Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 50 results
Media
Photo of American feverfew flower cluster.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Parthenium integrifolium
Description
A common component of high-quality upland prairie, American feverfew, or wild quinine, is a native wildflower that was used to treat fevers or malaria. It's in the composite family.
Media
Photo of beaked hawkweed flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hieracium gronovii
Description
A native wildflower of forests, blufftops, glades, pastures, and roadsides, beaked hawkweed looks something like a hairy, yellow-flowering chicory. It is found mostly south of the Missouri River.
Media
Photo of blackberry lily showing open and spent flowers and developing fruits.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Iris domestica (formerly Belamcanda chinensis)
Description
Blackberry lily has leaves like an iris, flowers like an Asian lily, and seeds that look like blackberries! Introduced as an ornamental, this self-seeding member of the iris family occurs on bluffs, roadsides, and old homesites.
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-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
Bottlebrush grass flowerhead showing spikelets spreading away from main axis
Species Types
Scientific Name
Elymus hystrix
Description
Bottlebrush grass is a native perennial, tuft-forming wild rye that typically grows in woodlands. The widely spaced spikelets spread away at a right angle from the main flowering stem.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Bromus pubescens (formerly B. purgans)
Description
Several species of brome grasses are found in Missouri. Canada brome, or hairy woodland brome, is one of the few that are native. It grows to 4 feet high, and its open flower clusters have drooping spikelets.
Media
Canada wild rye seed heads in late season, showing drooping habit and curling awns
Species Types
Scientific Name
Elymus canadensis
Description
Canada wild rye can be identified by its bristly seed heads, which curve downward. As the seeds mature, the straight, long awns curve and bend. This is a common native cool-season grass that reaches about 4 feet tall and is highly valued as forage and hay for livestock.
Media
Photo of common golden Alexanders plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Zizia aurea
Description
Named for its resemblance to a European herb that was popular in Medieval times, golden Alexanders is a native Missouri wildflower with bright yellow flowers arranged in umbrella-like clusters.
Media
Curly dock plants blooming on a field margin north of Jefferson City
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rumex crispus
Description
Curly dock’s rosettes of wavy-edged, leathery leaves are a common sight on roadsides and other disturbed lands. The fruit clusters at the top half of the plant turn dark rusty brown and are easy to spot from a distance.
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!