Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 28 results
Media
Photo of Chinese yam showing leaves and bulbils
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dioscorea oppositifolia (sometimes called D. batatas)
Description
Similar to kudzu, Chinese yam is an aggressive vine that overtakes nearly everything within reach that stands still long enough! Learn more about this invasive plant — and please don’t plant it!
Media
Photo of American pondweed leaves floating on water surface
Species Types
Scientific Name
Potamogeton spp.
Description
Pondweeds are rooted aquatic plants with underwater leaves on long, flexible, jointed stems. Some have floating leaves, too, that are differently shaped. Missouri has about 10 species in the pondweed genus.
Media
Photo of southern naiad aquatic plant with a penny for scale
Species Types
Scientific Name
Najas spp.
Description
Naiads are slender, narrow-leaved plants that grow completely under water and are rooted to the bottom. They never have broad, floating leaves or conspicuous flowers or seed heads.
Media
Photo of coontail aquatic plant with penny for scale
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ceratophyllum demersum
Description
Coontail, a common submerged aquatic plant, got its name from the crowded upper leaves, which make the stem tip appear bushy like the tail of a raccoon.
Media
Photo of common dayflower flower and buds.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Commelina communis
Description
The flowers of dayflower are truly blue, and they have only two conspicuous petals. A fast-growing, sprawling, but shallow-rooted weed, this introduced species commonly annoys gardeners.
Media
Photo of blooming passionflower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Passiflora incarnata
Description
The bizarre, complicated flowers attract attention! The fruits are edible. Passion flower is a nonwoody vine that climbs via tendrils on trees or other structures. It is native to the southeastern United States, including southern Missouri.
Media
Photo of yellow passionflower flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Passiflora lutea
Description
Yellow passion flower is the smaller of Missouri’s two Passiflora species. Both are vines that climb via tendrils. This one has yellowish-green flowers about an inch wide. Look for it along and south of the Missouri River.
Media
Photo of wild potato vine flowers and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ipomoea pandurata
Description
Wild potato vine is related to the sweet potatoes we buy at grocery stores. This native vine is also related to the morning glories that decorate trellises and to the bindweed that plagues gardeners and farmers.
Media
Photo of hedge bindweed flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Calystegia sepium (also Convolvulus sepium)
Description
Instantly recognizable as a type of morning glory, hedge bindweed is common in disturbed habitats and can be a serious agricultural weed, but it is not as problematic as its relative field bindweed.
Media
Photo of butterfly pea plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Clitoria mariana
Description
Butterfly pea is a low, shrubby, or twining perennial in the pea family, with showy, butterfly-like flowers. The leaves are compound with three leaflets. This species grows in the southern parts of Missouri, in acid soils.
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!