Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 224 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 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
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 Fremont’s leather flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Clematis fremontii
Description
The only non-climbing clematis in the state, Fremont’s leather flower is a shrubby perennial with bell-shaped flowers. It grows on open glades in the eastern part of Missouri and in southwestern Missouri’s Ozark County.
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.
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!