Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 25 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 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 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 everlasting pea flower and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lathyrus latifolius
Description
Everlasting pea is an old-fashioned garden plant your grandma might have grown on a fence. Native to the Old World, it often persists at old homesites.
Media
Photo of water primrose plant showing typical roots, leaves, stems, and a flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ludwigia peploides
Description
Water primrose is a common shoreline plant with bright yellow flowers and long, trailing stems. It grows in dense mats in the shallow areas of ponds, lakes, and streams.
Media
Photo of a huge mass of kudzu vines covering trees and ground
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pueraria montana
Description
Of the many invasive exotic plants that were originally introduced to stop soil erosion and improve soils, kudzu is one of the worst. This “vine that ate the South” is often the first plant that comes to mind when we think of “invasive exotics.”
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!