Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 271 results
Media
Photo of Chinese yam showing leaves and bulbils
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dioscorea oppositifolia (sometimes called D. batatas)
Description
Similar to kudzu, Chinese yam is an aggressive vine that overtakes nearly everything within reach that stands still long enough! Learn more about this invasive plant — and please don’t plant it!
Media
Photo of purple milkweed flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asclepias purpurascens
Description
The flowers of purple milkweed are pale purple to reddish purple to dark purple, with greenish or red tints. The scientific name means “becoming purple”: The flowers start off rather pale and become more intensely purplish as they mature.
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 false dragonhead plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Physostegia virginiana
Description
False dragonhead is called "obedient plant" because when you push one of the flowers sideways, it "obediently" stays in place for a while.
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 shining blue star flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Amsonia illustris
Description
Often found on gravelly Ozark streamsides, shining blue star lifts its clusters of showy, light-blue flowers in late spring. A top choice for native wildflower gardening, it is interesting spring, summer, and fall.
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.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Orbexilum onobrychis (formerly Psoralea onobrychis)
Description
Looking absolutely nothing like a grass, French grass, a legume, bears upright spikes of pale purple flowers on long stems from the leaf axils. The leaves are trifoliate, resembling those of soybeans.
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 two-flowered Cynthiana flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Krigia biflora
Description
There are several members of the aster family that look something like common dandelions. But unlike the familiar lawn weed, two-flowered Cynthia is a native Missouri wildflower.
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!