Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 27 results
Media
Swamp agrimony flowering stalks
Species Types
Scientific Name
Agrimonia parviflora
Description
Swamp agrimony has wandlike clusters of tiny yellow flowers atop its stout, upright stems. Its feather-compound leaves have up to 23 narrow, sharp-toothed main leaflets, plus smaller leaflets between the main ones.
Media
Buffalo grass with male flowering stalks
Species Types
Scientific Name
Buchloe dactyloides
Description
Buffalo grass is a native perennial warm-season short grass that creeps widely by runners and forms dense mats. As a native, it occurs in the prairies in far northwest Missouri, but it now occurs elsewhere in the state and has become popular as a lawn grass.
Media
Photo of a Queen Anne's lace flower cluster, seen from the top
Species Types
Scientific Name
Daucus carota
Description
Queen Anne’s lace is many things to many people — roadside wildflower, noxious introduced weed, wild edible, medicinal herb, delightful cut flower. In Missouri, it blooms May through October.
Media
Species Types
Scientific Name
Xanthium strumarium
Description
Common cocklebur occurs statewide in open, disturbed, lowland habitats. It is a common weed in crop fields. It has wide, rough, coarsely toothed leaves; stout, often purple-speckled stems; and characteristic burs with hooked spines.
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
Photo of cleavers flower cluster with developing fruits
Species Types
Scientific Name
Galium aparine
Description
The tiny white flowers of this native plant are not very memorable, but the curious, sticky-feeling whorls of narrow leaves and lightweight, 4-sided stems make cleavers unique. And then there’s the tiny, round, “Velcro” covered balls of the seeds, which “stick tight” to your socks!
Media
Photo of glade coneflower flowerhead showing yellow pollen
Species Types
Scientific Name
Echinacea simulata
Description
One of Missouri’s five types of echinaceas, glade coneflower is distinguished by its yellow pollen, drooping pink or purple ray flowers, and narrow, tapering leaves. Look for it in the eastern Ozarks, and at native plant nurseries!
Media
Photo of pale purple coneflower showing white pollen among disk florets
Species Types
Scientific Name
Echinacea pallida
Description
One of Missouri's five types of echinacea, pale purple coneflower is distinguished by its white pollen, drooping pink or purple ray flowers, and narrow, tapering leaves. It occurs nearly statewide, except for the Bootheel lowlands.
Media
Purple Coneflower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Echinacea purpurea
Description
The large, showy, rose-purple flower heads of purple coneflower make it a standout in open woodlands as well as in the home garden. The genus name, Echinacea, means “hedgehog” and refers to the flower’s spiny center cone.
Media
Photo of eastern prickly pear plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Opuntia humifusa (formerly O. compressa)
Description
Cacti make us think of the desert southwest, but there is at least one species native to Missouri. This prickly pear grows in glades, sand prairies, rocky open hillsides, and other dry, sun-soaked areas.
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!