Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 161 results
Media
Photo of showy partridge pea showing flowers, buds, and leaves.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Chamaecrista fasciculata (formerly Cassia fasciculata)
Description
The interesting, bright yellow flowers of showy partridge pea are immediately recognizable. At night, the leaflets close and pull upward into a sleeping position.
Media
Bird's-Foot Violet
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola pedata
Description
In springtime, bird's-foot violet can make a glade or bluff top heavenly with its pretty lavender and purple "faces." When you see your first big colony of bird's-foot violets, you will probably never forget it.
Media
Photo of yellow violet plant with flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Viola pubescens (formerly V. pensylvanica)
Description
The yellow violet is Missouri's only all-yellow violet. This native wildflower is less common than violet violets. Look for it in low woods, rich slopes, and wooded floodplains.
Media
Photo of blue-eyed Mary flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Collinsia verna
Description
The flowers of blue-eyed Mary are only about a half inch wide, but this pretty wildflower makes up for it by usually appearing in abundance, covering a patch of forest floor with little sky-blue and white “faces.”
Media
Photo of Miami mist flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Phacelia purshii
Description
An annual, spring-blooming wildflower, Miami mist has loose coils of small blue flowers with distinctive, delicate fringes on the petal lobes.
Media
Photo of Korean lespedeza plant with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Kummerowia stipulacea (formerly Lespedeza stipulacea)
Description
Korean lespedeza is an Asian clover that was introduced to North America to prevent erosion, to feed wildlife and livestock, and, since it is a legume, to add nitrogen to the soil. A weedy plant, it has spread statewide since the 1930s.
Media
Photo of harbinger of spring flower clusters with coin to show size
Species Types
Scientific Name
Erigenia bulbosa
Description
Heralding a new growing season, harbinger of spring can bloom as early as January in Missouri. You will probably have to look closely for its small clusters. But after a long winter, what a welcome sight they are!
Media
Photo of false rue anemone plant and flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Isopyrum biternatum
Description
To distinguish false rue anemone from "true" rue anemone, look for the following: 5 white (not pinkish) sepals, and leaves present on the flowering stems. Confirm your identification by noting that it's growing in a colony (not singly) and is in a moist, low area.
Media
Photo of spring beauty plants and flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Claytonia virginica
Description
Our most widely distributed early spring flower, spring beauty has 5 white or pink petals with distinct pink veining, and 5 pink anthers. The narrow, bladelike leaves are fleshy. These flowers often grow in abundance, covering a patch of ground with the beauty of spring.
Media
Photo of bloodroot plant with flower
Species Types
Scientific Name
Sanguinaria canadensis
Description
Bloodroot’s pure white petals are even more remarkable given the plant’s bright red sap. This feature, plus the unique leaf shape, make this early spring wildflower easy to identify.
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!