Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 143 results
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 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 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 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.
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.
Media
Photo of rough-fruited cinquefoil plant and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Potentilla recta
Description
Rough-fruited cinquefoil is common in most of North America in fields and pastures, along roadsides, and other disturbed areas. It’s a stout, tall, hairy plant with five yellow to cream-colored, slightly notched petals.
Media
Photo of eastern prickly pear plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Opuntia humifusa (formerly O. compressa)
Description
Cacti make us think of the desert southwest, but there is at least one species native to Missouri. This prickly pear grows in glades, sand prairies, rocky open hillsides, and other dry, sun-soaked areas.
Media
Photo of common evening primrose, closeup of flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Oenothera biennis
Description
True to its name, common evening primrose is the most common and widespread evening primrose in Missouri. It is most noticeable late in the season, when it reaches its greatest height and the flowers at the top are most visible.
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!