard it is to control or eradicate, you almost want to rename it “leafy scourge”! This invasive plant is spreading in our state. Learn how to identify it.
Media
Photo of southern blue flag iris plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Iris virginica
Description
Ten species of iris grow wild in our state, but only four of them are native. Of our native irises, this one is the most common. But drainage “improvements” are eliminating the habitat of this beautiful wetland wildflower.
Media
Photo of hairy vetch flower clusters and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Vicia villosa
Description
Branching, spreading, and tangling, hairy vetch forms dense colonies along highways and other disturbed sites. This softly hairy ground-covering plant has one-sided clusters of purple pea flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Orbexilum onobrychis (formerly Psoralea onobrychis)
Description
Looking absolutely nothing like a grass, French grass, a legume, bears upright spikes of pale purple flowers on long stems from the leaf axils. The leaves are trifoliate, resembling those of soybeans.
Media
Photo of Carolina false dandelion flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pyrrhopappus carolinianus
Description
One of several native plants called dandelions, Carolina false dandelion is an annual with sulphur yellow flowers and puffy seedheads.
Media
Photo of two-flowered Cynthiana flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Krigia biflora
Description
There are several members of the aster family that look something like common dandelions. But unlike the familiar lawn weed, two-flowered Cynthia is a native Missouri wildflower.
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!