Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 68 results
Media
Red, or purple, clover flower head vied from the side
Species Types
Scientific Name
Trifolium pratense
Description
Red clover, or purple clover, is the familiar large, pinkish-purple clover that grows in lawns, pastures, and roadsides statewide. A Eurasian native, it was introduced to North America by the middle 1600s.
Media
Pickerel weed colony in bloom with water in background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pontederia cordata
Description
The handsome violet-blue flower spikes of pickerel weed stand out vividly at the edges of ponds. One of our few blue-flowering pond plants, pickerel weed is easy to identify by its color alone.
Media
Lamb's quarters plant growing in bare, disturbed soil
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chenopodium album
Description
Lamb’s quarters won’t win any beauty contests for its flowers, but it merits an award for being both a common garden weed as well as a nutritious leafy green valued around the world.
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
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
Photo of common violet plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola spp.
Description
Violets, as a group, are fairly easy to identify, with their colorful five-petaled “faces” so welcome in springtime. Missouri has 17 species, and some are confusingly similar. This page is introduces them as a group.
Media
Missouri violet blooming along Katy Trail near Easley, Missouri
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola missouriensis (syn. V. sororia var. missouriensis)
Description
Missouri violet is one of five Missouri stemless violets with purple or blue flowers and unlobed leaves. It is distinguished by its triangular or heart-shaped leaves that are longer than wide and are coarsely toothed only on the basal two-thirds.
Media
Cleft violet, Viola palmata, blooming plant viewed from above
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola palmata (syn. V. triloba)
Description
The leaf blades of cleft violet are highly variable, and the plant produces differently shaped leaves as the season progresses. Midseason leaves have a broad central lobe flanked by additional lobes toward the base.
Media
Pale or cream violet, Viola striata, closeup of flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola striata
Description
Pale violet, or cream violet, is Missouri’s only white-flowering violet that produces true aboveground stems. It is scattered to common in the Ozarks, Ozark border, and Bootheel lowlands and uncommon or absent elsewhere in the state.
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!