Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 18 results
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 Dutchman's breeches plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dicentra cucullaria
Description
Dutchman’s breeches, a common spring wildflower, is easy to identify. Note its bluish-green, fernlike leaves, and its leafless stalks, from which dangle several white flowers shaped like old-fashioned knee breeches.
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.
Media
Photo of Jack-in-the-pulpit plant showing foliage and flowering structure
Species Types
Scientific Name
Arisaema triphyllum
Description
Preacher Jack in his “pulpit” is sheltered by the canopylike spathe, which is green with white and brown lengthwise markings. An unforgettable spring wildflower, Jack-in-the-pulpit is common throughout the state.
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 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.
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 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 sand vine, leaves with flower cluster.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Cynanchum laeve
Description
Bees, butterflies, and other insects love its nectar, but sand vine is also a problem weed that can be difficult to eradicate. Some people cultivate it as an ornamental. Beekeepers value it as an excellent honey plant.
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!