Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 143 results
Media
Photo of many tickseed sunflower flowerheads.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Bidens aristosa
Description
Tickseed sunflower has flattened black seeds that attach themselves to clothing and pets via two needlelike awns. In flower, it grows in massive displays in moist bottomlands.
Media
Photo of narrow-leaved vervain plants in bloom.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Verbena simplex
Description
Narrow-leaved vervain is a short, slender perennial with single stems or with upper stems sparingly branched. Its many small flowers are crowded on narrow spikes. The corollas are tubular, deep lavender or purple, with 5 spreading lobes.
Media
Photo of white avens flower and upper stem leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Geum canadense
Description
White avens, a common wildflower in the rose family, may not catch your eye during hikes, but you will probably notice the seeds clinging to your socks when you get home!
Media
Photo of cardinal flower plants in flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lobelia cardinalis
Description
Cardinal flower provides a splash of bright red along streams and rivers, in bottomland forests, in ditches by roads, and in other wet places. It's a long-blooming Missouri native wildflower.
Media
Photo of sawtooth sunflower flowerhead.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helianthus grosseserratus
Description
A giant of a wildflower, sawtooth sunflower reaches 16 feet in height and sometimes occurs in dense colonies of clumping stems. It has long, coarsely toothed, lance-shaped leaves with winged petioles.
Media
Whorled milkweed flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Subfamily Asclepiadoideae
Description
Milkweeds are a group of plants that used to have their very own family. Now part of the dogbane family, they’re still a pretty distinctive group.
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.
Media
Photo of common milkweed flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Asclepias syriaca
Description
Common milkweed is famous as a food plant for monarch butterflies. It bears curious seedpods bearing seeds that fly on silky parachutes. It's common statewide in a variety of habitats.
Media
Photo of pale Indian plantain flower clusters.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Arnoglossum atriplicifolium (also Cacalia atriplicifolia)
Description
The stout, smooth leaves of pale Indian plantain, with their glaucous-white coating beneath, look almost artificial. They are irregularly shaped, with pointed lobes. At the base of the plant, they can be 6 inches wide. They become gradually smaller up the stem.
Media
Photo of blue vervain flower clusters in a prairie
Species Types
Scientific Name
Verbena hastata
Description
Blue vervain is a tall, slender, erect perennial with branching stems and rough hairs. Its tubular flowers are clustered in many terminal spikes, and can be deep purple, violet, light lavender, or rarely white.
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!