Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 24 results
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.
Media
Photo of columbine flower closeup
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aquilegia canadensis
Description
Native to much of eastern North America, eastern red columbine's range almost matches the breeding territory of the ruby-throated hummingbird, its number-one pollinator. Its bloom time matches the hummingbird's northward migration, too.
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 soapwort plants and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Saponaria officinalis
Description
Soapwort is a tall, showy wildflower that has chemicals in its sap that lather up like soap. Native to Eurasia, it has been introduced worldwide and is a common roadside wildflower.
Media
Photo of Indian hemp plant
Species Types
Scientific Name
Apocynum cannabinum
Description
Indian hemp is a shrubby, upright perennial with opposite branches and milky sap. This native plant can be a troublesome weed in crop fields and gardens, but Native Americans used its tough, fibrous stems for rope-making.
Media
Photo of leafy spurge seed heads
Species Types
Scientific Name
Euphorbia esula
Description
When you consider the negative effects this plant has on natural habitats, and how hard it is to control or eradicate, you almost want to rename it “leafy scourge”! This invasive plant is spreading in our state. Learn how to identify it.
Media
Photo of southern blue flag iris plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Iris virginica
Description
Ten species of iris grow wild in our state, but only four of them are native. Of our native irises, this one is the most common. But drainage “improvements” are eliminating the habitat of this beautiful wetland wildflower.
Media
Photo of pokeweed plant with dangling stalks of ripe and unripe berries.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phytolacca americana
Description
A tall, smooth, branching plant with red stems and juicy, dark purple berries, pokeweed is both toxic and a traditional edible potherb called poke salat. It is common statewide.
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 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.
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!