Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 27 results
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 bastard toadflax plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Comandra umbellata (formerly C. richardsiana)
Description
Bastard, or false toadflax is one of the hundreds of wildflowers that bejewel our native prairies. A perennial herb with yellowish-green foliage and smooth, upright stems, it grows and flowers under the hottest conditions.
Media
Photo of black mustard flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Brassica nigra
Description
Next time you breeze past weedy black mustard on the highway or spot it in a fallow field, think of how important this and other mustards are to the world economy – and to your dinner table.
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 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
Bur cucumber flowers and foliage
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sicyos angulatus
Description
Bur cucumber is a nonwoody, annual vine common in low, moist soils. It can spread across an area 20 feet wide, covering the ground and nearby shrubs. Note its lobed, gourd-family leaves, curly green tendrils, clusters of prickly, green, oval fruits, and 5-lobed, cream-colored flowers.
Media
Common chickweed plant in bloom
Species Types
Scientific Name
Stellaria media
Description
Common chickweed, native to Europe, has been introduced nearly worldwide and is a familiar garden weed in Missouri. It forms spreading mats on the ground and has small flowers with 5 petals, each deeply lobed making it look like 10.
Media
Common purslane plant growing on bare, dry soil
Species Types
Scientific Name
Portulaca oleracea
Description
Purslane can be an aggressive pest in gardens and is one of the worst agricultural weeds in the world. Meanwhile, it’s also a favorite wild vegetable served cooked or raw, and many people cultivate it.
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
Photo of dittany flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cunila origanoides
Description
Sometimes called wild oregano, dittany, like true oregano, is a member of the mint family and can be used as a culinary herb and in teas. Look for it on dry, wooded slopes in Ozark counties.
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!