Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 287 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 rose verbena, or rose vervain, flower cluster showing leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Glandularia canadensis (formerly Verbena canadensis)
Description
One of our jazziest spring flowers, rose verbena catches your eye in the prairies and open areas it prefers. At first glance, you might think this is a type of phlox, but the rough, lobed and toothed foliage will tell you a different story.
Media
Photo of sand phlox several flowers showing cleft petal lobes
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phlox bifida
Description
A spreading, mat-forming perennial of dry, rocky soils, sand phlox is distinguished from our other phloxes by its creeping habit and the deep, V-shaped notch on each of the five petal lobes.
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
Deptfort pink blooming in an open area
Species Types
Scientific Name
Dianthus armeria
Description
Deptford pink has straight, strong, narrow stems that bear small clusters of pink flowers with white dots. Common statewide in sunny, open locations such as pastures and roadsides.
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 goat's beard plant with flower clusters
Species Types
Scientific Name
Aruncus dioicus
Description
Goat’s beard is named for its bold, branching, plumelike clusters of flowers. Look for it growing in rich soils in low woods and north-facing slopes, bases of bluffs, and other moist places in the southeastern half of our state.
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 blue-eyed grass flower closeup
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sisyrinchium campestre
Description
It has grasslike leaves, but it’s not a grass. In fact, it’s in the same family as the common garden iris! Four species of blue-eyed grass grow in Missouri, and this one, often found on prairies, glades, and pastures, is the most common.
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.
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!