Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 46 results
Media
Photo of lotus in pool at Duck Creek CA
Species Types
Scientific Name
Nelumbo lutea
Description
American lotus is an aquatic plant with circular leaves that are held above water. The large yellow flowers have an interesting showerhead-like disk at the center.
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 Bradbury beebalm plant with pale flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Monarda bradburiana (sometimes M. russeliana)
Description
Also called horsemint and wild bergamot, Bradbury beebalm is a showy, fragrant plant that is a favorite of native plant gardeners. It’s also a favorite of Missouri’s butterflies!
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
Photo of Carolina false dandelion flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pyrrhopappus carolinianus
Description
One of several native plants called dandelions, Carolina false dandelion is an annual with sulphur yellow flowers and puffy seedheads.
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 a chicory plant.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cichorium intybus
Description
In summer and fall, the pretty blue flowers of chicory decorate roadsides and other disturbed areas. This weedy member of the aster family was introduced from Europe long ago. Its roots have been used as a coffee substitute.
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.
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!