Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 27 results
Media
Photo of yellow wood sorrel plant showing flowers and leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Oxalis stricta
Description
Yellow wood sorrel is both a garden weed and a wild edible. It has a pleasant sour taste, which is why some people call it sourgrass and add it to salads.
Media
Photo of spring beauty plants and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Claytonia virginica
Description
Our most widely distributed early spring flower, spring beauty has 5 white or pink petals with distinct pink veining, and 5 pink anthers. The narrow, bladelike leaves are fleshy. These flowers often grow in abundance, covering a patch of ground with the beauty of spring.
Media
Photo of toothwort plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cardamine concatenata (formerly Dentaria laciniata)
Description
Toothwort is a member of the mustard family that blooms March–May in wooded slopes and valleys. The sharply toothed, deeply lobed leaves are distinctive. The bright white, 4-petaled flowers shine at forest visitors.
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 slender mountain mint flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pycnanthemum tenuifolium
Description
Slender mountain mint has smooth, square stems, opposite, narrow leaves, and dense heads of 2-lipped white (or lavender) flowers. Aromatic and minty, it can be grown at home in the herb garden, and its leaves used for seasoning food.
Media
Photo of wild bergamot or horsemint plant with lavender flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Monarda fistulosa
Description
Sometimes called beebalm, wild bergamot (or horsemint) is a native mint with a long history as a valued Missouri herb. Some people make tea from it, but most of us enjoy its large, colorful flowers.
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
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.
Media
Photo of yellow violet plant with flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola pubescens (formerly V. pensylvanica)
Description
The yellow violet is Missouri's only all-yellow violet. This native wildflower is less common than violet violets. Look for it in low woods, rich slopes, and wooded floodplains.
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!