Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 18 results
Media
Photo of wood nettle leaves at top of plant.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Laportea canadensis
Description
Wood nettle, or stinging nettle, often forms dense stands in bottomland forests, streamsides, and other places. There, canoeists, anglers, and others try to avoid touching its stinging hairs!
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 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
Photo of water smartweed plant and flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Persicaria amphibia (formerly Polygonum amphibium)
Description
Water smartweed can live submerged in water, or on wet banks or other soggy ground, yet it can also live in merely moist areas. The stems often sprawl as they grow, taking root at the swollen nodes. The small, pink flowers develop in long, erect clusters.
Media
Photo of wild comfrey showing flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cynoglossum virginianum
Description
Wild comfrey has large basal leaves that are soft, hairy, and elliptical with long petioles — they look like hounds’ tongues! The upright flowering stalk has few leaves and looks like a wand.
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
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 mayapple colony looking like numerous green umbrellas on forest floor
Species Types
Scientific Name
Podophyllum peltatum
Description
Mayapple is a common spring wildflower that makes its biggest impression with its leaves, which resemble umbrellas arising from a single stalk. It often grows in colonies.
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!