Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 30 results
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 common evening primrose, closeup of flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Oenothera biennis
Description
True to its name, common evening primrose is the most common and widespread evening primrose in Missouri. It is most noticeable late in the season, when it reaches its greatest height and the flowers at the top are most visible.
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
Photo of corn salad plant flower clusters showing arrangement of buds.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Valerianella radiata
Description
At first glance, you might overlook corn salad, except for the large colonies it often forms. The young leaves can be eaten as a salad green, hence the name.
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.
Media
Photo of dwarf larkspur flowers with leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Delphinium tricorne
Description
Dwarf larkspur is a single-stemmed perennial with an upright flower stalk bearing racemes of bluish-purple flowers. Like other larkspurs, there is a spurlike appendage behind each flower.
Media
Photo of early buttercup plant with flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ranunculus fascicularis
Description
There are nearly 20 species in the genus Ranunculus in Missouri. Identify early buttercup by its early blooming time, its distinctively shaped, usually hairy leaves, and its preference for open woods, glades, or prairies.
Media
Photo of fire pink flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Silene virginica
Description
Fire pink is a low, clump-forming perennial with many slender, spreading stems that are sticky from glandular hairs, with open clusters of bright red flowers. This showy native Missouri plant is growing in popularity among home gardeners.
Media
Photo of several big bluestem seed heads against a blue sky.
Species Types
Scientific Name
All true grasses (species in the grass family)
Description
Missouri has 276 species in the grass family, including well-known crop plants and our native prairie grasses. Distinguishing between the species can be difficult, but it’s easy to learn some basics about the group.
Media
Photo of hispid buttercup plant with flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ranunculus hispidus
Description
Hispid buttercup is a densely hairy plant with showy yellow flowers. It is found mostly in the southern half of Missouri, usually in moist locations.
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!