Field Guide

Wildflowers, Grasses and Other Nonwoody Plants

Showing 1 - 10 of 143 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
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 crown vetch, closeup of a flower cluster.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Securigera varia (formerly Coronilla varia)
Description
In summer, you’re almost guaranteed to see big colonies of crown vetch along Missouri's highways. This weedy nonnative plant stabilizes the dirt after road construction but degrades our natural ecosystems.
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 pale corydalis leaves and yellow flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Corydalis flavula
Description
The smooth, finely divided, fernlike foliage of pale corydalis is similar to that of the related wildflower Dutchman’s breeches. But in pale corydalis, the small yellow flowers appear tubelike and lipped.
Media
Photo of white sweet clover flower cluster showing stalk and flowers.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Melilotus albus and M. officinale
Description
These two species of sweet clover are present all over America. Although they have been planted for forage, as bee plants, and as nitrogen-fixers, white and yellow sweet clover are now classified as invasive for their weediness and the problems they pose for natural habitats.
Media
Photo of common cinquefoil plants with flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Potentilla simplex
Description
Common cinquefoil, or five-finger, is named for its leaves, which are divided into five fingerlike leaflets. One of seven cinquefoils in Missouri, it blooms from April to June and is scattered nearly statewide.
Media
Bird's-foot trefoil, close-up of flower cluster
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lotus corniculatus
Description
Bird’s-foot trefoil forms low patches of bright yellow flowers along roadsides, having been planted to stabilize soil after road construction. Up close, it clearly has pea flowers. The leaves are cloverlike, with two leafy stipules at the base of each.
Media
Photo of slender bush clover flowers
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lespedeza virginica
Description
A bushy native perennial legume with small clusters of pink flowers, slender bush clover provides nectar for numerous insects. Several types of birds eat the seeds, and many mammals eat the foliage.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lespedeza thunbergii
Description
Thunberg’s lespedeza is a large, nonwoody perennial shrub often cultivated as a showy, flowering ornamental. It sometimes escapes from cultivation and naturalizes in Missouri landscapes.
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!