Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 8 of 8 results
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
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 smooth spiderwort flowers being visited by beelike syrphid flies
Species Types
Scientific Name
Tradescantia ohiensis
Description
Smooth spiderwort is the most common and widely distributed of Missouri's spiderworts. It has slender, straight or zigzag stems. The long, narrow leaves are folded lengthwise and attach to the stem in a thick node. The 3 petals of the triangular flower are blue, rose, purple, lavender, or white.
Media
Photo of shepherd’s purse plant and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Capsella bursa-pastoris
Description
Shepherd’s purse is a plant that started in Europe and western Asia and has been introduced nearly worldwide. Like the common dandelion, it has several adaptations that make it a successful colonizer of disturbed soil.
Media
Photo of yellow rocket flower clusters
Species Types
Scientific Name
Barbarea vulgaris
Description
Yellow rocket is a mustard native to Eurasia that was introduced long ago and today is found across North America. The mustard family used to be called the Cruciferae, because of the cross shape formed by the four petals.
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 Solomon’s seal flowers and leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Polygonatum biflorum
Description
Solomon's seal grows statewide in moist, rich earth. The greenish-white flowers dangle like little bells beneath the leaves, under the gracefully arching stems.
Media
Photo of wild strawberry plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Fragaria virginiana
Description
Wild strawberry is one of the parents of the cultivated strawberry and is one of our prized native wild edibles. It’s also a valuable food for innumerable animals, and it’s attractive in native wildflower gardens.
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!