Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 19 results
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 a bull thistle flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cirsium vulgare
Description
Bull thistle is a weedy introduction from Europe, found statewide. To tell it from our other thistles, note its stems with spiny-margined wings, and its leaves with the upper surface strongly roughened with stiff, spiny bristles.
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
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
Photo of corn salad plant flower clusters showing arrangement of buds.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Valerianella radiata
Description
At first glance, you might overlook corn salad, except for the large colonies it often forms. The young leaves can be eaten as a salad green, hence the name.
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 henbit plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lamium amplexicaule
Description
In early spring, henbit carpets entire fields with the pinkish-purple of its small flowers. This nonnative mint spreads abundantly but causes few problems. It has shallow roots and fades before crops begin to grow.
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
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
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.
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!