Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 13 results
Media
Photo of smooth spiderwort flowers being visited by beelike syrphid flies
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tradescantia ohiensis
Description
Smooth spiderwort is the most common and widely distributed of Missouri's spiderworts. It has slender, straight or zigzag stems. The long, narrow leaves are folded lengthwise and attach to the stem in a thick node. The 3 petals of the triangular flower are blue, rose, purple, lavender, or white.
Media
Photo of garlic mustard plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alliaria petiolata
Description
Because each plant disperses a large number of seeds, garlic mustard can outcompete native vegetation for light, moisture, nutrients, soil, and space as it quickly colonizes an area.
Media
Photo of pink wild onion flower clusters
Species Types
Scientific Name
Allium stellatum
Description
Wild onion is edible and is also favored by native-plant gardeners, who enjoy its showy umbels of pink flowers and tolerance of dry, rocky sites. This Ozark species blooms in summer and fall.
Media
Photo of a bull thistle flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cirsium vulgare
Description
Bull thistle is a weedy introduction from Europe, found statewide. To tell it from our other thistles, note its stems with spiny-margined wings, and its leaves with the upper surface strongly roughened with stiff, spiny bristles.
Media
Photo of Solomon’s seal flowers and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Polygonatum biflorum
Description
Solomon's seal grows statewide in moist, rich earth. The greenish-white flowers dangle like little bells beneath the leaves, under the gracefully arching stems.
Media
Photo of Ohio horsemint inflorescence
Species Types
Scientific Name
Blephilia ciliata
Description
Square, unbranching stems, opposite leaves, two-lipped flowers, and a mild minty fragrance are clues Ohio horsemint is in the mint family. Tight, rounded flower clusters are stacked atop one another at the stem tips.
Media
Photo of self-heal flower head
Species Types
Scientific Name
Prunella vulgaris
Description
A square-stemmed plant with opposite leaves, self-heal bears two-lipped blue, lavender, or violet flowers in a cylindrical head. We have two varieties of self-heal in Missouri, one native and one introduced.
Media
Photo of Bradbury beebalm plant with pale flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Monarda bradburiana (sometimes M. russeliana)
Description
Also called horsemint and wild bergamot, Bradbury beebalm is a showy, fragrant plant that is a favorite of native plant gardeners. It’s also a favorite of Missouri’s butterflies!
Media
Photo of spring beauty plants and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Claytonia virginica
Description
Our most widely distributed early spring flower, spring beauty has 5 white or pink petals with distinct pink veining, and 5 pink anthers. The narrow, bladelike leaves are fleshy. These flowers often grow in abundance, covering a patch of ground with the beauty of spring.
Media
Photo of toothwort plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cardamine concatenata (formerly Dentaria laciniata)
Description
Toothwort is a member of the mustard family that blooms March–May in wooded slopes and valleys. The sharply toothed, deeply lobed leaves are distinctive. The bright white, 4-petaled flowers shine at forest visitors.
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!