Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 14 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 beefsteak plant showing upper leaves and flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Perilla frutescens
Description
Introduced as an ornamental, beefsteak plant is native to Asia. It is common in moist or dry wooded bottomlands, open valley pastures, and along trails, railroads, and roadsides. It spreads invasively in our state.
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 several cattail flowering stalks
Species Types
Scientific Name
Typha spp.
Description
Missouri’s cattails are all tall wetland plants with narrow, upright leaves emerging from a thick base, and a central stalk bearing a brown, sausage-shaped flower spike.
Media
Photo of garlic mustard plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Alliaria petiolata
Description
Because each plant disperses a large number of seeds, garlic mustard can outcompete native vegetation for light, moisture, nutrients, soil, and space as it quickly colonizes an area.
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.”
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
Photo of Ohio horsemint inflorescence
Species Types
Scientific Name
Blephilia ciliata
Description
Square, unbranching stems, opposite leaves, two-lipped flowers, and a mild minty fragrance are clues Ohio horsemint is in the mint family. Tight, rounded flower clusters are stacked atop one another at the stem tips.
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
Photo of self-heal flower head
Species Types
Scientific Name
Prunella vulgaris
Description
A square-stemmed plant with opposite leaves, self-heal bears two-lipped blue, lavender, or violet flowers in a cylindrical head. We have two varieties of self-heal in Missouri, one native and one introduced.
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!