Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 78 results
Media
Photo of Adam and Eve orchid flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aplectrum hyemale
Description
Adam and Eve orchid is noticeable on winter woodland hikes. It is a green-and-white-striped, pleated leaf lying flat upon the dead leaves on the forest floor. Check back in May to see its flowers!
Media
Arrowhead plant showing leaves and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sagittaria spp.
Description
Arrowheads are aquatic plants with erect, usually arrow-shaped leaves and distinctive three-petaled flowers. They are often called duck potatoes because ducks, geese, and swans relish the tuberlike rootstocks.
Media
Photo of autumn sneezeweed flowerheads, closeup.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helenium autumnale
Description
Autumn sneezeweed is a late-blooming perennial with conspicuously winged stems. The flowerheads have yellow, domed disks. The ray flowers are fan-shaped, yellow, and notched.
Media
Photo of bushy clump of brown-eyed Susan plants.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Rudbeckia triloba
Description
Brown-eyed Susan is a bushy perennial with much-branching stems and plenty of flowerheads. Compared to Missouri’s other Rudbeckia species, its flowerheads are the smallest, growing to only about one inch across.
Media
Butterweed blooming at Mokane Access, April 26, 2020
Species Types
Scientific Name
Packera glabella (formerly Senecio glabellus)
Description
Butterweed, one of Missouri’s seven species of ragworts or groundsels, is the only one that is an annual. It grows in colonies, at times covering acres of floodplain. Stems are heavily ridged and usually inflated or hollow. It blooms April–June.
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 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 celandine poppy plant and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Stylophorum diphyllum
Description
The showy, bright yellow flowers of celandine poppy really stand out in the shady woods and valleys where this plant grows. You should consider this species when you are planting a shade garden!
Media
Photo of chara, an alga with stemlike and leaflike structures
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chara spp.
Description
These aquatic algae look like regular vascular plants. Chara has a crisp, gritty texture, a musky odor, and gray-green, needlelike structures that resemble leaves.
Media
Photo of cleavers flower cluster with developing fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Galium aparine
Description
The tiny white flowers of this native plant are not very memorable, but the curious, sticky-feeling whorls of narrow leaves and lightweight, 4-sided stems make cleavers unique. And then there’s the tiny, round, “Velcro” covered balls of the seeds, which “stick tight” to your socks!
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!