Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 24 results
Media
Photo of blue false indigo flowering stalk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Baptisia australis
Description
Blue false indigo is a native bushy perennial with three-parted compound leaves and showy, upright stalks of blue pea flowers. The seedpods are inflated and turn black upon maturity, and the seeds rattle around in the dry pods.
Media
Photo of buffalo bur flower and leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Solanum rostratum
Description
A spiny annual with bright yellow flowers and dandelion-like leaves, buffalo bur is an introduced member of the nightshade family.
Media
Photo of Carolina larkspur plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Delphinium carolinianum
Description
Small blue, lavender, or white flowers shaped like cornucopias dance along the tall stems of this Carolina larkspur, which grows in prairies and grasslands.
Media
Photo of columbine flower closeup
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aquilegia canadensis
Description
Native to much of eastern North America, this columbine's range almost matches the breeding territory of the ruby-throated hummingbird, its number-one pollinator. Fancy that!
Media
Photo of common jimsonweed flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Datura stramonium
Description
Pretty but poisonous, jimsonweed has white goblet-shaped flowers that open around midnight. This native of tropical America was introduced nearly throughout the United States and thrives in disturbed soils.
Media
Photo of common water hemlock or spotted cowbane flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cicuta maculata
Description
Full grown, water hemlock looks something like a gigantic Queen Anne's lace, but this common, widespread member of the carrot family is the most toxic plant in North America. All parts are deadly. A piece of root the size of a walnut can kill a cow-sized animal.
Media
Photo of crown vetch, closeup of a flower cluster.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Securigera varia (formerly Coronilla varia)
Description
In summer, you’re almost guaranteed to see big colonies of crown vetch along Missouri's highways. This weedy nonnative plant stabilizes the dirt after road construction but degrades our natural ecosystems.
Media
Photo of dwarf larkspur flowers with leaf
Species Types
Scientific Name
Delphinium tricorne
Description
Dwarf larkspur is a single-stemmed perennial with an upright flower stalk bearing racemes of bluish-purple flowers. Like other larkspurs, there is a spurlike appendage behind each flower.
Media
Photo of flowering spurge flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Euphorbia corollata
Description
With widespread sprays of small white flowers, flowering spurge looks a lot like the "baby's breath" so popular with florists. Each little "flower" has 5 white false petals surrounding a cup of tiny yellow male flowers and a single female flower.
Media
Green dragon plant in bloom along Katy Trail east of Portland Mo
Species Types
Scientific Name
Arisaema dracontium
Description
What could be cooler than finding a green dragon? This leafy green plant with a long, noodly spadix is closely related to Jack-in-the-pulpit. It occurs in the same habitats but is less common and easily overlooked.
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!