Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 122 results
Media
Photo of an Engelmann’s adder’s tongue with a black background
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ophioglossum spp.
Description
Four species of adder’s tongue ferns occur in Missouri. They don’t look like typical ferns. They have spoon-shaped leaves and an upright spore-bearing stalk.
Media
American, or common boneset, flower clusters and upper stem leaves
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eupatorium perfoliatum
Description
American, or common boneset has small, white flowerheads in flat-topped clusters at the top of the plant. The leaves are hairy, narrowly triangular, and in opposite pairs fused around the stem.
Media
American bugleweed blooming on Tucker Prairie
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lycopus americanus
Description
Not the showiest of wildflowers, American bugleweed will catch your eye with its interesting geometry. The narrow, toothed leaves are opposite on the stalks and occur at right angles to the pair below.
Media
Photo of American germander flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Teucrium canadense
Description
Like most other mints, American germander has square stems, opposite leaves, and two-lobed flowers. The unusual configuration of the corolla lobes is the key identifying characteristic.
Media
Photo of autumn sneezeweed flowerheads, closeup.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helenium autumnale
Description
Autumn sneezeweed is a late-blooming perennial with conspicuously winged stems. The flowerheads have yellow, domed disks. The ray flowers are fan-shaped, yellow, and notched.
Media
Photo of blooming bitterweed plant shown from top.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Helenium amarum
Description
Our weediest sneezeweed, bitterweed arrived in Missouri in the late 1800s from its home range in Texas and Louisiana. Like our other heleniums, it has domed disks and yellow, fan-shaped, notched ray florets. Unlike them, the leaves are narrowly linear.
Media
Photo of blue cardinal flower flowering stalk
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lobelia siphilitica
Description
Blue cardinal flower, or blue lobelia, is a showy, late-blooming native wildflower that grows along streams, ditches, sloughs, and other wet places. It has blue or purple tubular flowers with 2 upper lips and 3 lower lips.
Media
Blue sage blooming at Runge Conservation Center
Species Types
Scientific Name
Salvia azurea
Description
Blue sage is easily identified by its wandlike clusters of sky-blue, two-lipped wildflowers. It blooms July–September in prairies, roadsides, and other open habitats.
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.
Media
Bottlebrush grass flowerhead showing spikelets spreading away from main axis
Species Types
Scientific Name
Elymus hystrix
Description
Bottlebrush grass is a native perennial, tuft-forming wild rye that typically grows in woodlands. The widely spaced spikelets spread away at a right angle from the main flowering stem.
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!